Publish or Perish? Really? (part 1 of 3)

Beloved author, Paulo Coelho has many fine quotes, as the prolific writer he is and I dedicate this series to the themes within this statement:

“Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Act because you need to act.” ~Paulo Coelho

In an age when it is easier to self-publish, why not help yourself to it?

The name of the game this week for me is stay on task. Not only is there a manuscript to edit there is another to format and much to read and comment on. In this day of self-publishing, yes anyone COULD write a book but who actually does?

It is NEVER too late to start. There are many late blooming writers. Sometimes we first need the right dose and variety of life experience that helps us define our purpose clearly. And sometimes it takes big events and changes to catalyze the writing urge in us.

Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. And while there may be a variety of do-it-yourself means to publish yourself, the fact remains you still must generate the idea, then the manuscript, thereafter the book, the play, the blog post before you can “publish” the beauty. There is a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction when writing is completed. It could be a singular blog post or a larger project and I say celebrate your writing with others.

I am a cheerleader and champion for writing for yourself. And while I also ghost write and act as “the journalistic medium” for those who are challenged to do for themselves with any consistency, I love, love, love being the editor to an excited author.

If I had my way all the time (smile), I’d turn every ghost writing client ultimately into a writer for themselves–for it empowers you deeply to write and speak as yourself, for yourself and with enthusiasm and self-confidence. A ghost or journalist can do a great job too but the closer to the source a message is born, the more potent it may be.

What stops you from communicating with EASE for yourself about your business, your passions, your hobbies, your causes, your personal writing projects?

I know what can stop me and what I work to keep out of my way. And it is my mission to help as many as possible get out of their own way too.

Call me Catalyst.

For the past 18 months I have been hosting a writing group that meets each Tuesday to TALK about writing and blogging and creativity and overcoming fear and resistance to writing for one’s self and one’s ventures, professional and personal.

Each week I am given the opportunity to “creatively unlock” not only myself but as many as two dozen attendees. Many come weekly and some since the beginning. One regular, calls the time her group therapy. We all laughed the first time. Now when someone new comes claiming they don’t “blog”  basically another term for writing) for who would care what they had to say and whatever would they write about, we regulars glance at each other and declare it time for a “creative intervention.”  And in shortly thereafter (most of the time) our reticent or would be writer is clear they have a perspective worth sharing with others. After which some jump right in and return reporting they are now officially blogging or getting set to start.

Gratitude is abundant in our weekly time together and the most striking feature these days of “Circle” as some call it or “Tuesdays with Deborah,” is the community blog of the same name spawned out of Tuesday conversations. What is striking about it is the variety of posts and the enthusiasm of the contributing writers. That enthusiasm is what it is all about cultivating for me.

The secret ingredient to the success in this instance is “community support.”  We are better individually for how we interact as a group. We are a growing and extended family. We come weekly wanting to write authentically, boldly and consistently. Or we come to find the motivation to try to begin. We are all at different places and stages. And all are welcome wherever they are in their Writing Pilgramage.

The act of writing is not always easy even for the natural writer (like Me!). And support makes all the difference. Let me say again, “Support Makes All the Difference.”

Again I ask, in an age when it is easier to self-publish, why not help yourself to it?

More to come. Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3. And if you are thinking you want to write but don’t have a clear sense of your voice and vision and purpose for your writing, may you seek out support from someone and soon. I am actively listening for one!

Does Your Marketing and Writing Pass The Four-Way Test?

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy.

This 24-word test for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The Four-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:

“Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?

3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Redmond Rousers Rotary members and it was special for it was my inaugural Rotary speaking engagement (with opportunity #2 coming soon!). It was exciting to be the program speaker and it was simply a lot of fun. The members were good sports as I took control of the literal “classroom” we occupied and they “winged it” in a writing prompt I customized for the evening (smile).

A fine curry was served for dinner and my “non-speech” went off without a hitch and we accomplished good stuff in 20 minutes. Keeping the content simple and the conversation flowing worked like a charm. Yes, I easily stayed within the time limit and facilitated a rousing dialogue. (Communicating with heart and simplicity works pretty much all the time too!) Turns out the Rousers each have a favorite story to blog about in the future and I look forward to seeing the Rouser’s Blog feature many more contributors and perspectives. (Keep me posted Kelly!)

I had been invited to speak two months back by Kelly Kyle, current President of the Rousers, who is an enthusiastic leader of a now growing chapter. Kelly has done a lot of PR in the last 18 months that has boosted awareness of the Service Projects of this Rotary Chapter via blogging and writing and social media marketing.

The most recent fundraiser, the Coupe de Cascades, (a 425 mile bike ride in a single day) even attracted the attention of Race Across America and may soon be an official qualifying race that occurs in Washington State. Here again Authentic, Heartfelt and Savvy Social Media Marketing and yes, blogging and writing, helped raised the level of awareness on what one local chapter of Rotary is up to.

How did the Rousers get so “SMART?” I happen to know this story because it was more than a year ago, Kelly also started coming (when her busy schedule allowed) to the weekly Writers/Bloggers Support group I host. I remember the day that Kelly shared how the Rousers had invested and wisely so into learning how to use blogging and social media practices to genuinely attract new members AND community support for their events.

The Rousers as a chapter agreed to “invest” in something significant. Kelly received excellent coaching and support and training from Blaine Millet of Word of Mouth on Steroids. What Blaine suggested and trained Kelly on intensively (at first) is what I suggest all my marketing and writing clients embrace as well. Some do and some don’t and frankly, “It’s Simply A Smart Marketing Strategy.” (And if your hurdle is authentic self-expression, well there is a solution for that…close at hand) Writing (for Marketing YOU) is best done with a truly authentic voice (yours~not someone who writes for you) that can also pass the Four Way Test. Yes, I know  that last statement is my strongly held opinion.

Developing that “voice” may not happen overnight but working to discover yours and refine it is worth the effort. Then with thoughtful timing of social media efforts and all other marketing, you will see positive results. And like all great relationships, it takes time to develop and may seem like a whole lot of work at first ~ and it’s worth it!

Over the next year plus, Kelly got into a writing and PR rhythm and beneficial things began to happen that were good for the recipients of the Rouser’s support and good for the chapter’s membership base.Guess what grew? (Imagine, your business and you experiencing the same kind of growth and good will!)

I’d like to make a suggestion that I hope you dear readers take to heart and put to work post haste.

Please take a lesson from the principles of 1.) the Four Way Test and 2.) the application of it through Social Media and specifically blogging about the wonderful activities supported by the Rousers of Redmond. If Kelly can do it with the right support, so can you!

Why not let the Four Way Test be a litmus test each time you consider the writing and promotions you will be publishing in the name of growing your business and creating and supporting your online presence and reputation? And let being social while marketing with bold truth and colorful story and authentic intentions be your guiding tenets.

Being Real Inspires. Telling Stories Captivates. Paying It Forward Feels Great.

May you feel comfortable in sharing YOU in your marketing message and writing and know where to go for a champion if support and a push is needed.

P.S. (Funny thing, I’ve been hoping to meet Blaine ever since I heard that story from Kelly the first day I met her and “rumor” has it we are having a cup of coffee sometime soon…I’m counting the days!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

To blog or not to blog IS always the question

Weekly does my Writer’s Support Group for the Reticent Blogger meet at 1pm on Tuesdays. This gathering has been going on since March of 2010 and weekly many of the same people come to convene and converse about what is in the way of writing right now!

Or perhaps what success there is to report. I appreciate the mix myself.

What began as six charter attendees, is typically always far more than a baker’s dozen and it’s time that is graciously referred to as “Tuesday Group Therapy,” creativity group therapy and a standing appointment with self for at least a dozen regulars, I lovingly call the “Usual Suspects.”

Diane, Susan, Judy, Judy, Bob, Don, Darylene, John, Sue, Karen, Warren, Will, Paul, Steve, Karin, Mark, Mike, Scott and many others return week after week as they are able to both get what they need and give others the support they require.

And then comes the new attendee, the one who is there for the first time, without a blog for their business or self, or perhaps with a blog they have left unattended for too long. They seem aware of their resistance to the idea of self-publishing anything that is not technically accurate and related to the business. They have concerns and questions about this thing called “blogging.” They wonder…

What is a blog and why have one?

Why bother? What is in it for me and my business goals?

How will readers find me?

So what when they do? (What can I do to inspire comments and dialogue?)

Why would anyone read what I have written (says the person especially who doesn’t see themselves as a good writer)?

This marks the moment I smile and sometimes at Susan or Diane or Sue and say, sounds like time for an “Intervention.” They smile back knowing what comes next. There are many examples of people who have been “assisted” by being the spotlighted one for a while. We love it when they take the idea offered and run with it! ( Go on and check out the hyperlinks, you know you want too!)

Imagine arriving for an open writers support circle, unsure of what to expect and leaving with new found understanding of what having a blog as an extension of your business messaging could mean for you? Or knowing what you will name your blog or focus on and orbit the writing around? Or gaining a sense that your story and your voice and your personality are interesting to at least your initial 20+ readers?

Awareness that we would be a welcome voice in the blogosphere sparks interest in some. Some remain tentative and come back for months before ever launching a WordPress site or a Blog through their website. Still others take action right away, inspired by the generous suggestions and directions graciously given by those in the circle who were once in the same shoes.

The Truth as I See It goes like this: blogging as a Guerrilla Marketing strategy is here to stay, makes sense, can be done efficiently, can be fresh, can be evolving and adapting and did I say Makes Good Sense.

First, we must get over our fears–if only long enough to get started. Participant and writing client, Mike Margolies of The Athlete Within and the Mental Game, recently published a series of compelling pieces on that “Fear We Must Overcome” (as often as we need to). Resistance to new things evaporates for me when I understand why I am afraid and what might be beneficial if I got over my fears. It’s liberating to release fears. And it’s helpful to have a Base Camp to return to for support as needed. Who climbs Mt. Rainier solo?

Second, we will need to create some plan if only a light one for ourselves, to track against. I say let it be based on being Congruent with who one is, Consistent with one’s natural rhythms that get pushed from time to time, and grounded in what is rich Content of interest FIRST to us, and thereafter to our future Ideal Clients/Readers.

Third, may it be a process we choose to trust, engage in fully and in time realize, WE ARE HAVING FUN writing and sharing and sparking dialogue–if only within ourselves and hopefully with others. In time we will gain knowledge about ourselves, our business, our clients, our future clients, and all because we engage in communicating Authentically and with Enthusiasm for the sake of inspiring others and contributing to their Awareness and their own quality of life.

To blog or not to blog, may often be the question and I hope for my students and clients that embracing “blogging” and writing to authentically self-express our interests, creativity and areas of focus and expertise is ultimately what is the chosen path. I read a lot of blogs and comment on many. I get GREAT ideas from what others write and share. I connect people to each other who I feel need to know of each other.

To begin is what it takes. To begin with an end in mind is even better. When you need help getting going, I hope you ask for it. And if you want community, I have a great place for you to find it.

Tuesdays, 1pm. Does it have your name on it?

Writing Community Style: Finding One's Writing Voice

Recently, this “journal writer” spent four glorious weeks in a class I would take over and over again.

Monday mornings my ritual for the last four weeks was an 11am pot of tea with three other students of the craft of writing and one FINE facilitator.

We can’t return enough to explore the basics and the most simple and exquisite writing exercises. One could warm up morning after morning and the written product will never be the same.

A simple launching point could reveal a great idea for a new blog post, a story, an article, or the focus required for some business writing that we might be procrastinating about. The warm up is the starting point and then comes the clarity we so desire and the creativity is again free to flow.

I feel…

I am..

I hear..

I see…

I think…

I wish…

When we just begin and keep that pen moving and dig a little deeper minute by minute we have no idea what we might capture.

And then there is the sharing…

We are all so critical of ourselves BUT boy is it easy to give honest kudos to another writer.

The next time Kim Pearson of Primary Sources offers to teach this four week series, I’ll be singing her praises as the teacher/facilitator she is and invite those I know who crave to write juicy and free and on point and discover how good a writer they actually are. Or let your peers tell you how they here your writing.

I loved the writing exercises that were part of all the years of my elementary and middle and high school years and quite frankly I can’t remember why I stopped.

So, I created yet again a way to support myself and others that I am most excited about.

Stay tuned and tune in when you have the joy of writing with others.

Authentic Writing Could…

Inspire a Recommendation from a friend…

Act like a Muse on another Dreamer…

Clarify for New People who you are  and what you do and why…

Make a reader smile, ponder, engage, respond, and express gratitude…

Support your Credibility Gracefully (or Provocatively)…

Further tap into your unknown wisdom and creativity…

 

…Be exactly what is needed to move a Lost Soul forward.

 

So how Transparent are you willing to be?

The Power of Support: It Works!

Today was an exciting day as I coordinated with Jill Salzman, founder of a growing network of meet-ups, to become the newest host in the Momtrepreneur Exchange network — a national network that has literally blossomed by Word of Mouth and with the aid of Social Media.  Requests to start groups came to her in a stream she had not anticipated and deservedly so, in my opinion. For her heart and mind were in the right place when she created the Network based on her own personal experiences as a “momtrepreneur” running a pair of businesses and oh yes, taking care of family…

And here is the WOW factor… 26 groups in 17 states have formed in the last five months!

Sounds like she recognized a need and filled it! A need she wanted for herself and others…

Sounds like her authentic vision to build a network of support in a way that is easy and affordable to the participants is on fire for good reason.

Are you both an entrepreneur and parent? How’s it going? I have been since 2007 and it’s one of the best choices I ever made. Another best choice I made was to say yes to motherhood.

Seriously though, isn’t it fun balancing growing a business and raising a family? (For me the ” musical sound of 2:25″ is a gentle reminder via my cell phone the school bus lands in 10 minutes!)

Support Benefits Everyone Involved

So ask yourself, gentle reader and business professional (be you a small business or a solo-preneur) Would a community of support that provides gentle accountability, business education and creative masterminding and inspiration help your new and developing business or re-energize your established business?

October 14th I am pleased to be facilitating the Inaugural Gathering of the Momtrepreneur Exchange in Bellevue, WA.  I join a network of 25 other meet-ups in 16 other states.

Each meeting (except the inaugural) will offer a brief speaker on a topic of interest and ALWAYS  leave ample time for connecting and dialogue.

My favorite style of events these days are those that allow ample time for a real conversation. That kind of conversation that we have to tear ourselves away from! You know what I am talking about!

I’m so excited to be launching the newest city and hub of the Momtrepreneur Exchange Network! Funny thing was it took no time at all to get things organized and rolling today, ONCE, Jill Salzman, Founder, and I connected. We played phone tag for a week  or more first and that was fun in its way (smile.)

You could say that she and I were both equally, pleasantly persistent. And that persistence made all the difference.

What Jill created based on an elegantly simple model is a great vehicle for building community, developing one’s business, and sparking prosperity and creativity! It takes a village I say.

My own monthly group will meet the 2nd Thursday monthly from 1-3 at Friends, Philosophy and Tea in Bellevue, my personal center of the Universe (smile). I am SO excited!

Yes, I chose my favorite place to congregate and a time convenient for me BUT I have luck with this place and this time slot for a weekly event I host for Writers and Bloggers, that is typically attended by 12+ regulars and new faces week after week. We have come to depend on each other for gentle accountability (or “friendly harassment”) and sparking our creative minds back into action. New people come and are immediately “absorbed” as they want to be. It’s mighty magical every week

That blogging and writing is getting more consistently and joyfully done each week by group members in between meetings tells me something is working. It’s working. The support and encouragement is working!

I read decades ago in San Francisco Focus that Amy Tan credited her writer’s group for the fact that the Kitchen God’s Wife got completed. This remark of hers has stuck with me for a long, long time.

Are you a Lone Wolf when doing business? Writing? Blogging? If it works for you, more power to you. And through the years  I have heard it said time and again, how it really helps to have true and unconditional support. I know I come to life with a pinkie’s worth of support.

We are living in wonderfully collaborative and innovative times. Technology makes it simpler to start a movement and get the word out.

Why do some movements and ideas go viral quickly and grow like mushrooms after the rain? I propose the AUTHENTICITY at the inception and in the core makes it just that much more attractive to people.

How would you create a network of meaningful support around you and for others?