I’m a content junkie. I read 100 books a year. I watch hundreds of hours of YouTube videos and thousands of hours of audio. Most of what goes in doesn’t stick. I do other things while I consume much of this content.
…but sometimes you get a lightning bolt.
This story is one of those. Now I share it with you. This is the story of one silly notebook.
As a fairly far-introvert (no idea what to call it… severe, left of center… who knows), I live in my head a lot. I juggle ideas constantly. I’ve got 50 balls in the air. I drop them a lot. Thoughts come and go. …
As with any writer-creator who gains a little bit of public success, if you put your work out there, inevitably there will be folks who want you to feel bad. You’ll write something that will grind someone sideways. Maybe you caught her on a bad day. Maybe his dog ran away.
Whatever the reason, if you operate with a people-pleaser mentality, not only will prevent yourself from shipping your best work, you’ll never feel the satisfaction of doing work that really matters.
Short — you’ve got to take a stand and break some plates.
Taking a stand will mean different things for different people. You don’t have to deliberately engineer controversy just to get attention. But you do need to hang your undies on the clothesline for the entire neighborhood to see. We need to know where you stand — who’s invited and who’s not. This is how we develop a tribe. …
I’ve struggled with this ‘content volume’ issue just as much (if not more) as the average writer-creator. How much stuff do you cram into a course? I realize the title is a dead-giveaway so I won’t ask you more dumb rhetorical questions. But the amount of content we should include is a serious dance.
On one side you want enough bulk in your basket to make the investment match the product.
On the other mitten, your customer could give a hot cocoa if you spent an extra three months on additional content. She doesn’t care about your course at all. …
Medium is a ‘tough crowd.’ No, not the readers. The Medium platform has some of the best readers and writers over any other platform I know. Compared to most social troll comments, Medium comments are tame. Medium people are classy.
But it’s a tough crowd if you want to earn money from your writing.
There are tens of thousands of writers all competing for your attention. If you don’t grab said attention fast, it’s likely you won’t do well here.
And not only do you have to grab a reader’s attention (and keep it), you’ve also got to publish frequently to appease the algorithm. …
As a lifelong creative, I’ve studied the process inside-out. Through my own creative work, I’ve stumbled more times that I got it ‘right,’ but as I looked-back on successful projects, each one carried a common thread.
Nothing good is build in a vacuum.
There’s no such thing as a 100% new idea, no matter how amazing you think you are. Everything we make is a mish-mash of our life’s experiences, the best work of others, and the mistakes we made along the way.
Why do you think the Hero’s Journey resonates so well with all people?
We want something to change. A jarring experience kicks us into action. We get help along the way. We encounter many hurdles and setbacks. If we don’t quit, we emerge changed at the end of our journey. …
Afew days ago Ev Williams wrote a story to answer some writer questions. Most of the answers weren’t revolutionary by any stretch, but one statement grabbed my throat and wouldn’t let go.
I’ll share that question/answer here:
Q: The Future of Blogging in a Multimedia World. Gen Z is increasingly consuming more videos. How does Medium stay relevant?
A: (Truncated, second part of his answer only) …There’s no reason for Medium to be limited to reading and writing.
Sure, on the surface this sounds cool. “Yay, I like video. Medium would be great as the next YouTube! We could have AI-driven article readers with puppy clip art humming in the background. …
With Medium’s rise in popularity — more people stuck at home and a general trend towards wanting to run your own future — it’s hard to get your stories read.
There are something close to 40,000 active writers per month on Medium. If they each publish an average of four stories per month, that’s 160,000 stories to compete with.
Your readers literally have those stories, plus all the others from the last few years. Readers have unlimited choice for content to fit within their limited time.
If all you do is write on Medium, it’s likely you’ll earn pennies per writing hour. …
I’m reading a book by the astonishing Ken McCarthy, called 57 Big Ideas to Transform Your Business and Your Life. Ken’s one of the OG online marketers. Much of what we do today is thanks to him. This book is a collection of letters that were once part of Ken’s high-ticket newsletter.
In this book, McCarthy mentions Andy Warhol’s quote about everyone should get their 15 minutes of fame.
…but Andy forgot a piece, Ken says.
He never mentioned what happens at minute 16.
Every spammy, annoying, pushy, tricky, interrupting marketing trick works… until it doesn’t. This is minute 16.
The Minute 16 Principle is my take on the idea you’ve got to develop a daily system of connection with readers, instead of a series of half-baked tactics. …
I’m biased, sure, but I have some of the most-dedicated, thoughtful readers on Medium. I’m not worthy of all warm feedback I get — really.
That said, there’s always a rotten apple in the barrel.
I got a nasty-gram the other day from a writer who was angry I recommend selling indie books on Amazon… that I should promote indie bookstores and Barnes and Noble instead.
First, B and N killed most indie bookstores, then they worked their faces off to become a glorified coffee shop/toy store combo. …
The idea that we writers and creators need to struggle, live a hard life, create/maintain miserable situations for themselves, starve for their craft, or exist in a chronic state of depression to maintain their creativity, is nonsense.
We’re surrounded by historic, creative idols who lived short, messy lives.
The Hemingways, Van Goughs, Cobains, Bukowskis, Plaths, and Thompsons are all fascinating, yet horrible role models for those of us who want to make a career from our craft.
It is possible to do your best creative work and live a happy life — simultaneously.
The pandemic has made me recognize the poisonous world of repetition. Every night, before bed, I fill out a paragraph in my five year journal. Some days I forget. At worst, I have to try and think back 3–4 days. …