Wednesday Workshop: Delivery

You have to follow your heart. You need to focus on what you love. You need to do what you do best.

My problem is I do a lot very well. Have you ever felt that way, like you could do a million things and love doing them all, but you find yourself torn between them all?

And then you get nothing done? Or maybe it just seems like you get nothing done. Or maybe projects lag and you get this feeling you aren't putting the work into them you need to in order to make them a success.

If you can't commit to your own success, it is hard for people to do the same in you. I find when I focus, like a laser, people respond. If I hammer on books or projects, I get reads and feedback, and things feel good. But there are other times when I focus on other things, and then I feel that familiar feeling of listless disconnection with my writing and what I share.

"If only I had more time," is the refrain I hear from my inner voice. And the old reply to that is, "You would make time if you wanted to."

I still write, but I am also finding success outside of writing - in my design skills and other practicing arts - which makes things hard.

So I cut back "the other things" and focus on what I love. This is all I have to guide me, I do the things I love the best, and I find enjoyment in them. I get this feeling it is the time to pick one or two things and just do those, to support those and do everything I can to make them a success.

What I have learned is never be ashamed to ask for money. Never be ashamed to setup something with the goal of empowering yourself. You should ask people to enable your success, and ask people make you a part of their lives.

But there is a cost to that.

You become a channel, like a cable channel. People pay you for you to entertain them. You become a service.

And you know what happens if there is nothing on?

People change the channel.

I would, and you will find people will change the channel on you - and you you often won't know why or maybe they just get bored of you. It happens. Even I turn off the things I love, switch the song in the middle of one I can't hear enough of, or never finish a series on Netflix even though it grips me. Maybe I am not ready to enjoy it. Maybe I subconsciously seek something different. Maybe I will get back to it later.

But, the channel has to be there, with new stuff, when people come back. There has to be something good on. New stuff needs to pile up, ready to be watched. This isn't reruns, although those may be a source of revenue for some channels, you are constantly putting out new stuff targeted to your fans and "what your channel is about."

And if people can't really explain your channel, that may be a problem. It may not, but typically you want people to identify your channel with something they love. And that something they love is wonderful if it is also something you love. There is a connection there, and a bond that is very powerful and lasting.

And some channels may take years to develop an audience.

It is a sobering thought, and why being a fence post instead of a fence jumper is such a good skill to learn.You need to have that dogged persistence, that 'putting stuff out rain or shine,' and that commitment to a base of fans that expect frequent updates. It is one of the hardest things you may ever do, adopting a release schedule that you may think is throwing words into a garbage can, and releasing book after book, or work after work, to an audience of none.

But when you get a bite, there is hope.

And you got to hang on and keep delivering.

It is extremely rare one book will be your career. Impossible even. It is more likely you will attract fans doing what you do, and finding people who love what you are about. But to be that 'content delivery service' you need to be that person who delivers content. Someone who can day after day, step up and work towards the next big release. Also it helps to be that person who can market what they do, day after day.

And you will take shots, and you will take heat for being out here - trust me.

People will criticize you for everything, the price of your books, your grammar, what you write, how you write it, that you even ask for money, and anything else you can imagine.

Don't apologize. Don't waste time explaining.

Be confident in yourself and the path on which you walk - the one you chose. Your strategy. Your take on making it. Your success. Be happy to ask for money. Be positive, and ask people to make you a part of their entertainment budget, rather than cable TV or other subscription services.

You bring their life value.

But...if you do nothing all day, you bring nothing to anyone.

It is ultimately a battle of expectations. If you want to be a channel, you have to deliver like a channel. If you want to put one book out and expect success, you need to adjust your expectations. You may not do it with one or two books. They may get a lot of interest and then fade out.

You may need to change things to change your experience, and you will need to start with yourself.