Tag: Jeff Goins

While Waiting for Milestones, Do You Celebrate the In-Between? You Should.

mary and john weddingOn July 29, 1937, one ecstatic man had his dreams come true when a beautiful woman walked down the aisle to join him—in front of the altar, in holy matrimony, and in life. He wasn’t the only one who was happy; that woman was equally overjoyed. Everyone thought she was going to marry a wealthy local businessman, but instead, she fell in love with a man who had quit school at the age of fourteen when his father died to support his mother and six siblings. He was responsible, but certainly not well-to-do; it was likely they would never reach anything more than a middle-class lifestyle.

And she couldn’t have cared less.

He was smart, incredibly handsome, funny, and the kindest man she had ever met. On July 29, 2013, seventy-six years after she married him, she’ll still tell you that was the best decision of her life.

How do I know all this?

Because I’m talking about my grandparents, and this is their story.

mary and john laterThere were plenty of milestones in their lives. The purchase of their first and only home together, her first pregnancy (sadly, their son was a stillbirth), the birth of their two daughters, their twenty-fifth anniversary, the marriage of their two daughters, the birth of six grandchildren, their fortieth anniversary… You get the idea. Those are the same milestones we all look forward to.

Thing is, they didn’t make it to their fiftieth anniversary. My grandfather died in 1986, one year short of that milestone.

If my grandmother only lived for the milestone moments, she would have missed out on so much. Scenic drives, sitting on the porch watching sunrises and sunsets, sharing meals (large holiday celebrations with family and small intimate meals together), evenings spent by candlelight when the power was out, listening to the radio…

Milestone moments are highlights, but real life happens in the in-between. (Tweet this.)

When my grandmother reminisces about my grandfather, she doesn’t tell me about anniversary parties and major purchases. She tells me about board games and shopping trips, social gatherings and carwashes. My grandmother lived in the in-between, and because of it, she didn’t miss a second of her wonderful marriage.

I wish we all could appreciate the minutes we have instead of waiting for moments that may never come. (Tweet this.)

I learned from my grandmother to appreciate the in-between. Sure, I’m often going from tennis match to football game, speed camp to school event.

Life can get so hectic that we miss living it. (Tweet this.)

But, when was the last time:

  • your whole family gathered around the table for a meal?
  • you stayed up all night talking?
  • you turned the television off and danced to your favorite slow song?
  • you said “I love you,” not because you were running out the door, but because you needed to express your feelings?

If you believe life is worth living all the time, not just during special events, then you’ve already tapped in to one secret of happiness.

If you’ve been waiting for milestone after milestone, maybe it’s time to reevaluate.

In either case, I’d like to encourage you to read Jeff Goins’s new book, The In-Between.

The In-Between

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Jeff says, “The In-Between is a call to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives by helping you:

  • Find personal meaning in the times that make the least sense.
  • Hone the underestimated art of living in the moment.
  • Experience the joy that comes with embracing inconveniences.”

The In-Between is available for pre-order, and if you buy the paperback copy now, you’re eligible for $240 worth of free gifts, too. (Click here to learn more about Jeff’s generous offer.)

For Writers: Do you let your characters explore the in-between? Plots grow stagnant if they don’t move from high-point to high-point, and character relationships are often forged in these moments. But remember the movie Speed? Keanu Reeves’s character parroted a statement Sandra Bullock’s character had said earlier in the movie. “…relationships based on intense experiences never work.” And there’s truth to that. Intense experiences make for interesting plot progression, but character feelings develop best in the quiet moments between those experiences. Give your characters time to grow in the in-between.

My grandparents lived, loved, and thrived in the in-between. Wouldn’t you like to do the same?

Do you have any in-between insights you’d like to share? Please tell us your story in the comments section.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself to Improve Your Writing

editingIf you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, then you know I’m a writer, and occasionally I try to pass on bits of advice to help other writers in their craft. Sometimes it’s in the form of a story from my personal life, other times it’s just a straight up blog post with information.

Today is going to be a little different.

Before I continue, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you consider yourself a writer?
  2. Have you begun shipping your work yet?
  3. Do you know how to write and edit effectively?
  4. Do you have a plan in place to get constructive feedback on your work?
  5. Do you know what steps to take to have a successful launch?
  6. Have you begun to define yourself as a brand?
  7. Are you working on a platform so you’re more marketable?
  8. Is your platform strong and growing steadily?
  9. Do you know who your target audience is?
  10. Do you know how to reach them?

Those are some daunting questions, especially to the beginner, but even to the established writer. Some of those terms may be unfamiliar to you. And you know what? I haven’t even introduced two of the most important terms yet: Cartel and Tribe.

Sometimes people bat buzzwords around and don’t really give you any solid framework with which to understand it. I’m going to do my best to help you along. Look at the questions again.

Story CartelIf the first five questions really got your attention, I urge you to check out Joe Bunting’s Story Cartel Course. Studying six short rules, you will learn the importance of sharing your work, connecting with other writers, writing and editing techniques, reviewing methods, and collaborating for successful book releases. The course wraps up with a series of tools designed to teach you to reach a larger audience faster. Each week, experts in the field share their knowledge and offer tips for navigating the publishing industry. Exercises help you hone your craft, and you always have support from the contacts you make in the forums. The strongest supporter of all is founder Joe Bunting, who also hosts a regular web-chat to introduce new material and answer any questions you might have. This comprehensive program gives you lifetime access to the materials and the forums, so unlike traditional classes, once you sign up, you can keep learning at your own pace for as long as you like, and access like that is priceless. I was a staff member for the pioneer run, and I thought the program was great, and Joe is continually tweaking the program to make it even better for future students. If you write fiction, this is a course you don’t want to miss. Click “Story Cartel” to register or join the waiting list, or click on the logo in my sidebar.

Tribe WritersIf the second set of questions piqued your interest, you may be more interested in growing your platform and online presence than working on your writing. And that’s great. Both the craft of writing and the discipline of marketing go hand-in-hand these days. You pretty much can’t have a successful career without both. If learning to use social media to increase your brand awareness is something you’re interested in, then signing up for the Tribe Writers course is something you should consider. This course offers eight weeks of lessons designed to help you improve your writing while increasing your platform, a large forum of current and former classmates to support your efforts and interact with, interviews from experts in the fields of publishing and social media, and regular web-chats with founder Jeff Goins, who makes certain all students feel welcome and encouraged. This program offers lifetime access to the materials and the forums, so you can work at your own pace. I was a pioneer member of Tribe Writers, and it just gets better every time Jeff offers it. If you’re looking to build a tribe of dedicated followers, you want to take this course. Click “Tribe Writers” to register or join the waiting list, or click the logo in my sidebar.

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I’m an affiliate member of both of these courses. If you use these links, a portion of your tuition will be passed on to me. But I wouldn’t be an affiliate member if I didn’t believe in these programs, and I wouldn’t be recommending them to you if I wasn’t certain they work.

If you have any questions about either of the programs, you can email the founders, or you can ask me. I’d be happy to tell you more about my experiences in those courses.

Best wishes, and happy writing!

What do Cornfields Have to do with Blogging?

I follow a lot of writers’ blogs looking for advice and inspiration. I correspond with quite a few of them, too. I’ve found that there are some writers out there who are genuinely interested in helping others improve their craft. Jeff Goins is one of them. Most recently I responded to a post by Jeff on his blog (http://tribewriters.com) about what platforms are and how to build them. I’ll give you an excerpt from my email to him:

cornfield photo by Peter Griffin

If I build it, will they come?

“I’m tribe-less, Jeff. I’ve created my platform, but I think James Earl Jones was wrong. You can build it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll come.”

Jeff didn’t pull any punches. Here’s an excerpt from his reply:

“You’re right. You need more than a cornfield in Iowa.”

Jeff claims that none of us is tribe-less. It’s simply a matter of finding our tribe and then having the courage to lead them. That’s a two-fold process, isn’t it?

I’m working on finding my tribe. That’s what I’m building here. Nick Thacker (http://livehacked.com) calls this my home base. That’s a good analogy. I’d like people to be comfortable here, touch base and branch off to other tabs then come back again to this one. But honestly, I don’t care what the terminology is. Call my viewers a tribe, call my page a home base. Call me an alien and my blog my home planet. It doesn’t much matter to me as long as certain core principles are met. Are we connecting? Are we exchanging ideas? Are you learning from me? I used to be an English professor; I think I have some wisdom to impart. I just need to reach people (or my tribe) and connect with them.

The second thing I need to do is lead. I can do that. I did that when I taught, I can do it again. But it was so much easier then. I had the benefit of eye contact with which to build a rapport with my students. And, frankly, I started in a position of authority. The college told the students I was the subject matter expert, and in that room, I was. On the Internet, I’m competing with millions if not billions of other people for attention. Why would anyone listen to my voice?

Because no one sounds quite like me.

I can’t promise you that I have all the answers. I can’t promise I even know all the questions. I’ve learned a lot. I learn more every day, and I’m happy to share it with all of you. It’s going to be fun working on all of this together. Your challenge today: update your home base. Reach out to your tribe. You’re already on the Internet. Go on… talk to them. They’re waiting for you.

Maybe James Earl Jones wasn’t wrong, after all.

photo credit: Peter Griffin

<a href=”http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3673&picture=cornfield”>Cornfield</a> by Peter Griffin

Independence Day

I had a post all planned for today. I thought it was poignant and insightful. Then I read through my inbox before I made my own entry here. Instead of using my post, I invite you all to read this post by Jeff Goins. Truly inspirational.

http://goinswriter.com/revolutionary-words/

Happy Fourth of July, every one. And God Bless America.

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