I don’t want to scale up, I want to scale down

Many writers feel lost in an ocean of resources that are meant to help them write more, and ensure their writing reaches readers. They are drowning in an endless amount of courses, webinars, podcasts, blog posts, books, and other resources that are meant to tell them what works.

But I find that the one thing that truly works in helping writers accomplish these things is to show up and lend a helping hand.

One way I have worked hard to do this is by recording videos that are meant for tiny audiences. In many cases, I record a video that is meant to offer my advice, my ideas, my personalized strategies to an audience of 1 person. Sometimes the video is for a small group of 10-15 people.

As so many people have tried to go “viral” with what they share, reaching as many people as possible, I’ve been working hard to do the opposite. I want to show up to help one person at a time. Because honestly, I think that can be the powerful difference between someone struggling alone, and someone actually writing, actually publishing, actually having their work read. Not giving them a viral video, but giving them my attention and highly personalized advice.

I just added up how many of these videos I created this year, 5-15 minute videos each meant for a tiny audience. It was way more than I thought, 750+ videos! Here is a sampling of what that looks like:

In reflecting on what I have accomplished in 2019, and what I hope to do in 2020, I’m realizing that I don’t want to scale up. I want to scale down. I am not trying to find massive success where I reach ever-growing numbers of “followers.”

Instead, I truly want to help one person. One writer at at time. In a direct manner — actually engaging with them. Understanding their challenges, their goals. Then working with them to come up with solutions and be a partner in making that process a reality.

Someone recently asked me how many downloads my podcast has. I honestly have no idea. How much traffic does my website get? I couldn’t even begin to tell you. What is the growth rate of my email newsletter? After nearly 15 years of sending it, I don’t have a clue.

I don’t want to fall into that trap. The trap of seeing my work as a series of numbers. Numbers that must grow in order to show “success.” Numbers that obfuscate my true goal of not “reaching” people, but truly helping writers.

One of the ways I do this that I am most proud of is my Creative Shift Mastermind group. This is where 10-15 writers join me for a quarter and we collaborate on how to make creativity and writing a priority in their lives. I have been running this group every quarter for more than four years now. What that means is that every morning, I show up to this group. I respond to their questions, brainstorm strategies specific to their lives, and yes, I record a brand new video for this group each and every weekday.

In my planning for 2020, I’ve been reviewing how people’s lives have been impacted by the Mastermind, and I’m not going to lie, I got emotional. Not because of some fancy number I can show off, but because these people are showing up to ensure their writing has an impact. It is truly an honor to be able to show up with them. This is a glimpse at what a few of those people have had to say:

Ruth Franklin“Dan is truly expert at understanding the creative process. I was amazed at his ability to encourage and challenge writers and artists in many different genres to grow and transform their work. I recommend the Mastermind to anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of their own creative process and developing the tools to become more productive and more confident.”
– Ruth Franklin

TonyBonds“Before I joined the Mastermind, I struggled to find time to write, I yearned for a creative community, and I felt like I was at a crossroads in my career. Through the Mastermind, I now have firmly established writing habits, I’m close to finishing my novel, and I have a plan in place to grow my writing career. Dan Blank is a sherpa for the creative explorer inside all of us. “
— Tony Bonds

KarenLockKolp“I was in a tough place and knew I needed the right kind of support and education to come out of it. The Creative Shift Mastermind provided that. Dan addresses the challenging aspects of creative work – self-doubt, the curveballs that life throws, the “daily grind” stuff – and he helps you come out on top. After taking this Mastermind my whole life has changed: I am healthier, I am happier in my life, and I am succeeding at reaching my creative goals.”
– Karen Lock Kolp

Jeannie Ewing“Dan’s style is gentle, kind, but also very honest. He shared such clear wisdom with the group or even individually. It was so refreshing to receive feedback based on his decades of experience working with creative professionals. Dan is a true mentor and I felt, under his apprenticeship, that I finally had the freedom and permission to be who I have been as a writer all along.”
– Jeannie Ewing

Thank you so much!