The joy and the risk of clicking publish

As a writer, there is this moment you dream of: the moment of publication.

It used to be that the moment of publication was a rare event. The publication of your book, after years of crafting it. The publication of an article after months of writing and trying to getting it placed.

But now, the opportunity to publish surrounds us. The little screen in your pocket begs you to publish something, right now.

Yet the act of clicking publish is still a highly charged one. It can fill us with extraordinary joy, or incredible anxiety and apprehension.

This morning, I’ve been considering things that have published recently that I’ve been a part of, and what I’ve learned in the process:

I Have Published More Than 1,500 Videos

The other day I realized that I’ve clicked publish on more than 1,500 videos. Here is a tiny sampling of them:

They are all videos I have shared with the writers in my Mastermind and other online programs. Through these videos, I provide direct feedback on a daily basis.

In the early days, I would be nervous when doing a video. I would spend an hour setting up my chair, the background, the lightning. I would do different takes.

But now, I tend to record at least two videos a day. Of course, I have honed my process, the tools, the lighting, the background, and my preferred tone and structure for the videos.

More than that: the act of clicking publish on these videos is about me communicating with another human being.

With all the hype of digital media, the most profound impact that I have found is not the gadgets, tools, channels, and services, but simply the way that clicking publish allows me to better communicate with another actual person.

Bringing Together 14 Agents and 700 Writers

This week I helped an author client click publish on a Literary Agent Summit — an online event featuring 14 agents and editors.

You can get free access simply by registering here before Monday. It’s a pretty amazing resource.

The author is Alison Taylor-Brown, who I shared a case study from on another Summit we did a few months back, as well as this inspiring post: Choosing the Writer’s Life. The Literary Agent Summit is her third online event, and it’s incredible for me to assist in helping her click publish on it.

That act has allowed her to meet and spend time with 14 agents, to help 700 writers on their own publishing journeys, and there will be loads of emails and feedback with her and those people over the next week or two.

For Alison, clicking publish will not just share information, but help books be born, and assist in people connecting with each other around them.

An Actual Book! (From a Friend)

My friend Teri Case just published her most recent novel: In the Doghouse.

What hand did I have in publishing this? Zero! It is all Teri. But… again and again I noticed people supporting her who I know she met in my mastermind or other programs.

Teri clicked publish a thousands times in the lead up to this book. On blog posts, newsletters, emails, social media updates and so much else.

I’ve featured Teri in a couple other case studies on my blog:

To me, her book is a reminder that clicking publish is about showing up to be there for other people. The writers she has met have showed up for her, and she has shown up for them. This week, we are celebrating the publication of her book, but it is also a symbol of that human connection.

Even though there is a single author’s name on the cover, and that author deserves all the credit, they are often surrounded by an incredible support system that becomes a part of that book’s story.

Sometimes Clicking Publish Means Taking a Risk

This week I clicked publish on a new episode for my Creative Shift podcast. I was kinda nervous about this one.

You see, it was a weird diversion in terms of topic. I interviewed author Brian Heiler who runs the website.

Our discussion? About his lifetime dedicated to collecting and writing about 1970s toys.

Yep. I told you it was different.

I was so excited to talk to Brian, but I felt I was taking a risk. My audience is comprised of writers and artists, where does this podcast fit for them? When I reached out to Brian, that is exactly the first thing he said to me: “How do I fit into this?”

I didn’t have a clear answer. I told him I was a fan of his work and I outlined what I hoped to speak with him about. He was game, and his reasoning was fascinating: he wanted to push himself outside his comfort zone.

I had to click ‘publish’ on this with two feelings:

  1. Incredible joy because I loved the conversation.
  2. A bit of apprehension knowing that most of my audience would find this a strange topic.

Some highlights of the interview: He blew me away when he told me that in order to do the layout and design for the book he wrote, he went to night school! In our conversation we discuss how he developed an online community after years of engaging offline with fellow 1970s toy collectors and fans. We dig into how he sustains blogging for so many years.

Oh, and we talk about the time his dad came home with 5,000 General Urko dolls from Planet of the Apes. I mean, this is not an episode that you want to miss! You can listen to it here.

Clicking publish on this podcast reminds me that this is not always a strategic act. It is one that allows us to explore our curiosity and make connections with other people that may not always fit into some perfect little box.

I have found that clicking publish becomes a part of the creative process. One that doesn’t just create a piece of media (a book, a blog, a podcast, a summit), but that creates powerful moments of connection between real people.

Over time, that provides a deep sense of fulfillment and adds a richness to our days.