The Success of Starting

Many authors and creative professionals I meet express two feelings:

  1. They are overwhelmed juggling personal life, professional life, and writing life.
  2. They desperately want to feel a sense of momentum in their writing life.

I have been launching some new courses recently, and am reviewing feedback from writers who have been through them. Their words have encouraged me to reflect on their decision to sign up for the course, and the VALUE OF STARTING. So many of us dream, we plan, we analyze. But starting is a tenuous, hopeful moment all its own.

For many of these writers, they likely felt a lot of resistance to actually starting – to make the decision to sign up for a course:

  1. It is a commitment that they likely felt wouldn’t fit into their already busy life.
  2. Concern over if there would be enough return on investment to justify spending their time & energy with it.
  3. Perhaps their money would be better spent elsewhere.
  4. Putting themselves in the role of “student” when most people desperately want validation for the experience and wisdom they have already earned.
  5. If, in asking for help, they wondered if this defined them as an amateur when they see themselves as a professional.
  6. Can this work be done with integrity?
  7. Were they ready to do the work – truly ready to commit to deadlines.

That last one is a core part of STARTING and in encouraging any kind of momentum. This is the kind of feedback I love hearing in the early days of a course:

“This is a great lesson: inspiring and scary as heck! I’m going to give it a go.”
– Michael Purcell

That can be an invigorating place. I love how emotional all of this is – how it has both inspired someone to consider the good possibilities, but it also challenges them in a deep way. Risk is involved in this – and I encourage people to not shy away from that place.

A core part of my role is to carefully do both of these things at once: to push writers when needed, but in a way where they are truly developing the momentum they want as a creative professional.

The result? Often feedback such as this:

“I decided that this whole course exercise is pushing out of my comfort zone, so I bucked down and did it. Well, it’s already paying me back for the effort.”
– Carrie Ann Lahain

I focus on the emotional aspect of what prevents people from creating momentum in developing an audience and honing their craft. There is a reality I never want to sugar-coat: this stuff isn’t easy. I can’t (and no one can) make your anxiety magically disappear. I can’t (and no one can) give you amazing results with the most minimal of efforts.

Instead, I focus on the very real steps of starting, of developing momentum, and of honing your skills and processes to find real growth. A writer who went through a course of mine put it this way:

“I completed Dan’s course, focused on finding and connecting with readers. While my fears about this process still remain, and I suspect they always will, their voices are not quite as loud as they were before. And I’m pretty determined to not let them win.”
– Karyn Henley

What can I help with? This:

“Working with you, Dan, has really helped me COMMIT and focus.”
– Kelly Dumar

“I love how Dan offers common sense approaches to build readership without compromising your integrity.”
– Juliet Freyermuth

This is an entire process of taking risks – of identifying and working past boundaries that we often tend to avoid getting very close to. Yes, it can be a scary process, which is why I find it tends to be so meaningful. And yes, I try to make it fun too!

But really, this is the ultimate goal I have for the writers I work with: to provide momentum that in turn, allows them to focus on craft:

“I loved our work together because you focus on practical ways to simplify my life so I can fit in more writing.”
– Tanya Savko

My next course begins next week: Get Read: Find Readers and Build Your Author Platform, and if you think this may help you build momentum in your life, you can reserve your spot now.