Motivation

How to Be Unforgettable

How to Be Unforgettable

Note from Glen: Can I tell you a secret? This is my all-time favorite Smart Blogger post. It was first published long before I became editor but here it is again because the message is still so important.

Can I tell you my worst nightmare?

I’m lying in bed in a nursing home, sick and dying, gasping for breath, knowing that any minute now I’ll be passing into the great beyond. And I’m scared, really, really scared, because I’m all alone, and I don’t know what’s going to happen, and oh God, it hurts so much…

But then it stops. My body goes limp, my last breath rattles from my lungs, my bowels release, and the heart monitor beside the bed flat lines, loudly proclaiming the end of the great and mighty Jon Morrow.

A few moments later, a nurse walks into the room, checks my pulse, and looks at her watch. She writes down my time of death on a form, pulls the sheet over my head, and goes back to her office, where she calls the morgue. A day or two later, I’m cremated with five other bodies, all of us too unimportant to even get our own urn.

And the worst part?

The next day, the sun comes up. The birds are singing. People eat breakfast, go to work, attend meetings… and nobody even notices I’m gone. The great wheel keeps on turning, and for better or worse, I’m forgotten. Goodbye cruel world, nobody gave a damn about me after all.

Scary, isn’t it?

Just writing it down gives me the willies.

It’s not just dying, although that’s certainly gruesome. It’s being forgotten. Down deep, I believe all of us have a primal need to be remembered, to pass something on to future generations, to leave some mark on the world saying, “I was here.”

If we’re being honest, I think maybe that’s one of the reasons many of us start blogging. There’s something immensely comforting about knowing your thoughts are out there for the whole world to read. You could kick the bucket tomorrow, but your words will live on, teaching, inspiring, and taking root in the minds of readers for generations to come.

Or at least that’s the idea.

What really happens, of course, is that you pour your heart and soul into a post, and no one seems to care. No comments, no links, no nothing. Come on over, friends, and check out my blog. We’re watching my ideas die in real time. Yuk, yuk, yuk.

And it’s disturbing.

When you pull up your blog, and you see it says “0 comments” next to every post, you feel like nothing has changed. Once again, you’re slipping through the cracks, passing into oblivion, one more nobody with a stupid little blog, God save your soul.

The good news?

It can change. You just have to realize your writing by itself isn’t a magic key to immortality. If you want that, you have to be unforgettable. You have to touch people so deeply, connect with them so powerfully that your ideas are burned into their minds.

Here’s how: More

49 Creative Geniuses Who Use Blogging to Promote Their Art

49 Creative Geniuses Who Use Blogging to Promote Their Art

Note from Jon: I talk to a lot of bloggers who’d love to spend more time painting, storytelling, photographing, or some other creative pursuit, but don’t, because they feel it’s not pragmatic. And that’s sad, because it can be. Just as a blog can build buzz around a book or business, it can also be used to promote your art.

Regardless of your passion, you’ll find someone in Leanne’s list you can use to inspire your own success. I also urge you to download The Rebel Artist’s Manifesto. It’s free, and it’ll give you one extra kick in the butt to get you started.

You’ve watched artists, performers and writers like Hugh McLeod, Amanda Palmer, Chase Jarvis, and Jeff Goins sell boatloads of creative work thanks to the platforms they have built from their blogs.

You tinker with your own creative projects and wonder if you could use a blog to promote them too.

But despite all the blogging advice out there, you sense that blogging for art is different.

You know you don’t want to be spammy, but have no idea how to use a blog to sell those musical compositions, show tickets, short horror stories, family paintings with Fido, or handmade grandfather clocks.

The one thing artists need to be successful today

The Internet has turned selling creative work on its head.

No longer can you simply get good at your craft and then find someone to champion you, manage you, or sponsor you.

Want a publishing deal? You better have built a solid fan base for your work first.

Want a chance at a record deal or even just make a decent side income from your work? You’ll need an engaged audience and good-sized list.

For today’s artist, building a tribe is non-negotiable.

But how?
More

An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage

An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage

Do you feel that?

That little tugging sensation on your heart?

You’re not sure what, but something is pulling you to change. Not in a confess-your-sins-oh-ye-sinners way, but to shift directions, to embrace your calling, to finally do what you were put here to do:

Write.

You feel the ideas inside you. You sense them straining to escape. You know your job is to set them free, firing them like a cannon into a world in desperate need of them.

But you’re afraid.

You’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net. You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to write for a living. You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut off, of watching your family shivering and hungry, all because of your “selfishness”.

And most of all?

You’re afraid you’re wrong about yourself.

Maybe that tugging sensation you feel is just an illusion. Maybe your ideas are crap. Maybe you’re just a fool with delusions of grandeur, and this whole fantasy of becoming a writer is just that: a fantasy.

So, you do nothing.

You cower in your safe little job. You tinker with a blog or a novel or a screenplay. You drown your dreams with junk food or booze or shopping sprees, all the while telling yourself you’re doing the right thing.

But are you?

“No,” a little voice whispers inside of you. “No, this is all very, very wrong.”

Oh God…
More

An Open Letter to All the Bloggers Cluttering the Web with Forgettable Content

An Open Letter to All the Bloggers Cluttering the Web with Forgettable Content

Have you ever gotten an email from a reader who said your writing changed their life?

How about other bloggers? Are they still talking about a particular post years after you published it?

Or is it the opposite?

Visitors just seem to come and go, never commenting, never linking, never sharing, just quickly scanning your posts and then moving on, forgetting about you forever.

If that’s the boat you’re in, I certainly sympathize, but brace yourself, because what I’m about to say will be painful:

You’re not trying hard enough.

Yes, I know those are impossibly high standards. Yes, I know it takes everyone time to learn their craft. Yes, I know there are only a few dozen bloggers in the world who can answer yes to both of those questions.

But if you’ve been blogging for a year or two, and you still can’t answer yes to either of them, then Houston, we have a problem.

Fortunately, it’s a problem we can fix. Let’s start by going back to where it all started. More

5 Silly Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Blog without Even Realizing It

5 Silly Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Blog without Even Realizing It

Now, now, now. Don’t even try to pretend it isn’t true.

Let me guess…

You spend hours on Twitter and Facebook “working,” only to wonder later if you really accomplished anything.

You comment on the blogs of bigwig bloggers, telling yourself you’re “networking,” nevermind that none of those comments actually lead to anything.

You have a growing collection of books and courses promising to teach you all the secrets in the universe, but they sit in that “to be read” folder collecting dust.

In the back of your mind, you know you can do better. Technically, you even know what to do.

But something inside you refuses to let you, and every day you struggle with whether or not you should just give up or find some other shortcut.

You know how I know this?

Because I’m you. More