I declare today: I want to be a professional, paid writer.
Over the past few years, the comments about my writing have been accumulating, and I’ve received encouragement from many people. In particular, recently, from my Dad, Jim Penndutchman who thinks I may be letting my talent and skills go to waste. I know he’s right, and I’ve been feeling this for some time.
My friend, Jay Galla, has also been encouraging me. And, this, of course, leads to political topics as he is now arguably 8-10 years into his political career even if he’s only been in his elected position for a little under 3 years. There’s something about his inspiration that I truly believe has applicability here in the USA – particularly given our current situation. I don’t know if this leads to running for office, but I do believe it involves using my writing skills in the realm of politics and governance.
But, the thing Jay led me to last year was the concept of Ikigai, which is the image I’ve added to this post. I think, of the 4 main areas, I’ve got 3 covered when talking about writing. I love writing, and according to many of you, I’m good at it. There’s a decent argument that the world needs my writing, but I’m sure some of you could debate that. The question is: Can I be paid for it to complete the cycle and reach my Ikigai?
So, I called my first roommate in Colorado, Eric Myers, who was working at the Daily Planet in Telluride way back in 1997. He then worked for Mountainfreak, and after leaving Telluride, the St. Petersburg Times. He’s now at the Atlanta Journal Constitution and has responsibility for Digital Content there. He went over with me how writers are now paid, and the challenges that all writers have with free content.
I already write plenty of free content. And, this, of course, may be part of practicing in the minor leagues, or, if I were pessimistic, may be the difference between telling jokes at a party, and then bombing when trying to take the same material to the stage as a stand-up comedian. Which, I actually did for a year when I was 26, but I degress.
So, the spectrum for writers in this real basically means exchanging freedom to choose what you write about for a salary, with many options in the middle that have different mixes of freedom and dollars. Of course, the gamble is that you hit it big with something that, in essence, creates a type of slot machine jackpot approach to success. With similar odds.
He suggested that I send out emails to publications I might want to work with, which I did. Probably not well, or the right way, because I’ve not received any response. There is, after all, a full plate in my life in several other ways. Clearly, without more than a stream of Facebook posts to my friends and those who see my public profile, the notoriety just isn’t there. Yet.
I’ve also recently read a book by someone I worked for a long time ago, Kraig Kleeman called A Winning Brand. Kraig is known as the “The World’s Best Cold Caller”, and I know this to be true from personal experience. Kraig was my boss for a summer job way back in 1988, when I was selling the very first laptop, the Cambridge Z88 using cold calling techniques that he eventually developed into the “Must-React System”, which is now used worldwide.
In Kraig’s book, he recommends building a personal brand that emphasizes your skills and talents. Which leads me back to writing. I think it’s time to stop practicing on Facebook, and to give my writing the serious attention necessary to make it into, perhaps, a new career.
He has a chapter that ends with a “Personal Brand Inventory” where he asks readers to ask themselves the following questions:
Values: What one to two personal beliefs influence your choices and actions?
Interests and Passions: What issues, causes, activities, or hobbies are you passionate about?
Mission: What are you committed to accomplishing, in the short-term and long-term?
Vision: How do you see yourself using your mission?
Strengths: What positive assets have brought you positive outcomes? What are others complimenting you on?
One-in-a-million: What makes you different from everyone else? Describe the unique quality that makes you, YOU!
Reflection: How do others describe you?
After those questions, he challenges the reader to think of what to do in the future:
Best in Class: If you could be the best in the world at one thing . . .
– How do you wish to be known?
– Do you need to learn any additional skills?
– Do you know people who can help you with this role?
Personal Slogan: Use your name and best-in-class strength to embrace a winning attitude and find your Winning Brand mix.
So, my post tonight is a reach-out on that thought to those of you who have enjoyed what I write on Facebook. I’m ready. Tonight, I bought a domain I probably should have a while ago, which matches my Facebook and Twitter personal accounts – andyroomowery.com.
I think it’s time that I start a blog, using WordPress as the platform, which will then create content that hopefully sends me on a trajectory for success as a writer. I honestly don’t really know where to start, but I do know that without starting, there’s no journey. The first step is the first step.
So, I’m asking anyone who has the time to consider the questions inspired by Kraig above, and to let me know what you think. This includes brutal honesty. I know some of you are afraid to debate or spar with me, but this isn’t the purpose here. I’m asking, from my heart, for help.
I have several things that I’ve been dying to write for the past month, but the pace of current events has kept me from writing and publishing them here on Facebook. Once I get the domain and blog set up, I’d like to begin rolling out some of that backlog. It’s hard to describe how these ideas pool up in a writer’s mind, but it feels like a dam about to burst. I have to release.
That said, the topics are maybe not all over the board, but they certainly aren’t cohesive. Some are political, but some are what you’ve called personal interest stories. Some are about my life experiences. Some are about business. Some are about legal experiences. And, of course, I love to write about our garden and cats too.
So much material, so little time.
Thank you in advance for those who put any time into this. I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you in advance for your help.