This is an unedited public journal that I am keeping to motivate myself (because, for whatever reasons, journalling and telling people what I am going to do does motivate me to act). As it is freewriting, and because there is much to do, I will not be editing these rambles. This often will mean that the good stuff will be buried in stream of conscious ramblings, or indeed, that there just is no good stuff 🙂
This blog has been going now since 2008. Traditionally, my blog posts have been of the snappy variety, in which I give a tasty, well-thought out idea or list of ideas designed to read well as an article. This has served me well, I have built a pretty huge mailing list and some people even open my emails too!
Meantime, I have been getting great value from my own private journals, which are unstructured, stream of consciousness. Writing for my own sake.
I thought I might be brave and bring this journalling out into the public a bit. The quality of the writing will suffer, won’t be as tight or well thought out. But in my life, execution is the name of the game (and the biggest challenge) and, surprise, surprise, the number one problem that everyone got back to me about in my recent Rebel Zen email list survey could be boiled down to: Help! I can’t seem to execute!
Which is not surprising: execution is haaaaard … and there are so many squirrels…
So here goes, I am going to start rambling in public here, documenting my own execution journey in the hope it helps you to get busy making shit happen yourself.
Execute what? You say…
Good question. Here’s where I am at, dear random reader: This last year has been monumental for me, because I really cracked through to a new level in my growth as a human when I finally smashed through the “liquid ceiling” that had been holding me back for many years.
The Liquid Ceiling
“The what now?” you ask..
“The Liquid Ceiling,” I reply. Also known as my *cough * fondness for the drink.
Never a grumpy drunk, everyone’s best mate, never (ok, rarely) in trouble because of it, unfortunately my immense, Irish/Australian thirst for beer, had long since been causing me all kinds of problems: depression, lack of focus and consistent motivation, sickness / physical ailments and a lot of pain, not to mention financial issues. I am not going to go into the full, amazing (to me anyway) story now about how I did it (I have book in mind about that) but suffice to say, last January, I finally stopped swilling the stuff after FIFTEEN YEARS of trying to moderate. It was the victorious culmination of a long and difficult journey for me and it has changed my life.
(By the way, it was REALLY hard for me not to edit the above paragraphs out of this blog post…)
Since then, I have been filled with a new power of self-discipline which has enabled me to lose weight, eat healthier, feel happier, sleep better, focus better, exercise more, do more work, and be a better father.
And yet… and yet…
And yet I have been searching around; something’s missing. I am talking about my life’s work. While busy making music (which I will probably always do) and also running my business (web marketing consultant), I just haven’t felt like these are quite doing it for me… which caused me to gnash my teeth, pull my hair and otherwise express my malcontent.
But – Lo! – now I believe I have found what was missing; I have seen the light! And verily, I say unto thee, it is full steam ahead with this Wonderful Thing!
What is this Thing?
Another good question!
It is writing.
When I was a child I was a mega-reader, and I also used to write. I decided as a kid I wanted to be an author, and I meant it. However, at 13, I discovered a shiny, shiny new God – Rock n Roll – and I gave myself over to this new religion fully. Then I discovered the dark cult of The Party, and this did distract me for many a moon.
All the while though, I have written.
I wrote song lyrics. I wrote stream of consciousness, wacky-backy Beat shit in my twenties; still have a box full of it somewhere. I started writing New Age motivational stuff for a magazine in the naughties – even got paid! I mentioned once in an article that I was working on a book, and to my surprise a serious publisher from a real publishing company (Allen & Unwin) contacted me, asking to read said book. I was writing a book, only it was a supernatural thriller not a New Age thing. I sent it on anyway and although this Mind Body Spirit publisher couldn’t work with it, she sent it on to her fiction publisher, who made some generous comments and gave some solid advice. Why I did not follow up on this advice is madness to me now, guess I was too busy prostrating before the Gods of Good Times and Great Rock n Roll.
Around the same time, I also started blogging here at Rebel Zen, guest blogging around the Interwebs (again, even got paid!) and writing commercial copy for my web design clients. I still do a lot of that to this day. My ability to write clear, “compelling” copy is one of the stand-out feathers in my freelance cap.
I’ve also written a couple of e-books: unedited PDFs that I either give away or sell from my website. One, “Monkey Mind”, has been downloaded for free thousands of times. The other, “Psychedelic Meditation”, brings in $700 – $1000 US / year and has done since 2008, even though I long stopped doing anything to actively market it.
I’m not writing all this to boast; I’m getting to a point.
You see, this last fact, the Psychedelic Meditation sales income, has been nagging away at me for some time. How is it that that this one small percentage of my yearly income takes so little effort while the rest (believe me) demands so, so much?
Ah … passive income … the Holy Grail.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an Internet Marketing Millionaire Wannabe with dollar signs in my eyes, dreaming of the good life on the beach, pina coladas paid for by the auto-money button on my laptop.
But still …. my biggest problem has NEVER been selling, that’s easy. And I enjoy marketing, that’s fun. The thing that has held me back for a long time is the logistical nightmare (and dubious business model) of being a musician and my lack of enthusiasm for building up a service business into a company (you know, with employees). This means my music is basically a hobby (as much as it pains me to admit that) and, in my website business, I can only ever do as many hours as I can cope with before having a nervous breakdown. And it means clients, when they all want things at once, which they tend to do, get disappointed with my lack of self-cloning abilities.
I once joked to a friend that I wished I had a business where I just sold boxes. I just did the marketing and sales and said, here you are, here’s your box and left the customer to it. I see this in retail. I walked into a pharmacy the other day, spent $14 on hay fever medication. The chemist turned around, handed me a box and took my money. Beautiful.
Books are little boxes of content – and I can totes write good.
And people buy books. I buy books. I can’t be bothered pirating them; I want them in my Kindle, now, and for five or ten bucks, pfft, I say, gimme the book. And so do many, many people.
So I started investigating, listening to podcasts and reading books (about making & selling books) and I came to realise there is a viable business model around creating and selling both fiction and non-fiction books. A business model that works way easier for a 42 year young man with a family and a rapidly fading taste for the nightlife.
So – I have become obsessed. And I have started writing again, big time, up at 5:30am writing before the family gets up.
I’m learning everything I can about becoming an indie-author. I’ve been hitting up my author friends for all they can teach me. I am doing it. I’ve got the bug. I’ve always had the bug, I just needed to give myself permission to write my face off.
So, if you’re still with me, this is the beginning of a mission to write and sell a lot of books, fiction and/or non-fiction, and to build a viable business around that.
For a long time I have written about how important execution is. Now I am going to document the process of executing, hopefully it will be helpful – inspiring and informative – for you. And, so the plan goes, this will help me to build an awesome platform that helps me sell a bucket-load of books…
🙂 Time will tell, there is much work to be done…
Photo credit: Florian Klauer