I’m Opening A Gate
A journey awaits
Dan Blank’s Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience was released on Tuesday. I’ve had the honor of being a part of Dan’s launch team and have read a few drafts of this book. My one-word review: Amazing.
Many people feel the drive to do creative work, but get overwhelmed by the process of connecting with an audience. They follow “best practices” in marketing that never seem to pan out, don’t produce results, and make them feel lost and oftentimes, frustrated. Be the Gateway offers a powerful way to have an impact.
If you want to share your voice and inspire people with your writing, art, craft, or creative idea, you have to be the gateway for them. Instead of throwing “products” out into the marketplace, you open them up to a new way of looking at the world, of knowing themselves, and connecting with others. You unlock new experiences for them — not just through what you create, but through the unique way in which you share it with the world.
Too often we think about the creative process as being separate from the marketing process. Instead, view them as the same. Replace the inclination to “promote” with the desire to share and engage. How and why you create is a story — and is the best asset you can use to truly engage people. Be the Gateway shows you how to use that gift with joy and confidence.
I’m a Dan Fan. I met Dan in his online course, “Get Read,” in October 2014 and it’s entirely his fault, I mean his credit, that I started a website. I was so hesitant to start a website. What would I write about? Who cares what I have to say? I would feel so exposed. Dan gave me this advice,
~”Teri, there are a billion websites out there. No one will know it exists until you tell them. So experiment and when you’re comfortable, tell people about it.”
So that’s what I did, and I haven’t looked back, and I have continued to experiment. And gratefully, you’ve each been following my experiments. Now, with the help of Dan’s book and his practical steps, I’d like to hone in on what I will continue to write about. What I’ve been doing wrong, what I’ve been doing right. And most importantly, where am I creating the most resonance WITH YOU — which gate am I opening and who will want to walk through it with me.
If I look back at my website and the posts I wrote, my journey looks like this:
- At first, I only shared stories from my memoir clients. I was, in effect, hiding behind them.
- I started to share my philosophies about life but decided I didn’t enjoy doing this because I’m still learning and they didn’t involve stories.
- I began interviewing people.
- Next, I started sharing more about my projects and by doing so, figured out I could do a Tiger Drive Scholarship – I wasn’t hiding as much anymore. This felt rewarding.
- I decided that from time to time, we all need a laugh, so I started sharing “What Makes You Laugh?” posts. Selfishly, I love these because whenever I send one out, many of you send me back comics you have found that make you laugh. One subscriber even mails one to me via the USPS – I love seeing his return address in my mailbox.
- A writer friend, Brian Peyton Joyner, contacted me and he challenged me to stop hiding behind my voice. This has been a game changer, I think, because I’ve started to experiment more and more with sharing my personal stories, and in doing so, writing about topics that are more aligned with the novels I’m writing. The last thing I want to do is gain your faith in my website content only to blindside you with the stories in my novels. I need to align my content.
- And within a few weeks, I’m going to start sharing Dear Me letters–letters people have written to their younger selves – they are wonderful.
Over the next week, I’m going to be rewriting my About Me page, and as I write a newsletter, I’d love to hear from you:
- Do you want to see more on the particular topic?
- What resonates with you?
- What do you wish I would do less/more of?
Finally, as a writer, it’s easy to write about writing but this is not a blog about writing, but would you be interested in learning more about my daily writing life and how I’m identifying my gateway? For example, even if not part of the newsletter, would you like a link or status update on my projects on a weekly basis? One thing I’m considering in the future is creating my own launch team. For example, when I finish this round of edits of Tiger Drive, I might ask people if they’d be willing to read the first fifty pages and tell me if they are interested in reading more. Or maybe I would work on my pitch and book blurb and ask for your feedback.
In the meantime, if you are creative in any way, or want to be creative, I highly recommend Dan Blank’s book, Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience.
Until next time, thank you for being you.