About a million years ago, I received a gift from a fellow writer, a book called Walking on Alligators by Susan Shaughnessy. I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Shaughnessy, but the book is subtitled A Book of Meditations for Writers, and it has a format similar to a lot of self-help/meditation books: each page features an interesting provocative quote from a well-known writer, a section about how and what we writers do, and then a kind of affirmation, e.g., Today I will write as honestly as I can, or Today I will honor my writing time, and so on.

I’ve never been big on the whole idea of writer’s block (do dentists get dentist block?), but I’ve had periods where I felt uninspired, and other periods where I got “stuck” in a story I was working on and had to go work on something else for a while. This book is a good resource for writers when they need a little inspiration, or even a good kick in the seat of the pants. Some of the readings are great, some aren’t so great, and a few are just plain weird.

Today’s quote comes from Neil Postman, an author I should probably have read by now, but admittedly haven’t. I like the quote, and decided to use it for an image post here today. Without giving it much thought, I decided to use a mandala for the image in the background.

Then, like a lot of provocative quotes, this one led me to muse about culture and politics, about the sacred and the profane. I started to go down a rabbit hole that I honestly don’t have time for today, but I still wanted to get the post out there and have it available for comment. I think the most important thing it led me to, in my short musing time, is the notion that we need great stories. I’ve written about this before, and will probably write about it again, but “narratives of transcendent origin and power” like those that drove so much of Native American culture are difficult to find in current American culture, at least in popular culture. I hope my own efforts – Brothers’ Hand, Jana, and Miles of Files – have some of that much-needed transcendence.

Another type of story that has quite a bit of power is the client testimonial. I’ve never really used many of those, although I am starting to accumulate them. Of course, I have 4-star and 5-star book reviews, and those are testimonials. But if you’ve got a service-based business and you want to gain more clients, telling your previous or current clients’ success stories can really deliver value. It gets people’s interest and shows that you’ve got what it takes to do that for potential clients.

So there’s my lesson for the day: tell your stories, and tell your clients’ success stories. In the end, what else do we have?

platform

Platform-Building for Authors

Last year I wrote an article on LinkedIn on platform-building for authors, a frequent topic for my speaking gigs and for online posts in general. Today I thought I'd revisit some of that for the blog, discussing how speaking can help an author. Building a platform...

Books As Extended Business Cards

As I mentioned on here a couple weeks back, my freelance copywriting gigs feed my addiction to writing fiction, not vice-versa. However, my copywriting business is just part of a larger vision for Sahno Publishing, and that's a publishing company that provides...

Support Veterans By Supporting The Arts

Back in December 2015, I launched Sahno Publishing on a shoestring budget with little fanfare. I did, however, put out a couple of press releases, one of which dealt with my plans to give a portion of the proceeds of all book sales to charity. Going full force into a...

Coming Soon: Rides From Strangers

I don't typically recommend blatant self-promotion in blog posts, though I do have a post here somewhere entitled Blatant Self-Promotion...ha! This week, however, I'm getting excited about my upcoming release, and decided it's time to talk about it again. I thought...

What a Character

I was recently reading another author's blog, and saw a post about the writing process, and in particular the naming of characters. I wondered, Are people really interested in reading about this? I couldn't help thinking that only writers are so interested in other...

Let’s Get Personal: Why Do I Write?

I’ve been on a marketing campaign for the past couple of weeks, and missed my deadline for this blog last Monday…so I just plain skipped a week. Those of you who know me are probably a bit surprised. I’m pretty particular about getting things done on time. I’ve always...

Are Authors Typically Obsessive-Compulsive?

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in author blogs toward the confessional. After all, no one wants to read about your characters all the time, and God knows that readers don’t want to read about marketing. They want to know something about you. Happy to oblige. Although...

Short Story Contest

As we head into September, I'm struck by how quickly this year has flown by. I have a radio interview in two days and a book fair next month, and I'm sure there will be much more happening as I go full bore with marketing campaigns for Miles of Files, Jana, and...

Writers Kickin’ It Old-School

Today was one of those days when I thought I might have to start kickin' it old-school. Not even halfway through the afternoon, my brand new modem/router went on the fritz. Suddenly, I couldn't work. My day was already well-planned out, with social media posts for...
self-marketers

Authors As Self-Marketers

A couple years back, in an article about self-publishing, I wrote the following: If you’re an author with a traditional publishing contract, you don’t really have to be an entrepreneur as such; the publishing company does the marketing and PR for you, though you have...