WEEK 22 - #VoidDeckWriter: Writing as a Career and the Business of Humanity

Week 22 with 30 more of these newsletters to go. I will be looking at writing as a career, how business is meant to be human, and most importantly, how this affected myself as an author / strategist. 

Week 22 with 30 more of these newsletters to go. I don’t know about you, but I’m loving this habit of just writing out my thoughts in this space and sharing it with all of you. I hope you’re all liking this little corner of a world that I’m putting together. (And yes, do let me know if you have any questions or feedback, or leave a comment - I’d like to know what you all would like to read about as well.)

I’ve been rather focussed on insights in the last few weeks, especially with fewer than 100 days left to the end of my day job contract. What is it they say about timing and patterns? The seven-year itch? 

In the first seven years of what I considered the start of my career, I was basically searching for alignment based on avoidance. I knew what I didn’t want and so went for jobs that did not require responsibilities in areas I didn’t like, while I wrote stories I wanted (and stories I didn’t want) on the side. Now coming to the middle of my 6th year of the second batch of seven years in my working life, I have greater knowledge of my alignment - one of authenticity (I want to be aligned with this), than avoidance. 

Having worked (now) more than a decade in various roles in various types of publishing and content strategy, on top of my fictional pursuits, this take brings more encouragement and energy. That said, it doesn’t mean I have major confidence in pursuing this career alignment without fear or head-on. 

Capitalism and Society are tricky circumstances - neutral, but they can make you feel A LOT - doubt, frustration, anxiety, the works. How did I try to move past that? For me, it was a lot of education - Masterminds, Podcasts, Courses. And while techniques and networks helped, the guiding principle behind many entrepreneurial guides stayed pretty much tactical - set Call to Action reminders often, set easy purchase systems in place. All these are good and well, but I needed something that made business, or a working career feel more intuitive. Why? Because culture eats strategy for breakfast (And I’m a strategist).

Enter the LITO Podcast. 

Some of you will know that I have just entered a Singaporean-based (local for me) Mastermind of creative entrepreneurs and mindset workers this year. Their podcast, the LITO Podcast, was where I found some of the greatest advice, regardless of the kind of business you’re doing or want to do. So why? What is so special about them apart from their “woo-woo”, “philosophical” mindset tips that us “practical” people have no time for?

I won’t get into the philosophical parts this week, but I will be looking at writing as a career, how business is meant to be human, and most importantly, how this affected myself as an author / strategist. 

01 “Marketing” is telling people what you have to offer, consistently

“I don’t like to market myself” is a common phrase I hear among starting entrepreneurs and veteran creatives. Some even balk at the word “marketing”, equating it to some sleazy con that separates people from their hard-earned cash. And some equate marketing to selling out - after all, we’re ARTISTES!, what is this talk about mArKeTiNg, selling ourselves out for mere money? 

Regardless of how you look at the term “Marketing”, the facts are there - Marketing helps you generate revenue. And if you are not earning money, you don’t have a business. 

That said, that doesn’t mean ‘marketing’ has to continue behind this stumbling block in your entrepreneurial / creative career. Instead of thinking of marketing as marketing, strip it down to its most basic function -

To tell people what you do and offer. 

And what was said in the LITO Podcast, Episode 74, is this - ‘Marketing’ is just telling people your truths and offerings consistently. 

Now, I can hear people going - “HARH?! But I don’t want to sound like a pushy salesperson - so damn irritating leh!”

That brings me to my next point...

02 To better overcome ‘creative blocks’ to Point 01, clarity is needed

Clarity in what you’re offering.

Clarity in how you want your clients to feel after purchasing your product or service. 

Clarity on the kind of results you want to get - money and beyond. 

Clarity on your own belief in your product or service. 

Clarity on the people you want to reach. 

And no, “As many people as possible”, “Anyone who is willing to pay me money for my nonsense”, and “General Public” are not target audiences. 

Let yourself sit with your doubts, concerns, and questions for a bit - at least 10-15 minutes, don’t let yourself get off easy - and clarify your various blocks. Something like this may help:

I want to talk about my book this week, even though it’s still a work-in-progress >> WHY? >> Because I reached a point in the manuscript that is really exciting and I want to share the excitement with people who enjoy my stories >> HOW? >> I know that at least one person in my audience appreciates games and participation - I’m going to release a series of “Choose Your Own” polls that ultimately reveal this manuscript milestone in the story. >> POLLS? >> …

You get the drift. 

But Jo, “ONE person?” That doesn’t sound very profitable. 

I’m glad you asked, because...

03 Business is human, and authenticity is key

“It’s not personal, it’s just business” now tells me two things - the person who said that cares more about the profit than who they’re serving, or the organisation ‘behind’ the person who said that has “general public” as their target audience. And as mentioned earlier, “general public” is not a target audience. 

Because if you try to reach everyone (a.k.a. anyone or the general public), you are reaching no one. Or at least, spending a lot of resources for a rather low rate of return (if not in sales, then in engagement). 

However, target audiences on their own can be huge or overwhelming as well. And sometimes, we can overthink while trying to get the “ideal audience” language just right. And that brings about another creative barrier. 

Well, what if I said (or rather, LITO, Modern Creative Podcast, and many other creative entrepreneurial podcasts would say) that to come up with content that speaks to your ideal audience, you only need to speak your truth to one person? 

Talking to a group of people may seem like a “necessary evil”, but talking to one person who is just as excited as you about this one thing is not so difficult, right? So start from talking to this one person first.

But why just this one person?

Because contrary to popular belief, business is human. It’s the voluntary trading of goods and services from one skilled person to another person in need. It’s a relationship built on trust, values, and love for the people you want to help. 

Trust, values, and love - all aspects based on one key component - Authenticity. 

If there’s anything I’d like for anyone to take away from this newsletter, it is that authenticity is key, whether it is with living or with business. Being clear and honest with your intentions and intentions behind your goals will definitely help with your message to the world. 

And at the very least, clarity and authenticity with your intentions helps you go into whatever venture you want to with your eyes open and your heart a lot more peaceful - E.g. didn’t get a sold out first print in the first two weeks of my book’s release? I’m at peace with that because I just wanted the book out to prove to myself that I wrote a story I truly believed in.  

So that’s it from me! See you all next week!

P/S - Thank you for making it all the way here for this long issue. If you want to read more about how I see my career as an author, you can check out one of my earlier issues here

I don’t really have a lot of questions to ask everyone this week, but what is “authenticity” to you? Share them in the comments - I’d like to know =) 

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