TED Talks. Who hasn’t seen one? Who hasn’t loved one? Well, I am a TED Talk junkie, and yes, that includes TEDx. I can’t count the number of talks I have watched. But I can tell you the talk I have watched repeatedly for the last year — Alexis Ohanian “How to make a splash in social media”.
It might be the shortest talk I have ever watched (about 3 min.), but it has made a huge splash in my creative thinking. While Alexis, Reddit.com co-founder, was speaking specifically about social media, his thesis seemed applicable to authorpreneurs. In his closing, Alexis says,
“One of the great lessons Greenpeace learned is that it’s OK to lose control, OK to take yourself a little less seriously, given that, even though it’s a very serious cause, you could ultimately achieve your goal. That’s the final message I want to share: you can do well online. … If you want to succeed you’ve got to be OK to lose control.”
Did you cringe at the phrase “lose control”? The first time, I heard it, I cringed and squirmed. One of my personality strengths describes me as serious, forward-thinking, risk-averse, and cautious. And I am those things, and I do them so well. It is one of the reasons I get hired. However, life proves to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. So, some seasons and some times require authorpreneurs to lose control.
How does an authorpreneur lose control?
- Create a plan: First things first, you have to have a plan to lose control of. Map out your book writing process and book marketing strategy early in the process. As an authorpreneur, you need to know where you are going and how you will get there. Otherwise, you don’t have the means to lose control because literally, you are already lost. Check out my #WinninginWriting Checklist as a guide to get started.
- Walk out the plan: #JustWrite your way along the process. Put out content to your ideal reader to receive their feedback. Probe them for earnest responses. Give them permission to say:
- what they do not like
- what they do not understand
- what they would change
- what they liked most and want to hear more about
- Take a pause-and-reflect session: Pull out your plan and layout your feedback. Without judgment or dismissal, take in what your ideal reader is saying about your content. OK, here it comes: Be willing to lose control. Thoughtfully consider if your plan may warrant some adjustments. Tap into your inner circle to help you think through any decisions.
- Repeat: If you find areas in the plan that needed tweaking, tweak away. Then, get back on the #JustWrite path.
This “lose control” approach could take longer than you originally planned. I get it—I love a nice, solid deadline. However, ask yourself: Do I want to put out a book “on time” or do I want to publish a book of substance? There is no right or wrong answer. As always, authorpreneurs must do what is best for them. I encourage we also do what is best for our ideal reader.