I was asked last night how I managed to become such an Internet “guru” in the garden world and I confess I almost snorted my beer up through my nose when I started to laugh at the exact wrong moment. No, it’s not a pretty picture at all, I admit it. But the question intrigued me so here’s my answer (suitably cleaned up of beer)
I read those who know what they’re talking about.
Seriously. I read. I counted the number of books I’ve read so far this year and I’m averaging one every 1.5 weeks – most of those are non-fiction. I’ve read two on selling on Amazon this year, two on Google+, three on promoting ebooks, and three on writing itself and that’s just for starters in the online world and doesn’t include books dealing with the offline world such as Gore’s “Future”.
I’m also working my way through recommended books from lists such as “Brain Pickings” (thanks for the Southern writers list) and ground breakers as H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories (the first writer to treat aliens as aliens and not humans-from-another-planet) and “Lilith’s Brood” from Octavia Butler (human-alien interaction). Toss in a Marshall Mcluhan (“Probes”) again, and a dozen or so summer-reading best-sellers and you have the basics.
To that add a daily reading list of respected online writers – from Godin to Shatzkin, Konrath and Brooks. Sprinkle with SEO News, Google News, Wired, Mashable, and another 10 or so tech/future/computer/net/writing sources and you have my daily reading list in tech and writing.
When I want to learn something, I go to the experts in that area.
When I needed to know about Internet launches, I paid $2000. for a course on Marketing Launches. When I needed to know about breaking into Youtube, I went to the experts and $400 and 100 videos later, I’m approaching 2 million views and climbing fast after a brief hiatus in production last year. When I needed to know … I suspect you get the idea.
Not big enough most of the time, not big enough by half. But I dream what the Net could be like and what I might do on it. I dream of castles in the air that I can inhabit in my imagination and I try to make them come alive. I dream of ways to pass along information in ways readers can grab and use right away. I dream of being comfortable in my own skin.
I never stop dreaming and the day I do is the first day of beginning to die.
I Make Mistakes
And this is the big one. After I’ve read something, I try it. And most of the time I screw it up or it doesn’t work for me or… Well, you get the picture, shit happens. I’m not even going to begin to list the online-tech-toys I’ve played with, made work, failed spectacularly, made money with, lost money with and learned – boundaries pushed through or walls run headlong into.
I’ve screwed up so many times I’m no longer afraid to make a mistake. And that’s one of the big secrets to my success – I take risks.
I won’t pretend I like making them however, that’s a lesson I never want to learn.
But You Never See
Folks don’t see the long days of writing, the focus of setting goals and meeting them. Whether it’s 2000 finished words a day writing or X number of pages, or X proposals a month or videos. You don’t see the intense competitive drive to get it done.
You see the results. The traffic or stuff I do – never the daily grind of doing it. I work at it and I work hard bringing a single minded obsession with doing it the best I can at that time and then moving forward.
And you never see how much I really care about what I do.
And that my friends is why I’m a garden internet guru.