Tag Archives: challenges

WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO!

Almost as soon as I started writing, some 3 1/2 years ago, I started this blog. In many ways it has been the backbone of my writing. There was an accountability to posting every Sunday with information about what was happening with my writing.

Now, as the excitement of all the things I blogged about here are actually happening, it’s a struggle to find time to do one of the things that got me to where I was trying to go for so long.

With the newfound success of The Bourbon Show, my podcast, and the increasing popularity of my email magazine Bourbon Zeppelin, I simply don’t have time to do the things I once was doing.

Changing things up do not come without self-doubt and worry. My career has always been in sales. Once you get some big accounts, you shouldn’t quit prospecting and doing the basic things you always did to get you there otherwise you end up in trouble if you lose one of those big accounts.

For that reason, I’m not quitting anything, but I am scaling back. The following four changes are steps I am making to ensure I am putting out the best products I can for those who are fans of my work:

  1. This blog is going from a weekly posting to sporadic. I’m just going to do it as time allows/check-in when there is something important going on.
  2. My other blog, O.P.U.S., the same thing. I will do an occasional interview and post it, but I’m not going to actively look to adhere to a schedule.
  3. Currently, I publish a newsletter about my writing 6 times a year. I’m going to publish an issue in December and then scale back to the publishing it from time-to-time.
  4. Since I started writing I always had 2, 3, 4, 5… many books I was working on at a time. I still want to write, but one book at a time is enough.

Why now?

What’s changed?

While there is always just an overall sense of always sinking, there was a recent incident, though, that totally could have been avoided with more time to dedicate to focusing on making more things better instead of doing so much.

I had a few phone calls from the good people at Independent Stave Company (ISC)… the barrel manufacturers used by much of the bourbon industry. Just tremendous individuals that run a fine company. I met with three of their people via teleconference. I have a podcast interview set-up with their CEO very soon. I worked with one of their key people on an article for the October 1 issue of Bourbon Zeppelin.

It got published a week ago Saturday. It went out at 7:00 a.m. my time. By 7:04 I got an email from one of my contacts there. I was excited. They finally got to see the article I put together for them.

Instead the note was, “You called us International Stave Company. Can you fix that?”

No, I could not.

Once again, the staff there was great. These people couldn’t be nicer and were very understanding. We’re still good with the interview for the podcast… all of that. I was crushed, though. Twenty-five people are writers for that publication. All of us work for free because we love bourbon and like the idea of promoting it as this group project. We want it to be professional. We want it to have the respect of our friends, family and the industry.

And… I’m calling one of the biggest players in the game by the wrong name.

That can’t happen. Well, at least I have to ensure it can’t happen again.

Look, I know it was a mistake. Mistakes can be made… even if I make these changes. I simply don’t feel I had myself in the best situation to succeed by trying to do to much and I’m taking some steps to correct it.

Again, not going away… just trying to be better… at everything.

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Write Steve Write! is an occasional blog by author Steve Akley. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

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AM I AT THE DOORSTEP?

When I see the tears of an Olympic athlete in the medal ceremony, I get it.

I don’t think the broadcasters do.

First of all, I love the Olympics. This is an Olympic year and best of all it’s a Summer Olympics year! (I love those even more than the Winter Olympics.) I can’t say I’m a fan of how the TV coverage goes with the Olympics, though. They turn the event into a drama where each person’s grandmother having just died as they were boarding the plane to head out to the Olympic hosting city.

I just like the competition.

The idea that if you can beat your competitors at this event you are the best in the world, at that moment in time, in your chosen activity. It’s powerful to think about it in that way, but it’s true… somewhat true… at least as truthful as we could ever get (Trust me, I know there are other factors here which doesn’t make the statement “best in the world 100% absolute truth” but while you may be able to talk in theory how you could make the Olympics better, in reality this is as good as it gets right now to benchmark competition and that’s what I’m talking about today.)

The idea of being the best in the world, standing on a pedestal with your country’s national anthem playing… you representing your entire nation… “We are the best in the world at the 200m,” that’s powerful stuff.

That’s certainly a component number one to those tears you see. The media gets that.

Yes, grandma’s death as our athlete boarded the plane is the second component (or whatever tragedy has bestowed them). The media devours this aspect. As the music starts playing, the tears flowing, Jim Nance reminding us, “Her grandmother died just as Delta Flight 322 pulled back from the gate. Her final words were, ‘Win the gold Lonnie.'”

I think the biggest reason for the tears is what they don’t talk about. It’s a lifetime of preparation. It’s getting up at 3:30 every morning to start training at 4:00 a.m. It’s skipping holiday treats to stay on the program. It’s prioritizing training over normal socialization for a young person. Not being able to go out with friends and have fun… a sole purpose and focus on being the best in the world at something. That moment has arrived as the anthem is cued.

The dream is here.

The dream is now.

In my own way, I believe I am taking a large step towards realizing my dreams this coming week. On Friday, February 12, my reformatted newsletter comes out. It’s been a large focus of what I’ve been doing over the last four months.

Over these past four months I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to forge a path of “Where do I go from here?” I’ve got a fairly large catalog of work. I’ve got a decent-sized fanbase. I even have a hit on my hands with my book Bourbon Mixology which continues to sell well.

My plan to better engage my readers and social media followers starts with this edition of SAP News, my newsletter. I’m introducing what I’m calling a “magazine style” format… not in look, but content. Each issue will have original content: interviews, product tastings/demos, showcasing the talents of fellow artists, contests, free book giveaways. My old content was simply to provide an update with what was going on with my writing.

I feel like this shift in approach is going to be real big for me. It’s going to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the publication of SAP News, and in-turn, my writing.

Of course, you never know. The 200 meter race for instance, starts out with 50+ racers at the start of the Olympics. Through qualifying rounds they narrow the field to eight before the start of the final heat.

Don’t all eight, or 50+ for that matter, think it’s going to be them?

Don’t all of them presume this Olympic is going to be their moment?

Their culmination of a lifetime in training.

Their time as the best in the world?

Their final tribute to their dead NoNa?

No matter what happens on Friday, I’m good. I’ve got a whole business plan lined out for 2016 that I will adhere to whether Friday’s SAP News draws unprecedented interest in my work or it’s met with a collective yawn.

If it does generate a buzz, who knows, I might even shed a tear.

I miss you NoNa!

_______________________

Next week I’ll reveal the people who have an influence on my interview style.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

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