I have a new nonfiction book in the 2022 Write Stuff Storybundle this week (the bundle is only until March 10 or so). While you might not have heard of some of the writers, I’m sure you’ve heard of Lawrence Block. He’s a multi-award-winning mystery writer. His contribution to this bundle is a memoir.
The biggest message I got from that book is: Keep showing up. Do the work and keep at it.
That’s how you get a long-lasting and successful career.
My first writing teacher, Jerry Weinberg, also had a long-lasting and successful career. He continued to show up. Do the work and continue to show up.
Here’s what I find so interesting: to be successful, you do need to continue to show up. But you don’t need to do the exact same work all the time.
Jerry and I had a conversation about this. He said he did the same work. I claimed he didn’t—that when I looked at his books, I saw his interests change. That allowed him to change his entree into consulting. (So did his workshop, PSL.)
We laughed together.
I suspect that’s the piece about longevity. You don’t have to do the same thing to achieve success. I might even say you can’t do the same thing year in and year out—because the world changes and moves on.
Create Longevity with Change
I’m not sure anyone can be an “overnight” success. I am a successful writer and consultant by my vision of success. It didn’t take me long to find enough clients to build and sustain a successful consulting career.
However, my books often find their audience “long” after I publish them. (Traditional publishers often judge success by how many copies a book sells in its first three months.) Some of my books found their audience three or four years after I published them. Is that success? I think so.
The more we do (in any field), the more we show other people our work, the more successful we can be. And the longer our careers can be.
We do the work and show up to do it, again and again.
How can we change how we show up? I choose to write more and different books, to offer different workshops, and to continue to change the mix of what I offer.
What do you do? Where have you chosen to change—or to reinforce what you currently do?
That’s a question we all choose to answer. We choose for our own lives. We might need a little courage to experiment and take that first step. But, we are the only ones who can answer the show up question for us.
That’s the question this week: Longevity and success: how and when do you choose to show up?