The Writer’s Lens – E46: A 2019 Confessional (With Goals)

It’s hard to believe 2018 has already come and gone. So with 2019 here, it’s time to do that age-old favorite: make a confession.

Wait, you mean resolutions, right? Well, not really.

Whenever a new year comes around, we are quick to make lists of what we want to change in the year ahead. We make big – and small – life-altering goals that we hope and pray will come to fruition in the year ahead. And though I’m no stranger to doing such a thing, I thought it might be good to look at the year behind me too. Where did I “miss the mark” on my creative goals? Was I following my own advice? The advice of others? Turns out I have some work to do (don’t we all?).

There were certainly some wins and some misses from 2018. So in this episode, I take a closer look at where things went well and not-so-well as I look ahead to take on 2019.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

2018 “Wins”:

  • Podcast still alive
  • New logo
  • Downloads only increasing
  • Journaling
  • Reading more

2018 “Misses”:

  • Missed launch date – The Shadow Of Mars
    • 1st reason: I backed myself into a corner creatively
    • 2nd reason: Not at peace with product
  • Less interviews

2019 “Looking Ahead”: 

  • Re-purposing The Writer’s Lens – storytelling is paramount
  • Guests (new and old)
  • Keep cultivating good habits
  • Hitting that deadline for The Shadow Of Mars

The “Pens of Steel” Group Discussion Special: Making A Digital Footprint

What is a digital footprint?

In part 3 of this “Pens of Steel” group discussion, we wrap up our conversation about digital voices and what each of us is doing in our pursuits to hone our unique digital footprints.

As this is part three, be sure to check out our earlier discussions (if you haven’t already) by clicking the links below.

Part 1: What Is A Digital Voice?

Part 2: Competing In The Sea Of Digital Voices

Brian Del Turco, owner/operator of LifeVoiceQuest

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

Willie Scott, co-founder of Better Than Blended and T.K.I. Publishing

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

Brent Mclaughlin, writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

 

The “Pens of Steel” Group Discussion Special: Competing in the Sea of Voices

The Internet is a sea of voices and narratives.

In part 2 of this group discussion special, the Pens continue the dialogue on “what is a digital voice” – while transitioning into another frequently asked question: how do we compete with so many other messages? Should we be focused on beating other voices? Or should we just focus on our own message?

Clockwise from top to bottom: Josh “J.C.L.” Faltot, Brian Del Turco, Willie Scott, and Brent Mclaughlin – The “Pens of Steel”

Jump back in with Part 2 and just in case you missed Part 1, you’re in luck – you can click here to check it out and get back up to speed.

And for more info on the rest of the group, here are some links below:

Brian Del Turco, owner / operator of LifeVoiceQuest

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

 

Willie Scott, co-founder of Better Than Blended and T.K.I. Publishing

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

 

Brent Mclaughlin, writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

The “Pens of Steel” Group Discussion Special: What Is A Digital Voice? PART 1

Welcome to the Rise of Digital Voices!

In case you didn’t already know, the Internet is FILLED with competing messages. Thanks to the onset of social media platforms, more people than ever have the ability to share their unique voice with the rest of the world. And in doing so, can create online communities where similar minds (and interests) can congregate. To share ideas. To share insights. To share individual stories.

This is the Age of Digital Voices – a time when the gatekeepers of information have been usurped by the end user.

From left to right clockwise: Josh “J.C.L.” Faltot, Brian Del Turco, Willie Scott, and Brent Mclaughlin – The “Pens of Steel”

In this very special episode of The Writer’s Lens, I sit down with three other creative voices: Brian Del Turco of Jesus Smart: The Podcast and owner/operator of LifeVoiceQuest; Willie Scott co-founder of Better Than Blended and TKI Publishing; and Brent Mclaughlin, aspiring writer. These three gentlemen make up our Cleveland creative group otherwise known as the “Pens of Steel” and for the first time, we are recording our conversation concerning this growing phenomenon of the social media landscape.

This will be the first of a three-part discussion on the topic so stay tuned for more to follow in the coming weeks.

And for more info on my fellow conversationalists, here are some links below:

Brian Del Turco

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

 

Willie Scott

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

 

Brent Mclaughlin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

 

Source: Podcast Link Here

Support for “The Writer’s Lens”

If you’ve been wondering how to support my new podcast, The Writer’s Lens, then there’s a few ways to do so:

Listen

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the growth of any program relies on its viewership. More listens generate more opportunities for other potential listeners to find out about The Writer’s Lens. And don’t worry, there are no quizzes or exams waiting at the end of any episode…maybe.

Share and / or Subscribe

Sharing is caring. Well, unless you’re five and your parents make you do it. Either way, sharing the podcast can make others aware of what The Writer’s Lens can offer. Especially for those actively seeking the kind of content we are working on and could be of benefit to them. Have a creative friend? Someone who loves storytelling? Someone who wants to hear from entrepreneurs and creatively-minded folks? It’s encouraging to know there’s a community out there that can help you. And on that note, I’ll add that as therapeutic or fun as this can be for me personally, I’d love to see growth in other people’s lives too. The gain we get is the gain we give.

Comment / E-Mail

This may be the most frightening aspect of social media: asking for comments. We all know how treacherous the Internet highways can be so why ask for feedback? Well, because engagement creates opportunity for growth. There are always good topics I’d like to do, but may not be aware people are looking for them to be discussed. Seeing how my audience is responding helps me key into what’s working. Or what isn’t. So again, if you like what we are doing – let us know. Don’t like we are doing? Let us know that too. Gently.

Support Though Monetary Donation

There are always costs associated with doing something. Be it the time we spend or the materials we require. So, if you aren’t always able to share, subscribe or the like, you can always provide a monetary donation to help The Writer’s Lens keep moving forward, but even more so, enable this podcast to get better than what it was yesterday. Not to mention (but I will), there are some cool rewards available for those who give above and beyond.

You can check out those rewards by going here. And again, you can find The Writer’s Lens on Podbean, iTunes, and even YouTube.

Thanks in advance and talk with you all again soon!

– J.C.L.

 

2017, A Few Notes

Ah, yes. Reflection time. Every blogger / online commentator’s opportunity to throw together a good list of “me moments”. One last shameless self-plug before the new year rings in. And since I’m not beyond shameless self-promotion, I did want to talk about a few things. Some worthy of note for progression’s sake. Some not-so-much but certainly worth mentioning.

So, here goes:

Worthy of note: I started a podcast. I have a small background working in radio and looking back, I’m sad I didn’t pursue it way back when. The Writer’s Lens has opened a lot of healthy dialogue and a lot of doors too. Not to mention (but I will) I was able to start the podcast because of the generous gift of a microphone.

Worthy of note: I got connected with many other creatives. And I was able to support them via my podcast while keeping up with them throughout the year.

Not-so-great: I got really sick. I didn’t share this publicly, but I went through a strange time this year where I became ill for a really long time. In short, I was having stomach issues for a couple months and things got a little scary for a while. I don’t write this as a please-pity-me moment, but rather, acknowledging how much this put my 2017 plans on hold. When 2017 started, I was hoping to finish my second book, The Shadow of Mars, and simultaneously start a few other projects. But, all that changed right around the end of January. Creatively, I was brought to a standstill. I found my downtime filled with anxiety rather than freedom and it really took a toll on me. Thankfully, I got pain-free in summer and just in time too, as that’s when the gift of a microphone came my way (to do that whole podcasting thing).

Worthy of note: I grew bolder. Not just in my creative pursuits, but in my faith too. This year my faith was tested more than any other previous year. But instead of retreating into a safe space, I learned how to present myself in a manner that was both gracious and firm. By no means did I master the technique, but I know I made leaps and bounds in this area.

Not-so-great: Social media drained me. And I’m pretty sure it drained a lot of others too. Since I’m a self-published author and Internet surfer, I check in to social media daily. However, I didn’t do it as much as I used to (which is probably a good thing according to current studies on the topic). The angriest voices became dominant voices. Or the ones who were most controversial. Or the ones who were the most divisive. That being said, I found that dipping out – even when I didn’t plan on it – turned out to be a good decision. Every time.

Worthy of note: I got handier. This is not necessarily a creative endeavor, but I wanted to make note of it. Well, maybe it is. Let’s just say I can do more than change lightbulbs around the house now.

Worthy of note: Lastly – to keep this post relatively short – 2018 holds potential. For anyone, really. Hope is a powerful ally. It’s an ally we forget we have when things don’t go as planned. My faith in Christ is something I’ve had to learn to grow in as I’m such a cerebral guy. When I find out about something new – and it interests me – I dive in deep. I find as much information on the topic as I can. And I don’t rest until I come to some kind of conclusive end on the subject. One which I can stand on. Faith is not always as black and white as that and contrary to what some may think, this does not make it illogical or foolish. Rather, it builds a new awareness in us.

Here’s to 2018 and learning to grasp onto hope – even more than I did in 2017.

I want what you have; I want to do it better; and I want you to fail

Within the Ten Commandments, there is one in particular that focuses on our thoughts. And that commandment says this: “Do not covet.”

Depending on whom you ask, this may or may not be one of the richer and philosophically deep commandments among the bunch. Not as straightforward as “do not murder” but just as thought-provoking as “you shall have no other gods before me”, I’d argue. Those three little words give us some major insight into our thought life. How we interpret other people’s successes. How we measure ourselves against our neighbors. How we relish the thought of usurping another’s ideas and then watching as they fall.

If there’s one thing social media has taught me, it’s that looks can be deceiving. A person may tout their perfect relationship one day only to break up horribly the next. Tis a fickle place, the Internet. But, when applied to online entrepreneurship – like, self-publishing – the journey to start a following can be demoralizing. Especially when you are witness to all the other success stories that are out there.

Such becomes the tendency to compromise ourselves. Throwing money at fruitless ventures. Or adopting habits that don’t work for us. I can attest to buying business cards that didn’t make much sense for me to do so.

These are the pitfalls to avoid. But, even as I type this, I understand the difficulty in doing just that. Because we are always comparing, sizing up, and measuring ourselves by the ones we wish we could be like. I have found during my own journey that one needs to establish a healthy balance of. And even more importantly, establish a mindset that doesn’t revolve around getting everything that think is necessary.

Rather, seeing what others might desire and then trying to help them achieve it. More on that in this week’s episode.

 

The Writer’s Lens – On YouTube now!

I’m happy to announce every one of my podcast episodes can now be found on YouTube.

So not only are my interviews on YouTube, but every one of my individual episodes too.

And if you’re someone who doesn’t like doing the YouTube thing – no worries – you can still find me at iTunes and Podbean.

Because not everyone needs a visual to go with their audio, of course.