Demian Farnworth, Gurney Norman, and You

Demian Farnworth says he got the quote from Cory Doctorow. Cory says it came from Tim O’Reilly. I didn’t chase it back any further. Any way you cut it, though, the thought rings true – besides, Demian and I were speaking about a different twist to the idea anyway.

In 2002, O’Reilly, in a remarkably succinct treatise on file sharing said, “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.”

Demian said, “The toughest job a writer has to face is not how to get money, but how to overcome obscurity. You must get noticed, if you want to get paid.”

And that’s my first point about Demian. He’s a stand-up guy. He’s not trying to sneak affiliate links past you, or work constantly at pitching his newest book. He’s just Demian. And he’s a darned good guy. End of story.

Beginning of the story

Demian Farnworth on Roadturn

The D-man

I first met the D-man (he said I could call him that, so don’t wince) several years back. I came across a blog post authored by him, left a comment, and was surprised to get a quick and personal answer to my question.

That’s another thing about Demian. He’s available. He doesn’t hide behind a wall of virtual assistants. You ask the D-man something, and he’ll respond … personally.

I was thrilled to see him hire on at Copyblogger. It’s like when two good friends get together and hit it off. You knew they were meant for one another. Demian Farnworth and Copyblogger are a really good fit.

And Demian has found a way to beat that enemy of every writer: Obscurity.

Guest Blogging works

“Guest blogging is like baseball,” he says. “The guys playing in the minor leagues are working their butts off, but they’re getting exposure and they are developing their muscles.”

Of course, he’s right.

I like to take my boy out to watch the Idaho Falls Chukars (a Kansas City Royals affiliate) play ball. Jose Canseco got his start here. So did Billy Martin.

The Big League clubs watch the minors. That’s where they find much of their talent. They let a prospective player get toned up and battle ready. Then, when the timing is right and a position opens up in the Bigs, the call goes out.

And one more baseball player realizes his dream.

Yep, the toughest job is not figuring out how to make money, not for a professional writer or other creative. The toughest job is figuring out how to get noticed. And writing guest posts — giving your best content to others — is the way many good writers pay their dues.

I’ve been helping Ann Smarty with the work at My Blog Guest, and I’m telling you, friends … there’s plenty of opportunity there that many folks just don’t grasp.

Oh well. If you want some tips, shoot me a line.

The Education of a Writer

Writer, Gurney Norman

Gurney Norman

On his own blog, CopyBot, the D-man has begun an ambitious project. It’s an electronic version of something my buddy, Gurney Norman, successfully pulled off in 1971 for the Last Whole Earth Catalog.

It’s a trip.

Working under the relentless hounding of eco-entrepreneur and general roustabout, Stewart Brand, Gurney pumped out his first book, Divine Rights Trip, and Stewart scattered sections of it all through the catalog. (Gurney, correct me if I’m wrong. It’s been a few years since we took a walk-and-talk alongside Troublesome Creek and you told me the story.)

Anyway … Demian is churning out the makings of his first book as posts on CopyBot. And, if there’s any non-believers in the crowd, check it out: here’s the starting point.

Here we go again

Which reminds me of another story. I was waiting in line at McKay’s grocery store in Myrtle Point, Oregon, trying to pay for my goods and go fishing. Instead, I was stuck there,  listening to the lady in front of me rattle on with her buddy (who happened to be working as cashier).

The lady says, “Oh did I tell you, I’m writing a book now.”

Her friend (aka Cashier) says, “Ohhhh … you have to bring me a copy.”

“Well,” beams the woman, “it’s all in my head right now, but I’ll let you know when it’s published!”

Unbelievable, yes. But true.

But that ain’t Demian Farnworth’s style. Demian doesn’t talk about writing. He writes. And he writes good.

But …

Niagra Falls barrelHeading over the falls in a badly bruised barrel

Lest I forget this post is supposed to be the honest-to-God recital of a recent interview with Demian (although, the wily D-Man caught on to my sneaky tactics), I’m going to deliver the requisite beans before closing.

Here goes. Demian Farnworth’s absolute best advice for writers.

If you want to end up rich, famous, and maybe even totally cool too … here is how:

Don’t stop …

“The one who stays in the game,” says Demian, “is the one who wins the game.”

So … all you minor-leaguers out there … sweating and pitching and catching and running bases like you’re chasing something yet unseen, but absolutely necessary.

Keep going. Don’t let up. Don’t listen when they tell you to get a haircut and go to work for the cigar-chewing fat man with the red face and too-short tie.

Do what Gurney and Demian and all real writers do.

WRITE, you fool, WRITE!

and don’t stop trying.

 

Comments

  1. Good stuff Don! I like your message here . . .

    Don’t quit!

    I’m not even a minor-league player yet, so these are exactly the words I need to hear. Especially considering I’ve never even done a guest post. Guess I still gotta pay my dues.

    Now I’m off to check out the D-Man’s site.

    Cheers!

    • Roadturn says:

      Good for you, Trevor. If you want, I will send you a copy of “The Roadmap to Freedom: Dream Into It,” a field guide to finding, following, and fulfilling your Dream.

  2. Demian is a great inspiration. He’s made me re-evaluate my own writing style and approach — as well as actually pick up a book for the first time in 6 months and spend some more time reading to improve my writing.

    • Roadturn says:

      Thank you, Jeremy. The D-man is easy to write about. He’s smart and talented … and cool too.

Trackbacks

  1. […] traveling on towards the writer he is now. I’m captivated by Demian’s story, and I wrote about it earlier, even bringing a little of my walk-and-talk with Gurney Norman, another writer well worth […]

  2. […] traveling on towards the writer he is now. I’m captivated by Demian’s story, and I wrote about it earlier, even bringing a little of my walk-and-talk with Gurney Norman, another writer well worth […]

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