Academy for Wayward Authors: Redefine Success With a Practice-Driven Approach

Define your path

Would you be excited if I had the perfect organizing process for author business planning?


Likely because it creates hope for success.

“If I were just organized, it would all work out!”

The world is filled with organizational systems. Most of them are good, so why doesn’t all planning result in success? Why do the majority of planners die on a shelf?

We have spent the first third of this season evaluating the most critical component of your business—you.

pexels marko klaric 6408282

Do you see things differently than you did before you started the Academy?

Do you need to act differently to become the future you?

Has this new thinking made your January plans irrelevant?

That’s okay.

I purposefully structured this series to get you to a different place where you would redefine success.

The Facebook groups, gurus, and conferences celebrate the six- and seven-figure authors. These are the goals. They all declare that this is how you know you made it.

Instead, walk away from the quest for accolades and celebrate the practice.

You don’t become a successful author when you get paid for your first book, make your first four, five, six, seven, or eight figures. You become a successful author the day you accept the practice of BEING an author. That day could be today.

It’s about the practice, not the plan.

It is the act of doing the work.

You are either engaged in the practice or you are not.

Last week I provided a sketch and some fancy formulas. In some ways, that’s a disservice to you because it can complicate and confuse you. It can make you believe that it’s all process to achieving author success.

At the heart of that diagram is the simplicity of creating a product that meets the existing unmet desire in the market.

To distill it further, the daily act of being an author—the practice of writing—gets you to milestones like selling your first book or meeting your thousandth fan.

As Pablo Picasso once said, “One must have the courage of one’s vocation and the courage to make a living from one’s vocation.”

For most of his career, Picasso lived like a king. His work made him wealthy. However, he did have some lean years initially because he chose to earn a living from his vocation. His success came from creating every day and practicing his craft.

The act of planning can become a substitute for practice, a rabbit hole that distracts us from work.

Years ago, I set out to build a business with a partner in the oil and gas industry. We discussed an idea and captured the entire plan on a single sheet of yellow legal paper.

Part of the plan was to raise money. We had to create financial models, fancy slide decks, and prospectuses to do that. When our plan met reality, everything changed. It’s the Mike Tyson line, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

When things got confusing, we returned to that yellow legal pad and reminded ourselves of what we set out to achieve and what we would need to do next to move forward.

pexels nataliya vaitkevich 7172856

That experience and others have taught me that the goals get met when I embrace the practice. The only way the goal is achieved is through mundane daily work and repeated cycles of a process, year after year.

It is easy to make excuses. I’m distracted because of… pick your poison.

Those are the challenges to the practice. They will always be there—the first things your DMN will latch on to to keep you right where you are.

I’ll share a simple one-page business plan in a few articles, but before then, I suggest thinking about what success and your practice look like after your first few months in the Academy.

You and your new priorities need to be understood to develop future plans. We can then design a system whose emergent properties drive funds and fans.

Let me give you an example of how the past you and the current you may think about goals.

I will become a seven-figure author by 2025.


No matter what happens, I will create the best 1,000 words I can each day for the next 365 days and publish the best words when they are ready.

The latter has the practice inherent in the goal. It is achievable, measurable, and compounding. It’s the vocation, not the accolade.

Redefine success from the financial to what makes the finances flow.

You could become a millionaire by writing what you hate or by building a business that interferes with your personal and family life rather than supporting it. You hit the goal but remain unfulfilled. But that doesn’t happen when you put the practice first.

By changing our focus to the practice and being the best at it, your continued repetition will result in collecting fans who become the source of your future funds. By embracing the practice in every moment, every day, your goal choice and how you’ll measure success will change. You’ll recoil from the groupthink goals and focus on that which supports your practice.

You’ll know you are an author, and your commitment to the practice will wash away your fears and imposter syndrome.

Read: Scale Your Marketing Systems to Deliver Customer Delight