Academy for Wayward Authors: What You Create Is a Function of You

Designing your author business

The endgame of the Academy will be a business designed as a system.

The issue is that you are the heart and soul of the business.

You wear many hats. You are the creator, the CEO, and the investor.

From time to time, these roles will conflict, and we need design methods for you to select the best of conflicting choices. Decision-making is a skill to learn. I can teach it to you. But there is another issue—you.

The you that you are.

It took me years to find my way and begin to design myself.

We humans are malleable and easy to influence.

By the time you exit school, you have little originality left. This could be a wonderful excuse for our future failures or why we don’t have the life we want or…

We rewrite the story.

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The new thinking system you design this season will become your superpower.

I promise it will give you more headspace to do the work.

You will have increased capacity and focus that you don’t have now.

In the first few articles, I’ll suggest some actions to take. Following these practices will result in a more focused, purposeful you.

I know this to be true because I’m an example. I’ve adopted these practices, and I’m no longer paralyzed by the tsunami of ideas I face daily.

What should an author’s business look like?

Here is where we will do some great work.

After some work on your thinking process, we will shift to your business and establish its foundation.

This season is all about two simple questions.

What can we do to optimize you as an author operating a publishing business?


What would the ideal author business system be?

The answers for you will be different than for me or others at the Academy. The way to get there will be the same.

This season will have two tracks of investigation and learning, designing your mindset and your business.

We will start with you.

I’ll share some tools I’ve been using that have made me more focused and productive. This should create the bandwidth necessary for the second track, which revolves around your business design.

I’m practicing these principles myself and have seen improved awareness, focus, and ability to complete tasks.

Your school supplies

I’m going to suggest some tools this school year. Some will be free; others must be paid for after a trial. Don’t buy any of these unless you see the value.

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Don’t fall for the illusion that buying something will fix the problem. Everything I suggest will consume time as well as money. Meaning, it will require your time to learn how to use these tools.

The first tool you may want is a knowledge management system. My preferred tool is Notion. There is a free option. I’ll be sharing Notion pages and templates this season, so if you are using them, it will be easy to integrate some of them into your Notion pages.

There are others. Good old pen and paper, SmartSuite, and ClickUp have docs. Obsidian, Evernote, and a host of others are available. Pick one and use it to take notes and plan your business system.

What it will be like as an alumni

You’ll be part of something special. A small group of authors will stay in their lane and do the work. Slowly and deliberately growing their business how they want, not following the whims of the industry or the guy saying he has the easy button.

I also shared that I don’t believe that all of the successful authors you see now will be around in twelve months. People share with me in confidence what is going on, and I’m seeing the signs of failing businesses—not just struggling authors but also the big names that have taken the stage to share their successes. Watch out for sinking ships.

Read: Caging the Indecisive Monkey Mind to Boost Productivity