Academy of Wayward Authors email 37 of 45: Shuhari

Shuhari is a Japanese concept that describes the stages of learning to mastery. The three stages are:

  • Shu (守) – The first stage, where the student follows the teachings of a master without deviation.
  • Ha (破) – The second stage, where the student starts to diverge from the teachings of the master and understand the underlying principles.
  • Ri (離) – The final stage, where the student has internalized the teachings of the master and has become a master in their own right. Only then does the practitioner go on to create new practices.

You may think this post is about being a good student.

No, this is about the lack of masters, specifically in marketing. This may be why so many wayward authors seeking a path to follow get misled or never find their master.

Let’s have some further clarification. When I say masters, I’m referring to the self-proclaimed or flavor-of-the-month gurus that continue to pop up. How many seek mastery for themselves as a practice?

How many marketers profess to know the way yet haven’t demonstrated their journey of Shuhari?

So, what’s the solution?

If you wish to follow the Shuhari model, I can give a different option instead of hiring a marketing expert.

Find a successful author in your genre to mentor you in your craft.

Forget about learning Facebook ads or making TikTok videos.

Focus solely on the practice of writing and producing works of fiction. A well-written story is the best marketing. Your writing sells future writing. The improvements from this process will be easier to see and measure.

Highly successful authors will nod their heads in agreement with what you are about to read next.

The main reason for the failure of a mentee is that they simply don’t do the work.

They either don’t do it or decide to argue with their mentor about the method. They want the result but are unwilling to do what it takes.

This is why, after a while, authors who used to be helpful to others quit helping. They often explain the plan, only to find themselves being ignored.

Future students suffer because the mentors choose to go into seclusion. Therefore, be a good disciple if you can get an author to mentor you and do the work when and how they dictate.

I’m currently working with a strength and flexibility coach. There are times when modifications are needed because I’m not strong or flexible enough. That’s different from not trying.

She could design the perfect program for me to go from zero to hero, but her mastery goes unused if I don’t do the work.

I have to act like the CEO of my body. Sometimes that means motivating my present self to create my future self.

Maybe you can find a good marketing mentor. The rules of Shuhari still apply. My point is that if you want to practice Shuhari, the most effective way in your author career is taking 75% of the time and effort you apply to ads and marketing and put it into your craft. Take joy in the practice and show devotion to the improvement of your craft and the practice of craft so that one day you can be the master.

Thank you for your attention,

Joe