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What are you doing right now? Tell the world with your NOW page

New NOW page

Do you ever wish you had a simple, succinct way to tell people what you’re doing right now?

Derek Sivers—founder of CD Baby, regular TED speaker, and author of 34 books such as Anything You Wantused to ponder that same question. Then he came up with a simple idea: a now page.

Since then, he’s set up sites with a /now page : http://nownownow.com/ to track just that, all the other folks who’ve added a /now page.

I’ve added one too, and you can find my /now page here.

What will be on your /now page?




When You Love Something, Get Involved

Class participation at the 2013 Willamette Writers Conference. Photo: Willamette Writers

Dozens of things happen behind the scenes at my Author World Headquarters, but I don’t talk about it. To me it’s like having friends over and talking about how you just swept and vacuumed the house. Sure, we do these things, and people know we do these things (in fact, I really need to vacuum the front room rug). But sweeping and vacuuming isn’t the point. Time with your friends is the point.

Most of this invisible stuff—research, conferencing, housekeeping and such—supports what I write for you, so I don’t usually think of these tasks as meriting a mention. But one of these things, the Willamette Writers Conference (WWC) in Portland, Oregon, was something I just had to talk about. It’s not really about the conference though. It’s about something deeper than that.

And no, this isn’t because I signed a deal with an agent and am now in the process of picking out a private island off the coast of Thailand (but I’ve got my eye on you, Koh Chang). Jason Brick’s Google+ post about his time at WWC got me thinking about it. So did this being my fourth Willamette Writers Conference (disclosure: including 3 in a dual role as co-chair of the organization’s Mid-Valley Chapter).

I came to understand something really, really important:

When you love something, get involved with the people and events that focus on that something. Deepen your knowledge. Evolve your passion. And then get back to work.

Get involved with the people

When I go to an event, I always make sure I know why I’m going there. What are my goals? What do I want to get out of this? In short, what will make this event worth my time?

When it came to this year’s WWC, I had 4 primary goals I wanted to make progress on:

  1. Expand my network by meeting more fellow authors and industry colleagues
  2. Expand marketing knowledge in general, and role of Google+ (if any) and email list building in particular. Also: launchers and ongoing marketing
  3. Raise awareness of The Martini of Destiny
  4. Practice and evolve how I talk about the Rucksack Universe

I came away from my 3 days at WWC confident I’d made strides on all of these goals, but especially on meeting more people. (I’m still getting caught up on post-conference correspondence, if that’s any sign.)

It’s exciting to meet authors at different stages of their own careers. It’s exciting to meet people who bring fresh ideas and help you find new directions for your career. It’s exciting to meet people who show you completely new ways to look at the industry, and who give insights on what’s coming up tomorrow and next year and beyond.

But even more importantly? It’s soul-satisfyingly productive to keep in touch. Meeting is one thing. Staying in touch is far more important. For me, that means coming home and raising my game on how well I email, or mail a thank-you note, or pick up the phone and call a colleague.

And it goes far beyond a conference, or far beyond being a writer. It’s just keeping in touch. It’s just basic, simple human interaction and communication.

And it’s the stuff that makes the world go ’round. If it keeps the world turning, imagine what it does for you?

Get involved with the events

I lost track of the number of times I had to say something like this:

My first WWC was in 2010, when I came up for a Saturday and came home a changed man. WWC expanded my world, gave me new direction, and helped me really start finding my way out of a job where I couldn’t grow anymore. What can I say? My day there ended with shaking Chuck Palahniuk’s hand. You do the math.

After that, I became more involved in Willamette Writers. Next thing I knew, in 2011 I was a new co-chair running the Eugene-based Mid-Valley Chapter. At this point I don’t directly help plan the conference, but when I’m there, I’m always checking with my fellow writers on how things are going for them. What are they liking? Where could we do better next year?

Back home in Eugene, I now look at where my career is and gaze ahead where it’s going. There are projects nearing completion, and they’re taking me to new vantage points where I can see some exciting things coming that I never could have dreamed of a few years ago. All this is because I got more involved in what I cared about and started finding out where I could help and contribute.

Where can you?

Deepen your knowledge

If you think you know everything, you don’t even know how much you could know.

I work hard to learn. I don’t play false humility games and won’t act like I’m a helpless hapless idiot, but I also know there is always more to learn. To me, that’s part of the process—not to mention part of the fun.

One of my big WWC goals was to increase my marketing knowledge, especially where Google+ was concerned. This year we had some in-freakin-credible folks in talking up marketing and social media, and I came away from those workshops, well, with a hell of a lot to work on.

Like I said, part of the process.

Where do you deepen your knowledge? What have you mastered—and where do you see the opportunity to learn more? What is something new that you really want to wrap your head around?

Evolve your passion

Nowadays people talk about passion the way The Beatles talked about love: “All you need is love, love is all you need.” Spend a few minutes online, and you’ll quickly see that many people like to say that all you need is passion, passion is all you need, and you’ll find success and dosh and ease.

Bull.

I have a passion for my business, just as I have a passion for raising my son. I love my kid immeasurably. But it takes a hell of a lot more than love to raise a kid.

It takes the perspective to see beyond a current moment’s challenge or even a current moment’s joy. It takes grit. But what is grit?

Grit is passion evolved.

Grit is passion plus perseverance. Grit is what Jeff Buckley was talking about when he sang, “It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.”

An event like WWC tops up my joy and my passion. Then I come home, map out all the tasks that have come out of that conference, and get to it. That’s where the grit comes in, the perseverance that will see me through when the buzz and bliss from the conference has faded.

And it’ll see you through too.

Get back to work

WWC is wrapped for the year, and I’m back to it, cranking out words while working in all the other things that go in hand with running a business, having a home, writing lots of great content, and being an involved dad and husband.

I love getting back to work. Everything above, all these tasks and reminders and learning and meeting folks and all that, ultimately is all about getting back to work. It’s being not just on task, but involved both with work and with the larger world surrounding that work.

It’s a good time to be an author. It’s a good time to learn and figure out new ways to spin some yarns. And whatever you do, whatever you want to do, it’s a good time to get to it.

You’ll find your way too.




Top 25 Out of 2,500

Photo - Starry night over Mount Everest - Matt Wier - http://bit.ly/u4halG

After 2,500 blog posts since 2004, it made sense to showcase some of the favorite and most popular posts on the site. Here’s the Top 25:

  1. Priorities
  2. The Tokyo Toddler – An Oregon Family Travels Japan
  3. A reason to do – Day 8 of 30 Days of Indie Travel – Love Learning
  4. Joy, in spite of everything
  5. Homemade champagne vinegar
  6. Prepare for wet hop homebrew
  7. Moon rising over Mt. Everest – Day 10 of 30 Days of Indie Travel
  8. How haggis, if no sheep stomach?
  9. Falling Sky opens. Is it Eugene’s best brewpub?
  10. My Writing Tools: Unruled 3.5″x5.5″ Moleskine Hardcover Notebook
  11. The winner – Beer Cheese Dip
  12. Homebrew: Majic Fresh-Hop Apricot Pale Ale 2011
  13. The Gardens of Noborito
  14. Dad, Let’s Help Tokyo Wake Up
  15. Still a traveler, still a writer
  16. Skipping the stress flight – Day 16 of 30 Days of Indie Travel – Baggage
  17. Happy New Beer
  18. A pot of good luck: New Year Posole
  19. The long delay and the uphill walk – Day 22 of 30 Days of Indie Travel – Transit
  20. Homebrew: Ignore the instructions
  21. It takes purple pop to paint a patio purple
  22. Hot damn, or, 227 note cards
  23. Homebrew: Jet Scharzweiss Ale
  24. I have no idea
  25. Expect to be disappointed – Day 25 of 30 Days of Indie Travel – Family

Not seeing your favorite here? What do you want to see more of during the next 2,500 posts?

Photo – Starry night over Mount Everest – Matt Wier




Eugene Suzuki Music Academy

Eugene Suzuki Music Academy (ESMA)

With a new design for 2015, the ESMA website is this music studio’s primary way of reaching and acquiring new customers.

 

When families sign up their children for music lessons, they aren’t just signing up their children for music lessons. They’re demonstrating their trust in the teacher. They’re saying that they’ve found a good match of personality and temperament that won’t just make for better music-playing, but that can help their children be better people.

Eugene-Suzuki-Music-Academy

The ESMA website’s original design. In April 2015 it was replaced by a new, responsive design with a fresher, brighter template that works across all devices and displays.

As co-owner of the Eugene Suzuki Music Academy (ESMA), I help director (and my wife) Jodie St. Clair market our Suzuki music lessons and early childhood classes to the people seeking the kind of environment and instruction ESMA offers. By maintaining the studio’s website, developing email campaigns, posting to Twitter and Facebook, and constantly evolving our marketing strategy, ESMA has been able to expand staff, add classes and operate a full music instruction studio.

ESMA continues to look at how it will build on its successes. And I’ll be there to make sure the studio’s website content and online marketing continue to evolve to meet the needs of the studio and its students.

Website: eugenesuzukimusic.com

Project Dates: 2009-Present




Mid-Valley Chapter, Willamette Writers

Mid-Valley-Willamette-WritersAs Oregon’s largest organization for writers and authors, Willamette Writers maintains local chapters throughout the state. In 2011 I joined the Eugene-based Mid-Valley Chapter, where I started a WordPress-based chapter website and eventually took over management of the chapter from a long-time chair who had decided to step down. I served as co-chair until September 2014.

As co-chair of Oregon’s second-largest Willamette Writers chapter (after Portland), I managed the chapter finances, posted content to our website and engaged with area writers via Twitter. Once a month I also worked with my fellow co-chair to run monthly member meetings where a presenter leads a discussion on a current topic related to writing, editing, marketing or publishing. We used our website to engage new and current members by sharing news about upcoming meetings, member announcements and area literary events.

The Mid-Valley Chapter continues to grow and gain new members, in part because of our active website and Twitter presence. Many members tell us that they heard about the chapter online, and the website is a way to keep members engaged with the Willamette Writers community throughout the year.

Website: willamettewriters.com/mid-valley

Project Dates: 2011-2014

Client Comments

“When former chair JoJo Jensen asked for help to set up a simple WordPress wesite for our Mid-Valley Chapter, Anthony stepped up and made it happen. As they worked together, JoJo also decided he was a good choice to be her successor when she stepped down in 2011. Anthony expertly helms the chapter as Co-Chair in an efficient, professional manner. In his capacity as a Board Member, he wears many hats—from managing the bookkeeping and finances to regularly adding quality content to the chapter website and maintaining a visible Twitter profile. He is always on hand for an encouraging word and valuable advice as members work toward their writing and publishing goals. I’m thrilled to have him on the team. It makes my job easier knowing that our chapter is in his good hands.”
— Val Mallinson, Board President, Willamette Writers




Oakshire Brewing

Oakshire BrewingNew beers. Expansions. Events. For today’s craft brewery, the beer never stops pouring, and there is always something new to tell customers about. Founded in 2006, Eugene-based Oakshire Brewing had a company blog and maintained presences on Twitter and Facebook. However, the company was entering a new phase of growth, and they wanted to be sure that their online marketing was keeping pace.

I focused first on Oakshire’s social media presences. By increasing social media posting and bringing new content to the company blog, we increased customer engagement and appealed to new customers. Behind the scenes I also worked closely with the brewery’s internal team, developing templates and guidelines that they could use not only to guide operations, but that they could scale up as their business continued to grow and change.

Oakshire continues to be a major player in the Oregon craft beer scene. Combined with their blog and social media presences, they now have a guiding strategy and foundation on which they can continue to find new customers and engage their devoted fans.

Website: oakbrew.com

Project Dates: 2012

Client Comments

“Anthony laid a foundation that Oakshire could build on for our next phase of website and social media marketing. His recommendations for best practices on Twitter, Facebook and our company blog continue to help us engage our customers and build excitement for our brand.”
— Amanda Pence, Oakshire Brewing




Food Writing, Travel Writing & Other Projects

I’ve traveled to over 10 countries, and my wife and I even gave our son a passport for his first birthday. Whether at home or abroad, food and cooking are two other great joys of my life. Whether writing food articles, travel articles or developing other kinds of print content, online content or web marketing, I approach each project and assignment with gusto, experience and expertise.

Food & Drink Feature Articles

Jessica, WhyGo Italy (@italylogue): If you haven't been reading every single bloody one of @antsaint's contributions to the #indie30 project, you're missing out. That is all. - Nov. 22, 2011Travel Features & Blogs

On Writing & Editing

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Contact Anthony today for your project or assignment




Hi.

Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

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Rucksack Universe

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