I’ve been writing about myself for as long as I can remember. I’ve lectured on writing at places like Boston University, Brown University, and the University of Paris. My first book was a memoir that Publisher’s Weekly said was “quick, punchy prose that keeps the reader riveted.”
(A really big rule about selling something is that you don’t offer something cheaper first, but whatever. Here I go.) That first book, the memoir, is a little like Fifty Shades of Grey but with more vomit and more beach volleyball. The print version of my book is $500 on Amazon, but you can buy the electronic version here. And, if you’re wondering why the author on the book is not Penelope Trunk, here’s the post about my many names.
But back to the webinar. For $195 you get access to all the videos and course materials. It’s significantly more expensive than the ebook, but really, which will be more fulfilling to you, reading about my life or writing about yours? If you can’t be there for the live version, you can download the video to watch whenever you want.
The secret sauce to all good blog posts is writing about yourself. Successful blogs infuse the personality of blogger into whatever the blog topic is. And successful professional sites do this as well. In fact, as early as 2008, the Harvard Business Review was warning executives that social media won’t work for them if they don’t do it themselves with no ghost writers—because they need to use their personality.
The trick is to know how to reveal your personality and tell stories about yourself in a way that helps you reach your goals.
I’m going to teach you how to make your writing so interesting that people can’t stop reading. And once you have that, you have so many choices about what you do with your writing—a blog, a book, a business. Good writing can launch all of these. I know—I’ve done it myself.
So here’s what you will learn:
Day one: How to choose what part of your life to write about.
I’ll give you the list of rules I use to make sure I’m personal but not boring. People think the biggest problem about writing about your own life is what to reveal. But actually, the more difficult problem is how to not be boring. In general people want to read about someone else’s life if it relates back to their own in some illuminating way. I’ll also teach you how to give up control of the story to get a better story. It’s the writing equivalent of this photo, actually; I told my son to just give me the camera, and look, it ended up being an interesting picture of me and The Farmer – more interesting than if I tried to control everything in the photo.
Day two: How to structure stories.
We all have a million bazillion stories to tell. This session will show you how to take a moment that you really want to tell people about and turn that moment into a story that will resonate with readers. The process here is self-editing and thinking about a story arc even though life does not unfold in neat plot lines. (Bonus! If you learn to do this well, you’ll be able to write your resume better and you’ll do better in job interviews. Finally, social justice: the writers do well in the workplace.)
Day three: How to create a system for writing.
Most people do not write about themselves for a living. Most people have a day job, and they write in addition to that job. A system helps you become more efficient so you can write regularly. I’ll tell you tricks I use to force myself to write when I don’t want to. I’ll also show you three different types of posts, and how to write them, how to organize your links, how to create a writing schedule, how to organize the posts you save for later.
Day four: How to turn your writing into a paycheck.
Good writers can make money writing. But it’s not so straightforward. I’ll share with you the wide range of ways I get paid to write about myself. Also, I’ll show you how I got a blog-to-book deal with a six-figure advance. Some of you don’t want to do a blog, you just want to write a book, and I’ll show you shortcuts to getting a book deal so you can live off the advance while you write the book. And, if any of you end up being ready for an agent, I’ll put you in touch with my agent, who has agreed to look at any proposals I send her way from this class.
Day five: Q&A with me and the Farmer.
One of the most common road blocks people feel to writing about themselves is what the people close to them will say. The Farmer has put up with me writing about him since the day I met him. So I thought he’d do a good job answering your questions about what it’s like to have someone writing about you all the time. You can ask him anything else, too. I told him he should be prepared for a wide range of questions. I want to tell you that he’s nervous. But he’s not. He’ll just answer whatever comes his way. So I think it’s safe to say that I’m the nervous one.
But here’s something else about writing about yourself: It’ll make you nervous and that’s why it’s fun. The only stuff that’s worth doing is hard and scary. So that nervous feeling means I’m growing. And really, this seminar will teach you just that: how to engage in personal growth and intellectual growth through writing. Because that’s really what the best writers do.