Last week I discussed profile writing as an alternative to just printing a regular interview. This week, I want to take that a step further and discuss writing a profile as a life story. Writing a life story might seem a bit daunting, but if you have the right outline you can stay on track and create an original, interesting article. The outline we are going to use is the “Hero’s Journey” or monomyth.
The Hero’s Journey is a storytelling format originally identifed by Joseph Campbell, but one that is as old as stories themselves. Once you are familiar with the pattern, you will realize that it applies to many stories you already know, from the fictional Star Wars to the true story of Abraham Lincoln. As a blogger writing a profile, you will find that you can follow the Hero’s Journey for many of your subjects.
In a fictional Hero’s Journey, you can write and arrange your characters in whatever way best works with the pattern. As a blogger you will be writing about real individuals and so you can only outline your story in this format if you have enough information to track a Hero’s Journey at some point in your subject’s life. It will not work for every person you interview because some people just do not share the type of information you need to follow their journey. But when it does, you will end up with a solid and unique profile that hooks your readers and, if you study the process carefully, can really highlight your writing ability.
The Hero’s Journey is essentially a process of Separation, Initiation and Return. These three sequential occurences are further broken down into somewhere between 8 and 12 steps. As you can already tell, this pattern gives you a clear outline with which to work and you will know very quickly if it can be applied to your subject or not. Here is a brief overview of the eight basic steps:
Step One: The Call
The call is an invitation into the unknown. The unknown can be either physical or spiritual. Physical calls may take the hero away from family, place him* in a strange land and/or overcome a hardship or constriction. Spiritually, your subject may have felt trapped, out of place or like she just did not “fit” anymore. A call can come gradually or be sparked by some sort of crisis or sudden change.
Step Two: The Threshold
The threshold is the line between the known and unknown. This is the point at which the hero must decide whether or not to accept the call, knowing that he will not be able to turn back after making the choice.
This is also the place in the story at which helpers first appear. In fiction, helpers often bring divine gifts to aid them in the challenges to come. However less magical they may be, helpers are just as important in a “real-life” monomyth. Mentors and guides are the most important types of helpers as they usually provide knowledge or focus that the hero would not otherwise have had. In both fiction and in our own lives, helpers tend to show up when we need them. Carl Jung called this synchronicity.
Step Three: The Challenges
Whether outward (physical) or inward (spiritual, psychological), the challenges faced on the Hero’s Journey are menat to build maturity, skill and confidence. As the journey progresses, the challenges generally increase in difficulty. Temptations are some of the greatest tests on the journey, usually brought by someone attempting to pull the hero away from his path. The hero must face the temptations and deny them to continue on the journey.
In nearly all monomyths, the challenges will target the hero’s weakest points. This will enable him to improve those skills, overcome those fears or otherwise better himself in order to successfully pass the challenge. If a challenge is failed, the hero may suffer a minor setback or be forced to end the journey and return home defeated.
Step Four: The Abyss
The Abyss is the greatest challenge of the journey. It comes after the hero has had time to improve upon weaknesses, but usually requires that he give everything of which he is capable in order to succeed. It is at this stage of the journey where the hero must defeat or work past his fatal flaw or risk failing the challenge and, by extension, the journey.
Step Five: The Revelation
The revelation is a shifting of the way the hero thinks or views life. Generally sudden and/or dramatic, the revelation either takes place before or after the hero descends into the abyss.
Step Six: The Transformation
Once the Revelation has taken place and the Abyss is conquered, the hero has completed his change. Having overcome great fears and weaknesses, he is a new person and is nearly ready to complete the journey by returning home.
Step Seven: The Atonement
Before the hero can make his way back home, he must come to terms with his “new” self. The transformation has been fully completed, but it may take some reflection for the hero to fully integrate everything he has learned on the journey. The Atonement is essentially the official rebirth of the hero, bringing harmony and balance back to his life.
Step Eight: The Return
To complete the journey, the hero must come full circle. Because he has changed, he often is able to use his new knowledge or skills to better the world he left when he answered the call. Sometimes the hero returns too enlightened for his old home and either backslides, enlightens others or must again accept a call in order to find balance.
Though a novel or other work of fiction generally focuses on a single Hero’s Journey, in real life we usually go through many. These journeys can be short or long, profound or somewhat mundane. What they all have in common is that we come through them changed. In my lifetime I can think of several just off the top of my head: going to kindergarten, going to college, coming out, my mother’s battle with cancer…the list goes on and on. The point is, nearly everyone has at least one Hero’s Journey in his life. As a writer, it is your job to find it.
The monomyth format can create a unique and unexpected outline for a profile on your blog. While it is not widely used in non-fiction, it is used even less by bloggers. So next time you are interviewing someone, as him about a life-changing experience and see if he will share enough for you to map out his Hero’s Journey. Not only are they fun to write, they are also very interesting and enjoyable to read.
*I used the male pronoun because it was the first one that came to mind and constantly writing he/she or him/her can really ruin the natural flow of an article. I promise I am not sexist.
Stop Complaining and Turn it into a Blog Post
I spent the prior 10 seconds scrolling through my Instagram comments.
After reading a “This looks good” comment in response to a grainy video – obvious spam, intended for an eye-popping image – I chose to create a video and write this post. 2 pieces of blog content. Versus minutes of silly complaining.
Being human, I may feel slightly annoyed after reading my 5th spam comment in a row, this morning. But after a quick vent, I create helpful content, to teach bloggers what not to do, in order to succeed online.
Check out this eBook:
I wrote the eBook to address a pressing problem among bloggers. We all have a right to vent for a bit but sustained complaining:
- wastes your creative energies
- sullies your brand image
- damages your online reputation
I wrote the eBook to help you turn your complaints, sometimes in the form of rough blogging criticism, into blogging profits. Converting a complaint into content is 1 easy way to prosper in such fashion.
Help yourself. Help your readers.
Watch this short Instagram video:
I gained a few quick views on Instagram. Benefits me. I promoted my eBook at the end of the video, offering myself eBook exposure. I help my readers by showing them what works on Instagram; being genuine, being honest and being authentic. I also explain what not to do, to help folks avoid wasting their time with spammy, low quality, non genuine comments.
I turned a potential complaint into a creation. I converted a low energy situation into a high energy situation. I likely gained blog traffic and maybe boost my blogging profits, too.
I also align with grateful, high energy bloggers like Sue-Ann Bubacz Mapping Megan and Mike Allton by raising my energy. Complaining routinely moves you lower in blogging circles. Being grateful, creative and helpful moves you higher in blogging circles.
The next time you feel an urge to complain about something, turn the complaint into a creation.
- write a blog post
- write a guest post
- record a podcast
- record a video
- broadcast live on Facebook
- write a bite-sized eBook
Your readers will thank you. Plus, you will thank yourself.
We know complaints can sprout from all corners of the web. Here are common occurrences which tend to trigger complaints:
- spam comments on your blog
- spam comments on social media
- spam emails
- spam social media messages
- bloggers pitching you their products and services without building relationships first
- cheapie bloggers or business owners who want to place sponsored posts on your blog for 5 or 10 USD
- unhappy, unclear folks who post terrible reviews on your eBooks based on their misery
I recall the last bullet point experience goaded me to write my eBook. A few listeners of my audio books and eBook readers posted sarcastic, biting reviews of both audio books and eBooks I self-published. Rather than complain or whine about the feedback I saw the criticism for what it was; the projection of an unhappy person who spoke 100% about self and 0% about me. All of my creations are clearly me, and what I did to co-create this life of island hopping through smart blogging. If anybody is insane enough to post a negative review on my clear, genuine creations, it is like saying:
“Hey Ryan, I was there every step of the way, watching you in paradise, stalking you behind your laptop, and you did a terrible job sharing your real experience!”
The only person on earth who could post a somewhat honest review is my wife Kelli; even she was not in my head or watching every one of my steps as I co-created this life with my readers. She was too busy building her own thriving business. No human was there to record everything, save me, and since I share it all in a genuine, clear way, any negative reviewer is deluded, and somewhat insane.
Few bloggers have this clarity or authenticity in what they do because they either are filled with fear and doubt, or hold back what they know. I have no such problems.
These are a few potential triggers, guys. I share to alert you to potential rants or sustained complaints before the negative energy seems to run away with your attention for a few minutes, hours or days.
Vent wholly, quickly and completely. Then convert the complaint into blog content. Everybody wins. Even the spammer.
What Is the Mushroom Service Effect and How Does it Increases Profits?
Service leads to sales.
Every eBook I sell is the effect of a service cause. Many of my eBook customers received my direct help. Maybe I commented genuinely on their blog. Perhaps I mentioned them on my blog or on Blogging Tips. Maybe I retweeted their post. Or maybe I helped these people for weeks or months without asking for anything in return.
Some of these bloggers purchase my eBooks. I see increased blogging profits. Some promote my eBooks to their readers, leading to increased blogging profits. Some of those readers promote the eBook to their readers; can you see the mushroom service effect in action? I keep helping people in various ways, expect nothing, and my generous service reverberates, mushrooming into increased sales.
What happens as I help more folks by creating content and by promoting fellow bloggers? More bloggers promote me, link to me, boost my backlink juice, and Blogging From Paradise becomes more prominent on Google. Search engine traffic increases my blogging profits. More mushrooming.
You never go wrong helping people generously because every creative act prospers you and others, now, next week or 3 years down the road.
My friend Alonzo Pichardo helps people generously and gives little thought to content once he publishes posts, videos and podcasts. He lets the content do what it does. His profits keep increasing but even more than that, he keeps moving higher and higher in networking circles as his generosity increases his influence. More mushrooming.
Imagine a still pond. Now imagine dropping a tiny pebble into a still pond. Waves reverberate as far as the water reaches. 10 inches, or 10,000 miles, literally, nothing can stop the waves from traveling outward, even if the waves are faint, or are barely detectable, after traveling for a while.
Now imagine dropping 100 tiny pebbles over a few weeks. Wow. You really see waves kicking at that point. Subtle, slow and controlled, but super noticeable.
The pond is your blogging niche. The stillness of the pond is your calm, peaceful, generous, detached intent, your energy, your relaxed mindset. The pebbles are pieces of content, aka, service. Plus, one pebble can represent:
- every time you promote another blogger through a blog post on your blog
- every time you promote another blogger through a guest post
- every time you retweet another blogger
- every time you share another blogger’s post on Facebook
The waves are your influence, your service, and, this is the mushrooming effect leading to greater blogging profits.
Guys; expect nothing. I promote valued blogging resources like the talented, generous and heart-centered Tanyi at Blog Tools Corner to give, not to get. The less I expect anything to happen, the more good things and awesome people flow to me.
Give freely, persistently, receive easily.
Enstine Muki provides you with generous tips to make money online, via his blog. He helps bloggers freely. Of course his blogging profits mushroom through his generous service, increasing through his friend network, through Google and through mentions on my blog, on Blogging Tips and in thousands of other spots.
Keep helping people freely. Expect nothing. Eventually, over time, if you are patient, your traffic and profits begin to mushroom exponentially.
Look at Tim Ferriss’ latest blog post. He is a multi millionaire and one of the most famous entrepreneurs on earth because he serves people generously. Note how many backlinks he gives to other bloggers and entrepreneurs through his latest post; that’s generosity! That’s an abundance mindset in action. Most bloggers feel terrified to give out a single backlink to another blogger for fear of losing profits, wrongly believing people will click on the other blogger’s link and not click on their business links. Tim links out to 20, 30 or 40 people or resources for every blog post.
Any wonder why the dude is so incredibly successful and prospering?
He employs the mushroom service effect like few entrepreneurs on earth.
4 Ways to Become More Detached from Blogging Outcomes
See that throwback featured image of me in Phuket, Thailand?
I became a globe trotting pro blogger in part through the power of detachment.
Blogging outcomes weigh you down and slow your blogging growth, if you are not careful.
Many bloggers mean well but are so obsessed with every view, Like, comment, share and dollar that they either struggle horribly or hold back stunning blogging success. How could I write over 100 eBooks if I obsessed with sales from my first eBook? How could I write 600 posts on Blogging Tips alone if I obsessed over metrics?
Eye-popping success finds largely detached, generous bloggers.
Follow these tips to become more detached from blogging outcomes.
1: Help More Ask Less
If you want blog comments, comment on other blogs.
Want blog traffic? Promote other bloggers.
Help bloggers to detach from your needs and to see greater success. Ask less and less for shares, comments and views, to detach from outcomes. Success finds generous bloggers.
2: Mention 2-5 Successful Bloggers Via All Posts
I recall focusing heavily on blogging profits early during my career. I linked to an ad or affiliate product once per post and linked to nothing else, obsessing over sales, attaching to outcomes. I gradually promoted other bloggers over years. Now I promote 2 to 5 bloggers virtually every post. I think more of helping them and less of helping me.
3: Manage Your Energy
Attachment is fear. Managing your energy helps you:
- face fear
- feel fear
- release fear
- dissolve attachments
I do 80 minutes of deep yin yoga daily. Plus I jog or walk for 45-60 minutes daily. Meditating helps too.
Managing your energy rocks because so many bloggers cling deeply to fear-attachments, to stats and money and to clients and blogging buddies, and need a daily ritual to unearth and release these attachments. I strongly suggest deep yin yoga because it helps you become comfortable. Big time quality developed by all generous, pretty darn detached, bloggers.
4: BE with Your Fear
I vividly recall sitting and BEING with my fear each time I checked my blogging inbox. I felt a general not enough energy pervade my being. Panic then ran through my body. Anger. Pain. Grief, at time lost. All fears reflected heavy attachments to:
- list subscribers
I totally believed I should have been further along at these points during my blogging career. Turns out, I was at the perfect place and time to feel deep fears, to dissolve attachments and to proceed from a generous, genuine, pretty detached, patient and persistent space.
Fighting fear only makes attachments grow. Not checking email for weeks because you feel terrified to check email makes the fear and attachment grow. But checking email hourly because you feel terrified that you:
- will miss out on clients
- are not making enough money, and need to check and see if you are making any aka enough money, yet
reflects your attachment to you. Ya know; “How am I doing-itis.” Check stats, check email, all the time, because you fear to see how you are doing.
Feel fear behind any strategy driven by fear. Let the fear go. Dissolve the attachment.
I check email here and there, never being attached to it. Email is not the source of my blogging success.
Treat blogging outcomes like mile markers on a highway, when you whiz by at 80 MPH. Note the stat for a few seconds and either move in a different direction or charge forward, based on how you feel about the stat, and what the feeling suggests to you.
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