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.
What Is Your Blog Post Publishing Frequency and Why?
From time to time, assess how frequently you publish blog posts. Ask yourself why? Sit. Wait for an honest answer.
I publish 4-5 blog posts daily. Sometimes I publish 6 posts. Why? I share oodles of helpful videos, podcasts and articles but on a deeper level, I intend to get my 124 eBooks in a billion hands or more. Yes; I wrote and self-published 124 bite-sized eBooks. Publishing 6 posts daily allows me to promote 6 different eBooks daily on my blog. I also publish 3 or more guest posts daily to share value and promote my eBooks in more spots. Note; that is 3 or more eBook promotions, in addition to all of my eBooks I promote on social media.
Promoting 124 eBooks daily is no joke. I needed to raise my vibe, practice writing and video and podcasting and get clear on upping my post frequency to drive traffic and business through an approach. I see my blog more as a high volume, blogging news portal, like CNN or Fox News, and less a blog for publishing weekly and leaving it at that. Hey; that is just me, though.
You may be different because all bloggers hold different intents and vibe at different frequencies. Imagine blogging once monthly. Today, you set an intent to publish 5 posts daily between videos, articles and podcasts. Seems foolish, right? Few humans make this quantum leap without putting in years of writing practice and also giving substantial attention and energy to energy management, or, mindset work. Never raise your blog post frequency from energies of fear and delusion; burnout and failure await.
But do bump up frequency if it feels fun, relaxing, prospering and generous to publish more frequently.
On the flip side, pull back on blog post frequency if your current schedule feels heavy, tiring, exhausting and overwhelming.
Only you know how frequently you post and why you post at that clip. You know the honest answer. Be straight with yourself.
Optimal Blog Post Frequency
Follow your fun and relaxation.
What feels really good and fun and relaxing, but maybe a bit uncomfortable, to you? Run with it. Daily? Awesome. Weekly? Cool. Twice daily? Great. One post, one day, and 3 posts, the following day? Why not? If readers enjoy your content they read your content, keeping up with what they can keep up with. Trust your gut.
I advise publishing at least weekly in most cases unless you publish a long form post monthly ranking well on Google, genuinely knocking folk’s socks off. Why? People forget you as you vanish from the stream for a month at a time. Blogs are news portals for your niche. News should not be published monthly. Weekly at a minimum works fine for news updates.
Making Money and Frequency
In my eBook:
I break down how you find buyers for your business online.
Pondering post frequency, money flows to frequent posters and less frequent posters. Everything money-wise depends on your clarity with receiving money and following your frequency strategy because your energy dictates your income. Feel good, and at peace, and relaxed, about your blog post frequency. Success will find you based on your money energy and life energy, independent of your blog post frequency.
Do the inner work and the outer results expand freely and easily over time.
Blogging Income Tip: How Do You Feel about Money?
As I promote my eBook:
I ponder one massive source of anxiety for most bloggers: money. Most of you grew up with money limiting beliefs. Money does not grow on trees. Money is not easy. Money is hard to get. Money is scarce. If you want money, get used to owning and facing each money fear because blogging full time requires you to work for free, generously, for a while, and no human with money fears works for free. All humans clinging to heavy money fears only work for pay. What is working for pay? Jobs. Working for someone allows you to get paid for every hour you work because being employees guarantees payment, per work, per your contract.
Guess what? Blogging is a different animal. Nobody gets paid to be an individual, business-owning blogger because blogging is a business. Business is about building something to boost skills and exposure to where your streams of income yield cash for you. Complete 180 from being an employee because you need face money fears, release fears, and proceed from a generous energy to gain skills and exposure enough to earn a full time income through your blog.
How do you feel about money? Does money feel scarce to you? Do you fear running out of money? Be honest guys. Being straight with yourself allows you to make money because before you make money through your blog, you need to face, feel and release money fears. Why? You never move into actions required to make money being burdened by the heavy fear of losing money, a yoke that saddles most of humanity.
I have noted how Gary Vaynerchuk did 2000 YouTube interviews before he began to get major media and TV coverage. He worked for free for 2000 interviews because he was not burdened by the terror of losing money, vibing abundance and generosity and trust. Most of humanity is so scared to lose all of their money that they never give one interview for free; these people work jobs to guarantee they get money for what they do work-wise, but sacrifice their fun and freedom in the process. You cannot live your dreams through blogging if you have no vision for the future and you cannot create a vision if you feel weighed down by the fear of money loss. How can you dream big dreams if you secretly feel terrified to lose it all? The fear of losing it all dominates your mind, body and actions so you will just work a job to get money and you will treat your blog casually, because your blog does not yield money, like your job.
Of course, your blog does not yield money because you vibe a poverty consciousness and poverty-vibing folks never do the generous giving – working for free, for a sustained period of time – to position themselves for success, a’la Gary Vee and his 2000 YouTube interviews. I have written and published nearly 1000 posts on Blogging Tips. Nobody paid me directly for writing and publishing these posts but the traffic and links and money I gained indirectly through these nearly 1000 posts helped me live a neat life. I began giving generously the moment I faced my money fears.
Expect to do the same if you want to live your dreams through blogging.
What Few Bloggers Understand
I live a pretty sexy life. I have circled the globe for the past eight years through blogging. Pretty cool, right?
But my blogging duties are seemingly mundane, not too sexy at all and in moments, quite boring. I genuinely love blogging. I have fun doing what I do. But I am also a human being experiencing a wide range of emotions on an hour to hour basis. Sometimes, I just want to go to sleep for a little bit because I feel tired and a bit bored with the blogging process. But if I intuitively know it is time to write a blog post I just write the blog post. In these moments, blogging feels boring and mundane and plain and not too sexy. But doing the seemingly mundane things in boring moments lays the foundation for living a spectacular dream life through blogging.
Few bloggers understand this basic fact of sometimes boring activities laying the foundation for a spectacular dream life. Most bloggers believe I do exciting, inspired and amazing things all day long to live an amazing life. This is 100% not true and nothing could be further from the fact. Blogging is fun for me most of the time but sometimes blogging feels boring. Even when blogging feels fun I am not doing anything earth-shattering or jaw-dropping anytime I write and publish blog posts and comment on blogs and promote one or all of my 100 plus ebooks. Does tapping a retweet button and sharing one of my eBooks on Twitter seem earth-shattering? Nope. Simple. East too. But few bloggers understand simple blogging activities lead to great blogging success.
Most bloggers believe you live your dreams through blogging by trying to knock the ball out of the park with viral blog posts and partnerships with the top bloggers on earth. Nope. You live your dreams by simply publishing helpful content, building friendships with top bloggers by being generous and asking for nothing, and by opening multiple streams of income from an abundant, trusting energy. Each of those steps is simple to put into action but sometimes taking each of those steps feel scary or highly uncomfortable. Nudge through the fear. Take the step. Simple, generous actions eventually lead to spectacular results because all meaningful blogging ventures begin with simple, generous actions. Do not believe top bloggers hit home runs everyday. We hit singles again and again and again and again for 10000 to 20000 hours until all those singles add up to something dazzling over the long haul.
Think in terms of tiny impressions made multiple times daily. I could have tried to write a viral guest post on this blog 3 years ago when I first published posts here. But I just chose to do a solid job writing a simple post some 900 times. Now I have written and published 900 + guest posts on this blog which means on a single blog alone I have 900 links or more, based on the ebooks of mine I link to as well. 900 + links leads up to something pretty sexy and spectacular but it was the simple, generous actions I took daily over 3 years of my life that led to the stunning long-term success. Blogging is doing simple things generously for hours daily for years of your life to build something special and meaningful.
Never believe that top bloggers hit home runs every day for a few weeks before they made it big. Anybody who makes it big does seemingly little things with love and generosity every single day over the course of years of their lives. Imagine 10000 to 20000 hours of doing simple things and you get an idea of what it takes to live a spectacular dream life through the medium of blogging.
Do you want to make money blogging?
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