Often, just when we are in greatest need of motivation or inspiration, it comes suddenly and without warning. For me, these last few weeks have been marked with anxiety about my future, annoyance with my present, and a general ping-ponging between frustration and fatigue, feeling over-burdened and over-committed.
Enter Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days to Overnight Success, a succinct, engaging guide to establishing yourself as a full-time artist and/or social media guru, offered free-of-charge on his amazing site, The Art of Non-conformity. Having been profiled in The New York Times, on MSNBC, and here on Fly Brother, Guillebeau outlines his quest to hit every country on Earth by the age of 35 and to make the world a better place in the process. In his encouraging manifesto, which I read in a little under two hours, he discusses his successes and failures as a full-time writer, the expectations to succeed but not to receive much front-end financial gain, self-discipline and prioritization, the extreme importance of maintaining an accessible connection with your readers, and, above all, remaining true to your own voice to attract the right audience for you.
Amidst the chaos of increasing work and life pressures, reading this guide today was a needed splash of cold water, underscoring the intermittent messages I’ve been receiving from the varied reaches of the cosmos in one orienting, 79-page stroke. In forty-two days, I’ll be done with high school teaching and Colombia, at least for a while. Between now and then, there’s nothing to do but buckle down, prioritize, and get the documenting, grading, blogging, reading, writing, working-out, planning, and packing done. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making the necessary changes that reflect my commitment to my readers and my writing, giving voice to an under-heard perspective of international travel at Fly Brother and other venues, and I’ll be utilizing many of the techniques outlined by Guillebeau and other young, successful, full-time writers who are doing exactly what I want to be doing—making a living while doing exactly what they want to be doing. And I urge anyone who’s interested in that lifestyle choice to read 279 Days to Overnight Success.
Today, children, I leave you with three quotes that came to mind as I wrote this post:
From the aforementioned manifesto –
“[Y]ou have to find a way to keep making art during the not-so-fun times.”
A very shaky paraphrase of a sermon I heard a few years ago by Rebm, Jr. at Bethel Baptist Institutional in Jacksonville, Florida-
“Sometimes, you cain’t be waitin’ on nobody else. You gotta hold your own hand up.”
And something deceptively simple, profound, and oft-said to me, most recently by São Paulo trailblazer Kevin of Club Whirled –
“You can do anything you want.”