In Part 2 of this series last week we looked at what some of the most powerful Jedi Masters in the Star Wars universe had to say and how it relates to you as a writer. In this final installment, we’re going to dig deep into some of the lessons I’ve learned writing my own books… including a quote from our all-time favorite “villain” Darth Vader. Enjoy this final installment in this series!
9. You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting. ~ Shmi Skywalker
Human nature may never change, but human interest does. The topics you read and enjoyed 20 years ago aren’t the same as the ones you read and enjoy now. If you’re a writer of non-fiction, it’s especially important to be aware of current trends, new discoveries, and different perspectives.
For example, the subject of food will always be a topic of interest to people; but the kinds of foods that should go into a healthy diet can change based on new research and studies. The importance of possessing good communication skills is timeless; however the means through which we communicate advances along with technology.
So, if you want your book or blog to be relevant to readers five years from now, make sure your content is “evergreen”—not subject to change. On the other hand, there’s definitely a niche for writing that covers current trends, events, and views; and if you’re interested in covering popular topics, you have to stay on top of change and deliver in a timely fashion.
10. Who’s the more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him? ~ Obi~Wan
Do your research. Take the time to vet your sources of information, whether you’re getting online advice or training for becoming a successful author or you’re pulling quotes off the internet for your newest blogpost. To have credibility as an author, you must ensure your sources are credible and accurate. What are the credentials of the person you’re quoting? What kind of studies and research are you referencing, and where and when were they done?
To be successful as an author, make sure you are following the advice of people who are already successful in the field. What is their track record? How many books do they have published? Do they get good reviews? Are there reliable testimonials for their training courses?
There’s a lot of great resources out there to help you in your writing endeavors; but there’s a ton of crap out there too. Know the difference!
11. I’m rather embarrassed, General Solo, but it appears that you are to be the main course at a banquet in my honor. ~ C3PO
And sometimes things don’t quite turn out the way you expect. Maybe you didn’t follow all the steps that should have been followed when you published your book. Suddenly you’re getting bad reviews on Amazon because of bad Kindle formatting, or—because you didn’t want to spend the money on professional proofreading services—there’s 14 glaring errors on the first two pages alone. Now, instead of accolades, instead of being the “guest of honor,” you’re being roasted by the critics.
One thing we cannot change is the past. Okay, so you messed up. Remember the thing about your focus becoming your reality? If you beat yourself over the head with your mistakes, you’ll never get anywhere. Take the focus off what you did wrong, put your energy into correcting it, and then move forward. Even professionals flub up at times, and maybe even achieved the status of “expert” because they learned from their mistakes, made the necessary changes, and kept on going.
12. Someday I will be the most powerful Jedi ever. ~ Anakin Skywalker
Great, kid! Don’t get cocky. ~ Han Solo
In time, with practice and persistence, you might become the most powerful author or Authorpreneur ever. And if not the most powerful, then ranked among the best. That’s great! Just keep in mind that “success” can be powerfully intoxicating, and if you’re not careful it has the potential to take you from hero to zero in a hurry.
Quick! Off the top of your head, can you name any authors, musicians, or actors who were “one hit wonders?” Someone whose book, song, or movie became a best-seller and then no one ever heard from them again? What happened? Where did they go? If I thought long enough and hard enough I could come up with a few names, I’m sure. But for the most part their names elude us because they stopped producing. Maybe they thought they could ride on their success indefinitely—we’ll never know.
We can learn a great deal from this: if you want to continue being successful, you have to keep producing. Fans won’t stay fans forever, and readers will move on to other authors if you don’t keep fresh content coming.
13. I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan… The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master. ~ Darth Vader
You’ve arrived. Congratulations! You’ve got a few hundred (or thousand) followers on your blog. You’ve published 11 books and 18 journals, and have dozens of good-to-excellent reviews. You’ve been a guest on several podcasts. Now think of the possibilities.
If this is just where you want to be, that’s great! But if you want to take your career or business to another level, consider teaching others. You’ve established the credibility, now you’re in a position to make a difference. Share your knowledge and expertise in whatever subject you’ve been writing about. Continue to learn and grow and touch the lives of those around you and of those you may never meet. True Jedi masters never keep “The Force” to themselves; they turn it outward for the good of all.