Balling the Jack

In the past week, I’ve had a lot of conversations with authors about book launches. They’ve said things like, “Why would you do that?” or “My publisher would never go for that.”

I’ve also had a lot of conversations about authenticity. About standing up for oneself, about being one’s truest self. “Oh, you’re a writer? What’s your real job?”

"Hi. I heard you have a museum here?"

“Hi. I heard you have a museum here?”

Living down to other people’s expectations. Taking the safe route. Doing what one is “supposed” to do.

My friends, I’ll tell you: I’m not a gambling man. I’ve spent most of life doing things “by the rules.” Hell, I’m the kind of person who goes to Las Vegas for the museums. Yeah. Nerd-alert! Surprise.

But for my upcoming novella, I’m balling the jack, risking everything on one attempt, going at full speed, and dancing just to have a great time.

The plain truth? I’m scared to death it won’t work. Fear: I can feel it in the shivering of my bones that says it’ll blow up in my face and I should go back to my day-job.

But that’s the way it is, right? The thing about courage is that you have to face the thing that scares you. The courage only comes afterward.

So when it feels like you’re about to bet the farm anyway? Lean in and give. Give it everything you’ve got. Then find some more and throw that on the table too. Hell, bet your shoes, your grandfather’s pocket watch, and the kids’ college fund, if that’s what it takes to stay in the game.

Because let’s be honest: No one talks about Normal around the water cooler. No one spends $65 dollars to see Normal on stage. Normal doesn’t get a hash-tag. Normal is for suckers.

So what’s the best way to stand out? Do what no one in their right mind expects.

So what does that look like?

“Yes. I’m a writer. If writing was easy, they’d call it ‘professional football.’ Now, unless you’ve actually written a book, you can have a Coke and a smile and sit the hell down.”

First, you have to realize that you don’t get to decide what extraordinary looks like. Your readers do. They’ll tell you when you’ve really done something phenomenal.

Second, you have to know what Normal looks like. In other words, what’s expected?

Third, you’ve got to go for broke. Meet expectations, then do something extraordinary.

Then find ways to keep doing it as you go along.

To see what big thing I’m doing for my novella, stay tuned. Next week, I’ll send you an email with some huge news. But you have to make sure you’re On The List.

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What have you done that feels extraordinary?

—33—

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About

Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.

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The Author
Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.
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