My Big Distraction — and how it can be a good thing.
I was super excited about writing a few months ago. I was really gung-ho about blogging and sharing my author journey with the world. I posted some Medium articles, some blog posts and some Reddit threads.
I started getting some traction and a few followers… and I was actually writing my books. Progress was happening.
At the end of 2015 I posted my really audacious goals for 2016… then I sort of disappeared.
I got distracted. By something big.
What is my new shiny object?
There have been a few people that have asked me some version of this question: if you haven’t been writing these past couple of months, what have you been working on?
The very short answer to that question: I’ve been working on the Author Stash.
Of course there’s a longer version of this story:
I have wanted to be an author for a large chunk of my life. I always planned that someday I would write a book and someday I would publish it. As early as 2004 I had started making outlines for books that I would write — someday.
In 2008 I started looking into writing pretty seriously but I never really got past the research phase. Every few months I would get the urge to write again so I would go to my fall back activity — research.
I looked into self-publishing, editing, traditional publishing, outlining, brainstorming, print-on-demand, writing formats and everything other variation of “how to write & publish a book” that I could research. Really, it was all just procrastination.
And I didn’t write.
However the one smart thing I did during all of this research — I bookmarked everything. Any resource I found I would throw in a “someday I’ll need this” spreadsheet. I had several hundred bookmarks and resources in my spreadsheet by the time I finally decided to start writing last year.
When I needed to learn about outlining or idea generation I would go to my spreadsheet and look up a couple of my bookmarks. List of word processors? Got it. Book Marketing — it was there too. Just about everything I needed was on my list.
I started finding more resources. More tools. Other authors were recommending different courses. More bookmarks. More rows on the spreadsheet.
I’m part of a few closed Facebook groups and I frequent a few writing subs on Reddit. I found a lot of aspiring authors asking the same questions — How do I do this? Where can I find this? What’s a good resource for this? Is this course worth it?
Sometimes I would answer them. Most the time I would just think to myself — yeah, I know where you could find that… on my spreadsheet. Then I would move on.
Then something changed.
Why distractions can be okay sometimes
A few months ago I read Bram Kanstein’s article on how he launched his resource list for startups — Startup Stash — and how it hit number one of all time on Product Hunt. Around that same time I read a post on Medium about side projects and one on ViperChill which actually referenced Startup Stash as a good example of a “side project”.
(And just so I don’t sound ungrateful, thanks to Bram, Ali and Glen for the inspiration and push to get started)
Uh oh, the stars were aligning — or at least they were telling me something.
Before I read all of these articles, I had been toying with the idea of creating a couple different websites for aspiring authors. One of them would be a compilation of some of the best resources I had found.
Maybe someday after I had made it as a “real author” I would be able to create this site to give back to the community — yeah, someday.
I mean I had to make it big first right? I had to be somebody in self-publishing, a well-known author or even a *gasp* best selling author to have enough clout to be able to share my “wisdom” with others. Right?
What these articles made me realize was that I could do something about this today. I only had to be the expert to the extent that I could aggregate the information and find a way to share it.
Light bulb moment.
That’s when I decided to share my “Stash” with the writing community.
What is The Stash and what have I done so far?
Author Stash is a user-ranked directory of resources for authors so they can write and sell more books.
What that means is I have aggregated a whole bunch of resources and tools for authors and I’ve made it so other authors/users can rate each resource. This way others seeking for that type of solution can get a good idea as to whether or not a particular resource, book, blog, course, or other tool is worth their time.
As of right now I have about 700 resources categorized and indexed on my spreadsheet. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve started to cull the list and do the initial rankings and description posts.
Over the next few weeks I’ll finish all of the individual listings for the directory and then create a few posts & pages for the website.
The Stash will probably launch with about 50 fully fleshed out categories and about 450–500 resources (it launches in the first week of April).
There’s an editor & book cover designer directory as well as a few different “Top 10” listings for popular categories.
It should be a spectacular resource for authors and even marketers.
The feedback I’ve gotten from people who have seen the sneak preview have told me that it’s a pretty awesome and useful tool. That’s promising.
If you want to get a preview before the launch you can head over to the landing page — www.authorstash.com — and sign up to the email list to check it out.
We (collectively) need everyone’s help to make this the best author resource directory around. I’m excited to share this with everyone and I really hope it becomes the go-to tool for people getting started.
**If you have a great resource that you use please feel free to send it to me, add it in the comments below or just wait until the launch to see if it’s there and then you can vote on it.**
Here’s to your success!
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If you have a similar experience or a great story to tell please put a comment below and let’s chat.
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Originally published at RE Benjamin.