Insider Secrets


When I was a kid- my grade eight math teacher told our class about a mail-order scam where someone would put an ad in the classifieds–offering an ancient secret to becoming rich and famous. All you had to do was send nine dollars to a box number and the secret of unlimited wealth would be yours.

A few weeks later, a booklet in a plain brown package would arrive. You would tear open the package to discover that the secret was putting your own ad in the paper-and sending out the booklet yourself.  You could buy the booklet in bulk. You could put your ad in multiple newspapers and then before you knew it  you would be raking in the millions, nine bucks at a time.

I don’t think the mail-order scam is still around, but we have plenty of high tech versions of the same thing.

Recently out of curiosity,  I signed up for a free seminar that promised to teach the secrets to becoming a best selling author on

I realized pretty quickly that the the free seminar was just a pitch for the upgrade.

An upgrade would give me instant access to the special secret insider info, which was being shared for the first time by the hottest-most powerful, most successful superstars in the booming billion dollar e-book business. Apparently there were over ten thousand people who had already clicked through to the upgrade according to the ticking counter on the sidebar.  The upgrades were going like hotcakes.

Now I am a little bit overly skeptical by nature,  probably because of the x-ray glasses that I trustingly sent away for when I was eight. My x-ray glasses were a real life lesson.  But apparently there are many people who are willing to  believe that the flow of  wealth is only a secret away.

I clicked over to the upgrade page just to see what the deal was.

I saw–various upgrade packages available. For  two hundred and fifty dollars you would get the seminar but the  five hundred dollar bundle would get you the seminar plus the bonus lessons, and if you wanted to go directly to the sanctum of  insider secrets– well that would be a thousand dollars where you could get the seminar and the bonus lessons and a private coaching session from one of the experts,  plus  they would help you build your own website so that you could sell your ebooks and offer seminars  where you could sell  insider secrets. Well, I clicked myself out of there pretty quickly– but I have to admit a part of me was thinking, “Was I being negative again? Was I being fearful and closed minded? Was I blocking the flow of wealth and money?”  “No!” said the other part of me. What kind of inside track would you be on if ten thousand people were on it with you? That seminar and all those so called secrets were just the mail-order scam 2.0.

It’s kind of a metaphor for our human frailty. We want to believe there’s a short cut, a secret door, an easy way to get rich quick. Even rational intelligent people with college educations  and a lot of success in life will fall for Ponzi schemes.

Here is my secret.  And it’s free.  If you want to get rich writing ebooks, write one. Find out how hard it is to  actually write a book. Find out how difficult it is to shape an original idea and then develop it into something that makes sense. Find out how writing is painful and takes diligence and determination and time. A lot of time. Then when you have done that– you can look into how to sell it and get people to buy it.  It goes for anything in life. Do the work. There’s no shortcut. There’s no secret.



The morning ramble.

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. Ursula Le Guin

I think that creative people struggle with the idea of recognition.

There is something about feeling like a show off and being made to feel ashamed, that is confusing.

We are not supposed to admit we want to be recognized and praised and rewarded and seen and understood.

Recognition is a big part of how an artist moves forward in the world.

If no one sees your paintings, or no one reads your words it’s hard to keep going.

If no one recognizes your work is of merit it is hard to keep working.

Recognition is the light that helps us see where we are going when the road is dark.

And it hurts and confuses us when our work goes unrecognized.

And we can become resentful and jealous when we see others who are,

successful, loved, appreciated; their work acknowledged and praised.

I thought about Ursula le Guin’s quote at the top of this post and I thought Yes.

I would love to have readers.

I would love to liberate my little black marks, and send them flying

into the hearts and minds of my audience.

I would love to be adored.

It would be grand. So would large sums of money pouring daily into my bank account.

Normally I would not admit any of this. Too embarrassing. Too egotistical.

But I do admit it. All of it. I admit how I would swoon to be recognized,

and rewarded for the effort I make as an artist.

I shrink and shrivel in despair when I am ignored.

So having admitted this to the world or at least to the four or five people

who will see this post–

I ask myself how to achieve this? Let me think. Hmmmm?

Excuse me, I am thinking. Uh??????


Oh Gawd. Yikes. I dunno! I have no idea.


Because– if I think about the murky world of achieving success-

my brain immediately kicks into a coma like state.

I don’t need a coma like state right now.

I am trying to write a blog post and I am trying to write a play.

And luckily I have already come to terms with this question.

I have the answer. It’s simple.

The “hows” of being recognized, acclaimed, loved etc– are a waste of time.

The “how to be successful strategies” will usually result in defeat.

We will come up with lots of wrong “hows” and then feel as if we have

failed if the “hows” don’t work. It’s not about the hows.

God, Fate, life, the mysterious forces of the universe will take care of the “hows”

My job is not to put time into thinking how I will be recognized for my work

My job is to do the work. I don’t need to think for one second about how to achieve recognition.

The thing I need to think about is what is my story about?

At least for now. What is my character’s name?

What is her relationship with her husband, brother, mother etc.?

What is my character doing right now? What hilarious thing will she say next?

What will happen in the end to my character? Is she going to die or–

will they discover a miraculous cure just in time?

Am I in love with my characters?

If not why? Am I excited by my story?

My concern with recognition is not within my power to influence.

Not really, not now. Because what I want to be recognized for– is really good work.

Sometimes I wonder if I should be trying harder to get more readers for this blog.

I don’t have many fans or followers and I could be disheartened by that.

But I am not actually devoted to writing blog posts that bring waves of readers to my site.

Not that I wouldn’t love that–but that is not my true goal.

And I think you have to be clear on the true goal and it can’t be recognition.

I have looked at the sites that tell you how to be a successful blogger

And I am not following their advice. I can’t.

Because it matters to me what I am recognized for if I am ever so blessed to be recognized.

Sure Writing the 10 best ways to have multiple orgasms while writing a novel

could very well drive traffic to my blog. So would “lose weight while writing”.

That is not what I want to do. That is not my work.

So I will continue to come humbly to the work–that I really love and want to do–

quietly recognizing myself and acclaiming myself and my commitment

to tell my stories in my own voice and build my craft as a writer.

I will shine my own light on my own path, and stay on the path,

dark and lonely as it may be–as diligently and devotedly as I can.

Even if diligence is sporadic–with breaks and rests and endless interruptions and delays.

I will stay on the path and let the “hows” of recognition take care of themselves.