A few weekends ago, I brushed my hair, put on real clothes, cracked open a fresh notebook, and attended Tribe Conference for the first time.
Unlike many Tribe attendees, I hadn't been a long-time follower of Jeff Goins, the conference's founder and master of ceremonies, or a member of the Tribe Writers online workshop. As such, I didn't really have any idea what Tribe would be like. But it was a (semi) local conference and the lineup of speakers was impressive. So, without knowing quite what to expect, I loaded up my car and made the trek eastward on I-40 from Memphis to Franklin, TN, for the 2018 edition of Tribe.
These are my takeaways.
1: The more you say it, the more you believe it.
I've been a writer for years. Even now, writing this article (which I'm paid for, by the way) I have a hard time identifying as one.
I'm not really sure. Maybe it's because I don't feel like my work is good enough. (Yet.) Maybe it's because I haven't been traditionally published. (Yet.) Maybe it's just because I lack self-confidence. (Still.)
Whatever the reason, I rarely identify as a writer. When someone asks me what I do, I mumble something about marketing, even though 90% of the way that I make my money is by writing.
At Tribe 2018, Jeff Goins reminded me how wrong this was. There is power in words: the words you tell others and, perhaps even more so, the words you tell yourself.
Do you want to be a writer?
Start by saying you are.
2: There isn't one road. There are many.
If you want to make a career as an online writer or educator, there's a pretty specific path you're "supposed" to take. You're supposed to get a clever domain name (or just use your full name), map out a content calendar, write some useful, in-depth pieces about your chosen topics, mail them out to friends and family, do some social media promotion, and slowly, painfully, wait a few years until your website's traffic becomes large enough to monetize.
You don't have to do that.
There isn't just one road to success. There are many. You can travel along a well-worn path, or you can create your own. Joseph Michael of Learn Scrivener Fast talked a lot about this. His journey didn't follow a linear or traditional path. He was able to quickly increase his audience and profit by thinking outside the box and hyper-targeting his audience.
If you want to be a writer, if you want to be successful, if you want to be a speaker at Tribe 2019, you don't have to buckle down for the long haul, the stereotypical path.
Blaze your own!
3: We don't walk alone.
Perhaps my biggest takeaway from Tribe 2018 was this:
We don't walk alone.
The journey to success is a long one. And, more often than not, it feels isolating. As a writer (see, I'm saying it!), I spend most of the time working at home in my pajamas. And while that brings a lot of freedom, it also breeds loneliness. When you don't see anyone around you, it's easy to think that you're all by yourself.
But you're not.
There is community out there.
You can find your Tribe.
There's a certain kind of peace in finding people to share your journey with.
So what are you waiting for?
Go find them!