Last night I watched a stand-up comedy special on Netflix from comedian Mo’Nique. She’s hilarious, no doubt about that, and I loved her in the movie Beerfest (which I’ve watched 15 times in the last two weeks because I was deconstructing it for my story community, Students of Story).
But what stood out most to me wasn’t her rolling-on-the-floor, tears-in-your-eyes jokes (although those were awesome too). It was her message.
This particular comedy special was called, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate, and was filmed at a women’s correctional facility in Ohio. Mo’Nique took the stage to make those women laugh and laugh and forget their problems, even if just for an hour.
And throughout the program she shared a core message: love and acceptance—of yourself and each other.
I talk a lot about being who you are and being unapologetic about it. Mo’Nique is a woman who is unapologetic about who she is—and not everyone likes it—yet her message shines through.
And that’s because the most effective and powerful way for her to deliver that message—to spread the message of love to the women of the correctional facility and all the people who watch her comedy special—is to be one-hundred percent herself.
If she got up on stage in a dress suit and started preaching a PC-version of loving each other and accepting who you are, everyone watching would’ve tuned her out. Her message, while extremely valid and valuable, would have been totally ignored.
But going out there as herself—proud-to-be-loud, dressed in a custom-made orange prison uniform with her own prisoner number, and then preaching the message of love and acceptance while telling jokes laced with f-bombs and sexual innuendos—that’s why her message shined through. That’s why she got claps and cheers and standing ovations from the crowd.
Because her message was so much more powerful delivered by Mo’Nique being exactly who she is. Her message resonated so much more because it came draped in laughter.
Creating Your Author Message
I’ve been thinking a lot about messaging as I’ve begun my transition from being a “story development coach” to doing alignment, kick-ass motivation and success mindset for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. And the funny thing is, even though I’m changing what I’m doing, my core message is still the same: take control of your writing destiny.
I’m all about freedom and taking control (of the things you can control, of course). I’m about knowing where you want to go with your writing life and then stepping up to do the work to get there.
That’s what it means to take control of your writing destiny. It means knowing what you want, writing it into reality, taking the physical actions to move in the direction of it, and then acting as-if it’s already a done deal.
That’s my message. A powerful one that needs to be shouted from the rooftops of the writing world. And that’s what I intend to do.
It’s what I’ve been doing. Only the previous version was not nearly as powerful as the version I’m shifting into. Because the previous version—while just as important and necessary—had me teaching craft to writers. And while writers totally need that—there are other people out there doing it. Lots of other people out there who teach the craft of writing novels.
So my message was getting muddied in all of that. Bogged down in trying to teach people craft while simultaneously helping them take control of their writing destinies (craft is a big part of taking control of your writing destiny).
Except I’m not really a teacher. I’m a leader. And there’s a big difference.
A teacher teaches you how to do something. But a leader shows you by example.
My message of freedom and taking control of your writing destiny is SO MUCH MORE powerful coming from me as the authorpreneur who walks my talk and lives the writing life on a daily basis than it is coming from a story development coach who helps people plan their stories.
And while I was still doing the authorpreneur thing while I’ve been doing the story coaching thing, I wasn’t really sharing it with anyone. I wasn’t talking about it very much—the details of what it’s really like to own a writing business and be an authorpreneur in the digital age.
So my message got watered-down.
But now my message is shining through from me showing up in the world, acting like the writer and author I want to be, and being one-hundred percent, unapologetically myself.
If you want to stand out and make an impact as an author—regardless of what kind of author you are; blogger, nonfiction, fiction—you need to have a core message. And then you need to let that core message shine through by showing up in the world as who you are (and who you want to be).
So, what’s your message?
What’s that thing you want to share with your readers, followers and fans? What do you want to be remembered for? What does the world need to hear?
You need an author message, no matter what kind of writing you do. People who follow you and read your stuff will resonate so much more with you if you do.
Because you’ll be resonating with them at a core level, not just a story level. They won’t just be connected to the stories you write, they’ll be connected to you as an author.
And that’s what you need if you want to make a career of this.
Any yahoo can sell a bunch of books one time, but it takes a true authorpreneur to stay in it for the long-haul.
To help you get started, I created a worksheet where you can brainstorm and create your author message. This message will then inform all of the choices you make for your author platform and all of the content you put out there.
Share with us
What’s your author message? What do you stand for?
If you want to craft your message and create your author platform, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. We do monthly group workshops that include building your author platform, crafting your message, growing your readership and more.