Fantastic Friday: Read This



Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to make your cup of coffee. Because this week I have a few articles for you to read with your morning coffee.

But these quotes and articles are special for another reason.

On Monday, it will be the 5-year anniversary of when I began my gig as a full-time, indie writer. To “celebrate” I’m doing something special next week.

Today’s Fantastic Friday links are to particular articles that have been meaningful or impactful to me in some way over the past 5 years.

And, I have to say, picking out just 4 articles was nigh impossible. I had to print out the titles and URLs of at least 100 different articles from my Instapaper Likes and Pinboard bookmarks. Then I put them all up on a wall and threw four darts.* The four items below are the ones that got stuck.

* Okay, not really. But I should have thrown darts. That would have been awesome.



1. 1,000 True Fans

No doubt you’ve heard of this Kevin Kelly article, if you haven’t already read it once or twice (or a dozen times — ahem).

Kelly’s proposal is that an independent artist needs only about 1,000 True Fans to make a living. Ideally, the artist has a direct connection with his or her fan base and is able to create art directly for those people.

Over my years as an indie writer, I have tried to be honest and transparent with you: my “true fans”. I have tried to write about things and create things that are as helpful and exciting for you to read or use as they are for me to put together.

And, in my experience, it’s feasible.

Not that I have a count on how many “true fans” are around. But I do know that it takes less people than you’d think to help you earn a living, so long as you’re doing your best to provide as much value in return as possible.



2. The Nerd Handbook

I remember reading this article years ago, and I’ve never forgotten about it. Michael Lopp is one of my favorite writers, and his Nerd Handbook article is a riot.

(It’s funny because it’s true!)

If you’re a nerd, read it and weep. Then forward it to you significant other. If you’re not a nerd, you might be married to one, so you had still better read it.



3. What Screens Want

Now we come to Frank Chimero. Frank’s writing is clear and incredible. His book, The Shape of Design, is one of my all-time favorite books.

And, as with most of Franks writing, in his article about What Screens Want you’ll find a secret message that’s not so much about design as it is about being intentional with our choices (and loosening up a bit).

Take the time to read Frank’s article straight through on the site. And be sure you’re in a setting where you can watch the short in-line videos.



4. How to Get Good at Making Money

This article from Jason Fried is just a little over 5 years old, and I have referenced it over and over again. In short: you get good at making money the same way you get good at anything else: practice.


* * *


In other news…

Exactly five years ago today, I was taking the day off. Yep. I remember it clearly.

I had just quit my job as a marketing and creative director and was about to start my new job as a work-for-myself, work-from-home writer.

It seemed reasonable to give myself a 3-day weekend before starting my new job. So I took Friday off. Then, on Monday, April 4, 2011, I started my new job as a full-time, indie writer.

Five years later, I’m still here. Thanks entirely to you, dear reader.

Next week I’ve got each day planned out. I’ll be sharing stories about the past five years and more. Can’t wait!