Matthew Turner is a coffee-drinking Brit from the area of England famous for its tea. That sets the tone for Matthew’s renegade creator persona, and that’s just on the surface, like his handlebar mustache. Yep, that’s real!
Everything about Matthew is of the creative rebel persuasion with a large potion of humor, but he also gets a lot done.
Matthew Turner is the author of EIGHT published books—both, fiction and non-fiction—as of this podcast. He’s the founder of Turndog Publishing, where his bio says:
“I’m a writer, storyteller, father, and guy striving towards my own definition of freedom and success.” Matthew Turner
We can relate and chances are you can as well.
Matthew also helps millennial entrepreneurs align their business and mindset, so they build a lasting legacy, a value we share.
Matthew’s articles have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Product Hunt, Copy Blogger, and he’s been interviewed on EOFire and other prominent podcasts. Raising our coffee cup to Matthew Turner for taking the time to share his story, knowledge and experience with us. Cheers!
LeAura Alderson: This is the iCreateDaily Podcast, a movement for creators serious about their art. I’m LeAura.
Devani Alderson: And I’m Devani, and today we’re joined by Matthew Turner. Matthew is the founder Turndog Publishing, and he’s published seven books, six of them fiction, and one nonfiction. His bio says, “I’m a writer, storyteller, father, and guy striving towards my own definition of freedom and success,” which we love.
He also helps millennial entrepreneurs align their business and mindset, so they build a lasting legacy, other things that we’re about, too, so this is perfect. Matthew’s articles have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Product Hunt, Copy Blogger, and he’s been interviewed on EOFire and other prominent podcasts, and last but not least, he enjoys a rich cup of black coffee. Cheers to that.
Matthew Turner: The most important part of it.
Devani Alderson: Yeah.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, I mean, you’re a Brit, so it’s coffee not tea, so that’s important to know.
Matthew Turner: Yeah, I am one of the rarities over here, I don’t do tea. I’m from a part of the country, as well, which is quite famous for its tea.
Devani Alderson: Oh, wow.
Matthew Turner: Go figure.
Devani Alderson: You’re a rebel.
Matthew Turner: I am.
Devani Alderson: This is where the entrepreneurial, rebellion started.
LeAura Alderson: It started early, right?
Matthew Turner: Started with my love for coffee, what can I say.
LeAura Alderson: So, where are you? You said a part of the country known for its tea, so where are you?
Matthew Turner: I’m in a little town called Halifax. We’re based in Yorkshire, which is the North of England, and one of the bigger brands, I won’t say, I couldn’t really tell you if it’s a good brand or not because I haven’t drunk a cup of tea since I was about seven, but Yorkshire tea is quite a famous one. From where I live, people enjoy a good cup of tea, but I’m one of the rarities. Although coffee is popular too, especially these days. Coffee is just expanding all the time, so I’m quite lucky. More and more good coffee shops are opening up where I live all the time, so I get to write there, and I get to just drink coffee there. It’s what I do, it’s what I love.
Devani Alderson: You started the revolution.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah.
Matthew Turner: I don’t know if I quite started it, but yeah let’s go with that.
LeAura Alderson: Let’s go with that, sounds good. You heard it here first.
Matthew Turner: There you go.
LeAura Alderson: Matthew, we’re very inspired with your prolific creations. Seven books published plus an entrepreneurial coach and mentor and other things going on in your life. Hasn’t always been that way, you haven’t always been published, so how did you get started with the first one? How did you get started in this, where you’re basically living your passion?
Matthew Turner: Wow. It began way back. I’ve just turned 33 actually, and I started writing when I was around about 21. It was after a pretty rough breakup. I was in your ends of the world, I was in Kentucky. I basically worked at a summer camp throughout my 20s, so I spent a lot of summers in the Cincinnati area. There was one summer where I fell in love, and then I went home, and it was a tough breakup. One of the things which she suggested I do is to just write and show my feelings. I think she meant writings in a journal, but I didn’t go along that path. Before I knew it, an idea came, and it just blossomed, and then I thought, “Oh, I could maybe write a book.”
I hadn’t taken an English class since I was about 15, and I still haven’t taken an English class ever since. But what I’ve discovered since then and throughout my 20s is that I’ve had a fantastical love for storytelling. And I’m probably more creative in throughout my life, probably more than I give myself credit for. I always enjoyed to be creative, just not necessarily in the way of drawing and literature when I was younger, at least. But I’ve always been quite creative. I’ve always enjoyed stories, and I’ve always embraced storytelling.
Kind of skip forward to when I was about 27. I finally got to a stage where I was like, “Right, I’m either gonna finish this book, or not.” Because I’d finished writing it when I probably was around about 22, and I would leave it, and I would go back to it, and I would edit it, and I had these grand visions and dreams of, “Maybe it’ll get picked up by a publisher one day,” but of course I wouldn’t send it out. I didn’t send it to an agent. I didn’t really do anything with it.
I just got to a point where I was like, “Right, okay. I am going to give this book one final edit, and I am going to send it to an agent, and I will just see what comes of it. I’m gonna complete the process, because I’ve spent the last six years doing nothing with it. So I’m gonna complete the process, either it gets picked up or it doesn’t, but at least I feel like I can put it to bed.”
But in doing so, I started researching more and more, and I found self-publishing, and that led me into the online world, and I met online marketers and online writers. It just opened my eyes. I suppose I knew all these things existed, but I just wasn’t a part of it, and I just didn’t know what it actually involved. I was marketer, that’s my trade, so I thought, “Well, the hell with giving it to an agent. I’m a marketer, how about I just get it out there?” And I did. My first book was Beyond Parallel, I finally left my job so I could focus more on my own writing but also on some kind of marketing consultancy. I had no idea what it would look like at the time.
I should, in hindsight, have probably stayed in the working world longer, to both bring in a little bit more money, but also to find my [inaudible [00:05:38] In hindsight, I probably should have stayed in the working world longer, one to get some more money, but also to just figure out what I wanted to do, what value I was gonna bring to the table. But I didn’t do that, and I did release Beyond Parallel, and I self-published it, and straight after that I start writing on my next book, which is Tick to the Tock. Straight after that I started writing on my third novel, I Unlove You, and each one of these all had a few short stories aligned with them all.
Between all of this, I was working on The Success Mistake, which is my nonfiction book, and I interviewed a lot of people for that. It’s just been a journey of self discovery, really. I’ve learnt so much doing it all, and it all began with a rough break up. Hopefully that gives you a nice sort of snapshot, long-winded one, of how it all kind of began.
Devani Alderson: [crosstalk [00:06:30] Thanks to whoever the girl is from that one summer, right?
LeAura Alderson: Can you imagine?
Matthew Turner: That’s it, you know?
LeAura Alderson: I mean, what if, right?
Matthew Turner: Well, it’s funny that you say “What if,” because Beyond Parallel, the first book, is all about “What if.” That is basically the premise of this book, this idea of “What if.” I’ve always, I suppose, been quite curious about “What if,” and that year particular afterwards, I was all about “What if.” What if I’d have said this? What if I’d have done that? What if I’d have done this differently? Would my life be any different now? And I suppose I still look at that.
Like you say, what if that summer hadn’t have happened? Would I have found writing, still? Maybe, but maybe not. We could potentially all live a billion lives, and we’re only given one. It’s a fascinating and daunting and scary medium.
Devani Alderson: It’s a perfect medium for a writer though, because we’re writing about parallel realities that we make up. It makes sense.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, definitely.
Matthew Turner: Absolutely. And it’s always, how you say [inaudible [00:07:35] it’s how I’ve made sense of things, is I’ve started writing more recently after a bit of a hiatus, and I feel so much more clear about things. Ideas spring forward. It’s amazing. Once you start putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard, the ideas spill forward, and then you can just take them and who knows what will come of it, but something good usually.
LeAura Alderson: Definitely. I want to touch back on a couple of things you said in the intro. So, you were working full time when you started your writing career, correct?
Matthew Turner: Yeah.
LeAura Alderson: So many in our audience are at that place where they know that they want to do something more than the job job, they want to do something from their soul, from their passion, something that they’re interested in and something creative, and yet they feel like they might have to do it full time in order for it to work. But you started part-time. You did say that maybe in retrospect you could have gone longer doing it part-time in order to build a more solid financial foundation, but it’s worked for you. You made it work. How did you make it work, during that time when you were working full time and then writing part-time? What was your daily schedule like? How disciplined and structured were you?
Matthew Turner: Compared to who I am today, not really that disciplined at all, to be honest. I suppose when I first started writing I was a student, so that was a little bit easier because you do have a bit more unstructured time as a student, especially when I was doing my Masters. But I did have time to write in the evenings. When I got my job it was just a case of sitting down in the evening and saying, “I’m gonna write a blog post right now. I’m gonna do a little bit of editing. I’m gonna do a bit of this.”
I was quite always lucky to not have to strict of a job, too. They weren’t on my every move, so I would sometimes go in and still check on some comments, do a bit of this, do a bit of that. I just kind of made it work, but I didn’t really have a schedule as much. I just was exploring, and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I felt like [inaudible [00:09:34] I knew, and in retrospect I just had no idea. I’m only just now getting to a point where I feel like I’m starting to properly understand what it looks like.
But hey, speak to me in five years time, and I might still be in [inaudible [00:09:47]. In retrospect, I didn’t. You don’t even know what you know. But I would like to touch upon this idea of people still at work. One and two branch off and do something on their own and take that passion further. There’s a couple of key things which I’ve learned, and if I could go back again, I would probably do this.
This first is, it’s crazy to just [inaudible [00:10:12] upon your own life. Have that job or do some freelance, do something to keep it coming in. Not just for the money, because it forces you to work on your passion when you’re tired. You learn so much during that period. If you’re having to build something, whether it’s writing, or podcasting, drawing, design, whatever. If you have to [inaudible [00:10:33] that after a long day of working or studying and you’re tired, and you’re still doing that and after several months you’re still enjoying it, that says that it really is a passion to stick around.
Another thing I’ve also learnt from other people more than from myself, is that once you start doing it, test it. Get it out there. And once you feel you’ve got to a point where you could potentially leave your job and go out on your own, stick at it for at least another three or four months. Because that extra three or four months, you’ll build greater traction, you’ll earn more money, you’ll save more money, and again it’s forcing you to appreciate that it’s not just about the passion. That your passion also has to have purpose.
And then this is final point until I let it back over to your fine selves, is passion alone is never enough. You need to have passion and purpose. If all you’ve got is purpose and you’re not passionate about your work, I think you’ll get to a point where it’ll just feel like a job. But if all you’ve got is passion and there’s no purpose to it, you’ve basically got a hobby.
It’s about finding and validating that what you do is something that you love, and it’s something that you’re good at, and something that you bring value to the table, but also making sure that there’s a purpose to it, that it’s helping other people. It’s providing a service, and those people are willing to pay for it. Because if you don’t have that, you don’t really have a business, and you don’t really have a career. And that’s something I’m still learning myself. It’s something I’m still constantly evaluating and going, “Have I got the balance right between this passion and purpose?” At times I think I do, at times I think I don’t. But stick at it, and if you can do that, and make sure there’s passion plus purpose, and then you validate and you keep at it for at least three or four months longer than you think it should, you’ve set the foundations for such great success.
LeAura Alderson: I love that. That is so important, and it’s such great advice, really. We’re gonna make sure that … In fact, we’re gonna send that out in an email to our people to make sure they get those three points, because that’s so impactful. We’ve often talked about here, it’s sort of like the things that … In particularly as Devani was growing and her brother were growing up from homeschooling and sometimes other schools, in and out, you know how kids … All of us really latch on to different things that we think we would love to do, but really, the proof is in the pudding. Where the rubber meets the road is, if it is that we’re compelled to do it even when we’re tired. So that’s such an excellent point.
Matthew Turner: For instance, at the minute I’ve been liking yoga a lot recently. I’ve kind of got into it in the last couple of years, and I do it. But I don’t do it all that often. I do it like once a week, and if I got to a point right now and say, “Well, I like yoga, I get a lot from yoga, I’m passionate about yoga. Maybe I’ll do it two times a week.” And then I do it two times a week. Well then I just, “You know what? I’m gonna become a yoga teacher and it’s gonna be my life. I’m gonna leave the corporate world and just do that.”
And it would just be a crazy thing to do, because I don’t know what it’s like to do yoga every single day, let alone do it every single day, several times each day. Do you love yoga enough for that? You don’t know until you do it, so it would be a case of do it two times a week, do it three time a week, take a course, throw yourself into that world. And after six months of doing so and then maybe another six months of doing a few classes here and there were you teach part-time, and you still you come back and go, “I love yoga. I love what it does for me personally, I love helping other people do yoga.”
That’s when you know that actually, “Yeah, I could be a yoga instructor.” But just going to a couple of classes a week and having a passion in that way doesn’t mean that you’re gonna find a passion enough to have that be your world. And it’s exactly the same with things like writing. Some people enjoy writing in the sense of, they like to write for five minutes in their journal every morning. But do they love writing enough to write a book? To write for six, seven hours a day? To do all the edits and do everything else? You don’t know until you try it.
Devani Alderson: Yeah, that’s such a good point, and it’s so practical, too. Because a lot of times we hear a lot of advice of, “Go try different things,” but it’s not just trying different things, because you can be … For me, for instance, I can be very, very passionate about this and that, but when you really sit down and examine like you were saying, “Okay, do I actually have a purpose behind doing this? Is there something deeper here that’s bringing me joy besides just doing the thing?” In terms of turning it into a career.
I mean, it’s fine to have your hobbies. That’s great. I think it inspires a lot of creativity in people.
LeAura Alderson: And relaxation.
Devani Alderson: And relaxation and ideas, and it just generates positive, healthy energy in your life. But you have to back it up with the practical of like, “Okay, do you like this enough to put in the 10,000 hours to become the expert?” Type thing, you know? “Are you going to put in the time it takes to become the key person in this field of endeavor?”
LeAura Alderson: And especially knowing that basically a lot of that means alone time just working hard. When you’re writing, it’s just you and the page, the computer, and it’s a long haul to bring the book from inception to completion.
Matthew Turner: It’s a labor of love. Whenever I speak to an author who’s brought out a book, at least one who’s written the book themselves and are passionate about it, it’s a true labor of love. We love it. I love to write, and I love the writing process. Even to an extent, I love the editing process, because it allows you to turn something that was once maybe just a conceptual idea into actual … “I feel like this could help certain people. I feel like this could have an impact.”
But the editing process is so hard. It’s so drawn out, and the fact is, by the time you publish your book, you just are sick and tired of your book. You got to a point where you have to now promote and say to people, “Yeah, you should read my book.” Where all you want to say is, “Don’t read my book. I hate my book.” And I think that is pretty much the same in any sort of creative discipline, because if you want to make something great, you need to throw yourself into it, and you don’t just do that in 10 minutes.
Every now and then, maybe you get lucky and you create genius out of nothing, but the fact is … I’ve been writing loads of Facebook long posts recently, and I’ve purposely not been editing them. They’ve just been mind dumps. And I have no idea how good or not they are, but I know that if I was to just take all those posts, which in its own on Facebook is okay, but then throw them into a book, it would be terrible.
I would need to throw myself into it, to refine it, bring it together, expand on certain things, edit it. It would take a long time to do it, and I think that’s where people sometimes get a little bit disillusioned with things. Because it’s like, “I enjoyed the writing bit, but I don’t like the actual getting it all together bit.” But it’s the getting it all together bit that makes the profession. Just doing the writing but is the hobby bit.
Devani Alderson: That’s such a good point, because we actually talked with another guy on our podcast about just the romanticized version of craft, and the version that we see … So, we look at a successful person who has publish many books, like you’ve published many books, and there’s somebody probably looking at you like, “Oh my God, I want that life.”
What they don’t realized are the years and the long days and the hours that is spent doing the profession, which is training yourself to hone your quality of work. It’s showing up when you really don’t want to show up, when you’re tired. It’s figuring out the purpose of what you’re trying to convey to people. And that is where you turn pro, in doing that grind.
Matthew Turner: Absolutely, and I think a great analogy of this is, imagine you sign up, it’s January first, and you’re saying, “I’m gonna run a marathon on December first, so eleven months from now.” Now, the glory in the thought of running a marathon, you’re like, “That would be such an amazing day. It would be such a great achievement. It’ll be fantastic.” And it would be so easy to just sign up for that marathon, but the reality is, if you’ve only ever run a mile, you’re gonna have to turn up, day in, day out, week in, week out, and progressively go further. You’re gonna probably get injured at some point. It’s gonna be painful. It’s gonna be hard. You have to run in the rain and the cold. It’s 11 months of running. And although you may enjoy the occasional run, you’re not gonna know just how much you love or hate running until you start running a lot.
But then the flip side of it, because I don’t want to put people off, is that you’ve actually got 11 months to run a marathon. Day one, you are this person who struggles to run a mile. You find running okay, you enjoy the little bit you do. The thought of running 26 miles is daunting, to say the least. But you can break it down. You don’t need to be running a marathon tomorrow. You can actually give yourself 11 months to humble yourself, to learn to practice, to learn about diet, to learn about things, progressively get better and better.
And it’s exactly the same with any craft. Where you are right now is probably not where you need to be 10 years from now. But you know what? You don’t need to be where you’re gonna be in 10 years. Where you are right now is fine. Just commit and say, “All right, I want to write that book, and at the minute I’ve got an idea.” If you want to take that idea into a book, there is no romance in it. It’s hard. It is going to hurt. But you can get there by appreciating it just as a step after a step after a step. You just keep making them until there are no more steps left, and the book’s out there.
LeAura Alderson: You really have to enjoy the journey, and inculcate that. And this is where … Studies of kids who could delay gratification have proven that they are most likely to be successful as adults, and that really applies to any field and any endeavor. We can a vision of where we want to go, and it’s important to have that vision, and then to reverse engineer that to how we’re going to get there, and to recognize that it is a process and it is a journey that is supposed to be enjoyed as well.
If we were to set out cross country from the East Coast to the West Coast, then we know where we’re going to end up, and we want to go there, and there are things we want to do when we’re there. But there’s lots to enjoy along the way, and it’s really important to do that.
Matthew Turner: Absolutely. Got to resist those marshmallows.
LeAura Alderson: We resist those marshmallows. Say more about that, I got to get on the same page with you.
Matthew Turner: Just the test that you talk about there, there’s a book I read not long ago actually, I could show you by Walter Mischel, The Marshmallow Test.
LeAura Alderson: Right, there you go. You got it.
Matthew Turner: So the kids who delayed gratification. It’s very true. Anything that is sweet and amazing and wonderful, it’s fantastic to have that goal in mind. “I want that book. I want that publication. I want this, I want that.” But like you say, it’s the journey that gets you there. There’s a lot to be said about being able to resist the temptation for insisting on now. If you just had everything now, you would never have time to enjoy anything, because you’d just be swimming in glory all the time, and that wouldn’t be that fun.
So the journey that gets you there, although it can be really hard at times, and to be quite honest, I think if you’re gonna get in any sort of creative endeavor, it will be hard at times. It will. There’s a lot to be said for it.
LeAura Alderson: Sorry to interrupt there. It’s like the marathon analogy that you used. If you’re enjoying the journey, then you’re also enjoying not only the experience of the running, but how you’re getting healthier and stronger each day. As a writer, how you’re honing your craft and getting better. And I think back to the editing process that you mentioned. You have to go through and edit it, and all of that. The books are a lot like our children. We love them dearly, but there are days that … Not really, but …
Devani Alderson: Keep talking.
LeAura Alderson: But I think that the other part of that that I wanted to mention, it is through the editing process that we become better writers. So it’s so critical that we do something that we go through, that we wear all the different hats in the beginning. I think that it’s also okay that once we’ve gone through that a few times, we can graduate to the place of being able to hire others to do some of that for us.
Matthew Turner: Yeah, I absolutely agree, 100 percent.
LeAura Alderson: You want to [inaudible [00:23:47]
Devani Alderson: Yeah. You mention on your site, Turndog.co, which we’ll like in the host article, but you mention on your site that storytelling takes many forms for you. You have your books, your blogging, you publish on social media a lot. I follow you on social media, so I see a lot of those great stories. And you also say that you help other people with their storytelling. Can you elaborate on that process? Are you helping people develop brands? Are you editing? How do you help other people with their storytelling?
Matthew Turner: It’s taken on a few forms over the years. I’ve done sort of brand storytelling for businesses before, and I’ve helped sort of coach other people with personal brands. It very much usually focuses around this idea in marketing, in some forms. These days, it’s more on the content marketing side of things, looking to do … At the end of the day, I love storytelling. I love narrative. If you gave me a choice to just write boring copy … I don’t mean to diss copywriters at all, because they’re fantastic. The way certain people can create a fantastic sales email or a sales page is great, and there can be story in it, but not always. You don’t necessarily need great story to have a very good sales page or a journalistic article or something like that.
But for me, stories where a narrative is where it all brings it together. Because as human beings we trust stories, so whether it’s for a brand, whether it’s for a book, whether it’s for a talk, a TV show, we trust stories. Because for millennia, it’s how we passed on knowledge. Reading and writing is a relatively new thing, when you look at the grand picture. People would pass on information by sharing stories. And most of us have very fond memories of stories from a young child sat on grandma’s lap or whatever, and it’s … Books before bed.
So we trust stories, and from a marketing point of view, I suppose I’ve always enjoyed the idea of using story to help great marketing, because it’s just more of an emotional approach to it, a more organic approach. And studying marketing at school, I got to see a good overview of the various forms of marketing, and quite honestly I don’t like a lot of it. But I do like some of it. So it’s like, can I use story for it?
So, when I help people with storytelling, it’s usually on that sort of thing. It’s the idea of trying to bring together story and marketing. At the minute a lot of that is content marketing, content for other people, trying to get their grand lie through that.
Devani Alderson: Awesome.
LeAura Alderson: Fantastic. So, your nonfiction book, you have one nonfiction book and six fiction books. Your nonfiction is The Successful Mistake, and it features the stories of critical mistakes of 163 successful people that catalyzed their success. Could you share a story of a mistake that contributed to your success?
Matthew Turner: I think a really big one for me is … I’ve talked about it a few times, but it was during the creation of the book. Like you said, I interviewed 163 people, and from the get go I focused on quantity. I wanted to interview a lot of people because I felt that would make the book special. And I’m not saying that it didn’t, it was an amazing experience connecting with all those people, and I got pretty good at connecting with people, but I didn’t do a good job of then taking those connections and forming relationships.
In other words, I spent all my time connecting, and very little time nurturing. And when it came to present the book and crowdfunding the book and all these things, I thought, “Wow, I’ve got 163 people in the book, they’re all gonna buy a copy, they’re gonna share it with their audience, yada yada yada.” And for the most part, [inaudible [00:27:51]. And I started thinking, “What’s the deal?” I started getting mad, upset, angry, [inaudible [00:27:57] myself, [inaudible [00:27:59] other people. And then it dawned on me. I had been a taker.
I had been a taker. I never intentionally became a taker, I didn’t wake up and go, “I want to be the person who is always asking?” But I had become that person. I don’t even know really where it happened, but I think it boiled down to this idea of, I focused on the quantity. I was constantly thinking about, “I need more people in the book,” and then forgetting to touch base with them a few weeks later, a few months later, and just chatting with them, and just touching base and saying, “Hey, I’ve not spoken to you a few months. How’s life?”
And that taught me a lot, because it taught me that I had become that guy. It also taught me that I really do not want to be that guy. I don’t want to be that guy in a personal sense where I only speak to my friends when I’ve got a new book out and I need their help, and I don’t want to be that guy in a professional sense where I’m constantly reaching out to people and saying, “Oh yeah, will you be on a podcast? Will you be this, will you be that?” And then just not speak to them again until the next time I need something. I want to be someone who starts relationships and then breeds those relationships, and it’s re-evaluated my entire thinking. It’s changed how I’ve thought, it’s changed my visions and my values.
Now I try and spend a great deal of time nurturing my relationships as well as connecting. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but I use this piece of software called [Contactually 00:29:27] which is basically my CRM system. It reminds me if I haven’t spoken to people for a certain amount of time. Certain people I want to speak to once a month, or every couple of months. Some people it’s like, a couple of times a year is fine, or just once a year. But it’s that reminder of, “Oh wow, yeah, I haven’t spoken to that person for a year. Not a big deal, we’re not really close, we’re just a casual acquaintance, but hey, let’s spend 20 seconds to just jump on Facebook and say, ‘Hey Jeff, how’s life? What’re you working on at the moment? Can I support any more? How are the kids?'”
It takes no time at all, but all of a sudden that means that I am valuing my relationships. I’m valuing my time I’ve put into creating them. And hopefully, it will lead me to bigger and better things moving down the line, because I’ve learnt most opportunity in life comes through the people that you know. It doesn’t come from job sites, it doesn’t come from the latest marketing trends. Yes, you can leverage those things, yes you can find success in those things, but the biggest opportunities that will land in your lap more often that not, 9 times out of 10 I would say, comes down to your relationships.
Devani Alderson: Absolutely. It’s like the network equals net worth concept of, the people you know … And it’s important to know good people who align with your values, and it’s not like know them because some opportunity is gonna be coming down the road, it’s just more like, know people who align with your life in a way that those things will naturally fall into place when they need to, whether it’s an opportunity for them, or an opportunity for you, whatever happens with that. So that’s important.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, it’s a tricky thing, because we’re building businesses and working really hard basically 10 to 12 hour days, 7 days a week oftentimes, so we’re in the marathon. And when you’re running a marathon, that’s not the time that you stop and have conversations and sidelines. And yet, in terms of real life connections, it’s important to learn how the balance that. That putting forth, that doing, that taking initiative, and that moving forward is important to take the time.
We’ve had the conversation here where when we get to this goal in our journey, then we can have the time to do that, but really it’s the relationships that help us get there. So it’s not that we nurture it once we get there, we nurture along the way and then that helps us. So that way it’s like having running buddies, it’s like having training buddies. We do need to share and serve and contribute and connect all along the way.
Matthew Turner: Yeah, I think the moment you start saying, “I will do this when X happens,” it’ll probably never happen, because you’re gonna constantly be chasing shadows. That just popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday [crosstalk [00:32:22]
Devani Alderson: I saw it. It was Jeff Goins.
Matthew Turner: It was Jeff Goins, yeah.
LeAura Alderson: What was it?
Matthew Turner: I mean, it was-
Devani Alderson: Go ahead, if you remember.
Matthew Turner: Well, that’s as much as I remember just paraphrasing it was just this idea that the moment you start saying “I will achieve X when Y happens,” X will never happen, and you’ll probably constantly be chasing it. But I think beyond that, you’ll probably never appreciate what you’re chasing anyway, because … For me it comes back to the most precious thing you have in your life, and I’m pretty certain all of us, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, whether you’ve family, whether you’ve not got family, the most precious value you have is time.
Every single day, we wake up with a new batch of 1,405 minutes. That’s what we get every single day. It’s fantastic, because every day we get a new batch. It’s like, “Great, I get this new batch of time.” But once a moment passes, it’s gone. It’s gone forever. People who say, “I don’t have time for that, I’m [inaudible [00:33:21] the grind, I’ve got working 12 hours, I don’t have time to think about relationships, too.”
I come back to this. Every single morning … Well, I’ll ask you both right now. You woke up this morning. What time did you wake up?
LeAura Alderson: [5:30].
Devani Alderson: [7:30].
Matthew Turner: Nice. [5:30], I’m with you. Up your game, Devani. What time did you get ready?
Devani Alderson: [7:30].
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, so-
Devani Alderson: I get up and get ready.
LeAura Alderson: Mine is … I was basically at my desk by [7:30].
Matthew Turner: So Devani, when you were getting ready, what do you do? I’m guessing shower, hair, makeup, brushing teeth, all this kind of stuff, right?
Devani Alderson: Yeah.
Matthew Turner: How long does it take you?
Devani Alderson: 15 minutes. Because I shower in the evening, so in the morning I just brush teeth, brush hair, put clothes on.
Matthew Turner: Okay. So, 15 minutes in the morning, and then 10, 15 minutes in the evening for showering.
Devani Alderson: Yeah, maybe a little longer.
Matthew Turner: Maybe a little longer, right. And this is my point, every single day, people find time for showering, brushing teeth, all these kind of things. And if you don’t have a shower for a day, it’s not the end of the world. Your teeth aren’t gonna drop out if you don’t brush them every single day. It was only up to the 50s, people didn’t really brush their teeth. It was a man made … The whole brushing teeth thing was actually created by an advertiser. It wasn’t by the doctors, it was advertisements that made brushing teeth habitual.
But every single day, on average I would say most people spend between 20, 30 minutes doing somewhat superficial, unnecessary actions, that they deem absolutely, 100 percent necessity, because they value it. They feel like, “I need to brush my teeth, so I’m gonna find the time to brush my teeth. I need to have a shower, so I’m gonna find the time to have a shower.”
So if you’re gonna be busy and you’ve got an early start, you don’t just wake up at the normal time and not go for a shower. You wake up 30 minutes earlier, so you can have a shower and still get to your meeting on time. And this is my point when people say, “I don’t have time for things like relationships, or my health, or going for a walk, or taking time to reflect.” But you do have the time, you’re just choosing to do something else with it. If you were to value your relationships enough, you would find five minutes to do it. If you valued your health, you would find the 10, 15 minutes to go for a run.
Now, that might be at the expense of some sleep. That might be at the expense of some work. That might be at the expense of some TV binging. You don’t get to add more minutes to your day, but you do get to take control of your time and say, “Right, what am I going to do with this 1405 minutes today? How am I gonna spend it?”
Every now and again, sure, work has to take its thing. “I don’t have time to do the emails today, I don’t have time for a run.” Fine. But if you start letting that be the every day, you’re gonna [inaudible [00:36:16]
Devani Alderson: That’s such a good point, and a perfect segue to the next question on habits. Like you said, occasionally you screw up, and that’s great, but if that becomes your every day, then you’re creating a negative habit of screwing up every day and not using your time right. In five years from now you’re like, “Oh, snap.” So for you, what are some things you do daily that help your creativity, whether it’s a ritual or a habit or some structured thing, what do you do?
Matthew Turner: Well, the recent thing has been my Facebook experiment. I’m about 30 days into my Facebook experiment, and I’ve always been on Facebook and I’ve always kind of felt like I needed to be on Facebook, and I would haphazardly post here and there, but it never had a purpose. Again, it comes to this thing of valuing your time and how you spend it. If I’m gonna spend time on something, it needs to have purpose. If I’m gonna do something, it needs to have purpose. And I think we all need to it like that.
Facebook, I think, can be good to me, but I need to give it some purpose. So I thought for 90 days, I’m gonna commit. I’m gonna post at least these four actions every day. So I do a morning accountability post, and Devani I know has seen plenty of them because I’m always [inaudible [00:37:38] timeline. And it basically tells me what time I’ve woken up, whether I’ve gone for my run, whether I did my morning meditation, what my main tasks for the day are.
I also do some kind of question during the day just to engage people. I do some kind of long form post, which I’m going to be doing literally the moment after we finish this, and then I do an evening reflection accountability thing. Did I do what I set out to do? I mean, I’m purposely always more conscious now of doing extra things, but I’m like, “I need to do those four things, and I’m gonna do it for 90 days except on weekends. I’ll still do my morning one on Saturday morning and Sunday morning, and then I’ll do a weekly accountability thing on Sunday evening.
That’s what I’ve committed to for the 90 days, and I’m about 32 or 33 days into it, so I’m actually building a habit. I have it on my phone. Coachdummy is the app. Every single day, I’ve got to just tick these items off, so I can track and build theses things, and it’s working. Whether it’s gonna be a long term habit, whether I’m gonna continue this after the 90 days, I don’t know. I don’t know how much I will value it. Do I value it enough to keep up doing it? Is it bringing enough value? But all I can say after 30 days, is that it exploded my creativity.
Because on one side of things, it’s gotten more [inaudible [00:38:54] I’m finding myself waking up and doing my thing because I’m holding myself accountable, which is another habit. Accountability and holding yourself accountable is a habit. Whether you’re doing it via Facebook, whether you’re doing it via application, via morning journal, find a way that works for you, but accountability is a great [inaudible [00:39:13]. It will explode productivity, that I can assure you.
But the big thing for me is because every single day I’m writing, and I’m not writing to post things, I’m just writing to get stuff out of my head, and it’s like, “Well, I’ve got to write something today.” I’ve been more strategic with it. I’ve been able to think, “Okay, if I’m gonna do this, how can I do it to benefit my other ideas, my future projects, point people in the right direction.” I can be strategic with it, but every single day I’m sitting down just to write for the sake of, basically, writing, and I’m feeling so good for it. My creativity is booming.
For me, at least, I find myself being more creative once I get into a ritual. So whether that’s a ritual of writing, whether that’s getting into a ritual of doing something like affirmations in the morning, I don’t know. But me personally, I find creativity breeds from ritual. If I’m only doing something here and there … I don’t know, it’s in a rut. It doesn’t feel that real to me. But if I get into a groove where I’m doing it daily or weekly, it feels like it’s got a purpose. One idea leads into the next, and into the next, the next. So it’s been … On the surface, I didn’t do Facebook, this experiment, for creativity. I did it, really, from an exposure point of view.
I want to make sure that I am on Facebook. It’s become my social media choice. I’ve become more present. I’ll build my audience. I’ll be able to see what does and doesn’t work. I’ll be able to grow things, yada yada yada. But the biggest benefit I’ve had so far … Well, there’s been two. Has been the creativity side of things, and the accountability side. Since I’ve been doing this, I have been waking up every single morning wanting to … Friday at [5:25] AM.
And I’ve been doing it because of Facebook, because in the past, maybe I’d wake up at [5:25] AM twice a week or three times, but the other two I might sleep in til [6:00] or [6:30], whereas these days, it’s like, “No. I’m doing it.” I’m feeling better for it, getting more done, feeling more creative in the morning, I’m journaling, I’m meditating. I’m doing all these things. I know I’m gonna go on Facebook and say what time I woke up, did I have my smoothie, did I have this, and do you have a good excuse for it?
So today, I didn’t go for a run because my excuse was rest day, I had yoga last night. But tomorrow, I’m not gonna have that much of an excuse. I need to choose, am I gonna for a run this morning, and then basically admit I didn’t do it because I’m lazy, or am I gonna do it, and just feel better for it afterwards. It’s been huge [inaudible [00:41:46]
Devani Alderson: And it’s interesting, because that’s so humanizing, and you mention on your website that you’re an open book and you’re all about honesty and transparency, which are very core values for … It’s the whole reason we created iCreateDaily, is the daily rituals and routines that make you the pro, and I think a lot of times on social media the big drawback to it is, everybody’s like, “It’s this popularity contest, it’s this storybook life of who you are as opposed to who you are.” It’s the who you are on Facebook versus who you are in life, and just showing up and being honest about, “This is my daily routine, and this is what I did today,” it really peels back a layer, especially if you’re somebody looking to establish a brand as a person. It inspires other people who are looking at you to be like, “Hey, they’re still human. Hey, yesterday Matthew said he didn’t run because he did yoga instead, and it’s okay to mix up your routine like that.”
So it just adds this layer of, “These are the fundamental steps that Matthew takes every day to be where he is, and so maybe if I kan model something like that, I can be like him, or I can be my version of successful.” So I think that’s really cool.
Matthew Turner: I mean, the humanizing side of things … I mean, I’m going to the cinema after this. I’ve committed to not eating sweet treats this month because I’ve got a half marathon at the end of the month, but I’m probably gonna have some pita chips and maybe some dip or something. Who knows what time I’ll get out, and who knows, maybe tomorrow morning I won’t go for that run, and I’ll just have to admit and say, “I went to the cinema last night, I’ve woken up, I’ve been tired, I feel lazy, I just didn’t do it, guys.”
And you know what? Sometimes that’s fine. Sometimes you need to sleep in. Sometimes you just need to say, “Screw it.” Sometimes I’ve had a shit day, and that’s okay, and just being honest enough. I mean, that’s been a big part of the process for me as well. It’s kind of forced me to be human, to share those frailties. I’m not saying that I share everything, I’m not saying that I’m literally slicing open my arm every single day and letting everything out and letting everyone else in, but yeah. I’m sharing more than what feels comfortable. When it comes to the creative process, I think that’s always important, and I don’t feel [crosstalk [00:44:13] craft.
Devani Alderson: Brene Brown talked about that. We looked into one of her interviews or something, and she said something to the point … One of her mottoes in her business and her person life is, “You can choose comfort or courage, and courage comes from being uncomfortable.” So, if you want to be comfortable, fine. But if you want to be courageous, then you have to open up a bit, and you have to do things that aren’t comfortable.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah. On the other thing, the important part, I think, of what you share, too, is that the predominance, the 80 plus percent of what you do, is the ritual structured discipline. You’re not insanely rigid, you have flexibility to, like you say, incorporate human and relaxing things, and the occasional excuse, as long as that doesn’t become the way of life, then it’s absolutely in balance, in particular as long as that’s the lower percentage, the 80 20 rule kind of thing.
And it certainly sounds like it is with you, because the problem with excuses is they make us weaker, because not only did we not do the things that makes us stronger, but then we’ve spent time thinking of excuses, incorporating excuses, telling excuses, which reinforces what we didn’t do, that if we had done it, make us feel better about it. So, absolutely fine to do it, like you said, on occasion, as long as it’s in context of the minority of our time.
Matthew Turner: I think a good rule of thumb is to try and not do things two in a row. So if you’re gonna sleep in on Monday, okay, give yourself a break. Just don’t do it on Tuesday. Don’t let that bad habit in, because one of the things which I’ve learned, I’ve learned all about habit formation recently, and it’s been such a fascinating subject. The thing is, we know what we know, and we’ve become somewhat more enlightened maybe at a certain point in life, but we forget that we’ve lived 20 or 25 or 30 or 50 years before that, just doing what we do.
So, all those habits that you have right now, however old you are when you’re watching this right now, whatever stage you are in your life, your habits are your habits, and most of them have been there for a very long time.
LeAura Alderson: Good point.
Matthew Turner: They take place in this part of your brain called the basal ganglia where all the automatic stuff goes on, so when I feel stressed, I bite my nails. And I’ve done it from as long as I can remember. My brain is a very busy, functioning thing, so it takes the easy way out as often was possible. So, if your habit is to get home from the end of work and lounge in front of the TV for three hours because you’ve done that since the age of 13 and you’re now 33, then your brain wants to do that, because it’s the easy thing. That’s what it does.
So then saying, “I’m gonna go for a run every evening,” is a very conscious thing. That’s taking place in your pre-frontal cortex. You’re having to purposely say, “No, I am not gonna do that habitual thing which I have done for my entire life. I have consciously got to find motivation. I’ve consciously got to put on my shoes. I’ve got to force myself to do it, and it’s gonna be hard.”
And your brain is gonna be battling you all the way, because it’s saying, “I want to do the easy thing. I’m keeping you breathing right now. I’m keeping you doing all this stuff. I don’t want any more hard work, I’m working hard enough as it is. I want the easy way out. I want to do that easy thing which I’ve always done.” So, you’ve got to be consciously saying, “No, because there’s a reason I want to do this new thing, because it’s gonna make me feel better. I want to be better. I want to progress. I want to grow.”
But you know, you need to go … Whatever your habit’s gonna be, whether it’s waking up earlier, writing in the evening when you really don’t want to, it is going to be a battle, and you are going to battle against yourself every single day until it is in your basal ganglia, and it’s become your automatic thing, and that takes a long time.
Devani Alderson: It does. Because if you think about it, you live your whole life doing your habit, and so you’ve had years for it to become your go to, automatic thing to do. Just imagine how long it takes til the go to thing is the healthy activity, whatever that is for you.
Matthew Turner: It’s like when people struggle with addiction. Addictin – let’s say cigarettes. And people who don’t smoke will say, “Why can’t they just stop?” And they’ll say, “I can stop, but then when I feel stressed, it’s my go to. Or when I’m out and I’m surrounded by other people, it’s my go to.” And the thing is, we’re all addicted. We’re all addicted to our own routines, our own habits, our own things. We all do it. We’re all guilty of it. We’re all addicted to certain ways of life. We do what we do, we react how we react, we decide how to decide, and most of the time, we are not conscious of any of it.
So then to wake up one day and say, “I am no longer going to do X,” is very much like a smoker waking up one day and saying, “Even though I’ve smoked 20 cigarettes a day for the past 20 years, I’m no longer goin to.” It doesn’t just work like that. Going cold turkey isn’t easy. It’s gonna take years for them to be fully off the wagon, and it’s kind of the same with you. You can create a new habit, depending on what it is, like 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, but then just to get rid of that old habit completely, you may never be rid of it. You’re consciously always going to maybe, just a little bit of you, want to go back and do it, because when times are tough, your brain’s gonna revert to default setting, and default setting is the thing you did for 20 years.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, so it gets back to what you started out saying earlier on, and that is, proving how much you love what you’re doing and what you’re setting out to do, whether it’s the perfect intersection of passion and purpose, because you keep going no matter how tough it is. So the best way to replace those old habits that no longer serve us is by inculcating new ones that converge our passion and purpose.
Matthew Turner: Absolutely. You want to do something, you want to write that book and complete it. It’s not just about … I’ll come back to the marathon thing. The marathon in this sentence is the writing of the book, you’re at day one, you can’t run a mile, whereas you have no words on a page. It is daunting. It is scary. You’re not just gonna get there like that. There are gonna be ups and downs, but you can make the entire journey easier by saying, “Right, what habits can I create today that will help me make progress? Not over the next month, but over the next 11 months?”
And from a writing perspective, it might be as little as, “Okay, I am going to get up half an hour earlier, and I am gonna spend that first half an hour just writing 200 words every single day.” One day, Saturday, Sunday, whatever it might be. Now, not all of it’s gonna make it into the book. In fact, I may not even set of myself a goal of at the end of the year, having a book.
To start with, you just want to get into a routine of writing. 200 words, could be 200 words of nonsense, it could be 200 words of the same word repeated 200 times, it doesn’t matter. It’s getting you there, it’s getting you used to putting your fingers on the keyboard, your mind thinking about it. And trust me, that you will start to write more than 200 words. Some of it will be good. Some of it won’t. And in time, you’ll have a book. I’m not even …
I’ll just tell you about a guy called Srinivas Rao. He did a few posts on this, but he writes 1000 words a day, and he has done so, I think, for three or four years now. And he’s talked about how it changed his life. I remember another person, James Clear, who’s all about habits, is far more knowledgeable on habits than me, fantastic guy so if you’re interested in that, check him out. And he’s about to release a book, and he talked about how he didn’t set himself a goal to write a book by the end of the year, but he did set himself a goal to write one article every week. And on average, these articles are like 1500 words long, so at the end of the year, it’s like, “Oh, I’ve got more enough for a book.” He’s actually books worth of content.
So, it’s just how you frame things. Like I say, people might look at structure and ritual and routine as anti-creativity, but most people find it to be the opposite. Most people find, “Wow, once I do something again, again, again, [inaudible [00:52:42] creativity flows, ideas breathe into new ideas, and that’s when the magic happens. And that allows you to then be more serendipitous and spontaneous further down the line, because you’ve got a craft. You’ve got a skill. You’ve got a habit.
LeAura Alderson: Right. The magic happens within structure, that’s really profound. Matthew, we’ve taken more of your time that we promised. Do you still have another five to ten minutes?
Matthew Turner: Yeah, let’s do a few more minutes, yeah.
LeAura Alderson: Okay, because there’s so much more we want to ask you, but if you’re short on time, we can do a part two. But if you’re good, we’ll keep on going.
Matthew Turner: Let’s go.
LeAura Alderson: Okay, so one of the things that most creatives want to know, let’s say … There are a number of fiction writers and aspiring fiction writers in our audience, and that is, “Can I earn a living from my art?” So there’s so many various things on this topic we’d like to as you next. Let’s start with, what are the things that you do with your fiction writing, for your fiction writing, that are the most successful, the most financially successful?
Matthew Turner: I mean, it’s hard to make a living through something like fiction. It is. I think the key … I’m still trying to find my success on the fiction side of things. It’s taken a backseat. But [inaudible [00:54:01] knows about my next project where I’m trying to bring it back to the forefront by combining it with my nonfiction, but that’s a chat for another day. I think it comes down to consistency. You speak to pretty much any author who is at the top of their game, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, I know that Ryan Holiday gave the advice to [inaudible [00:54:24] actually on Facebook the other day, he was like, “To any of us … ” Talked about how he’d just finished his latest manuscript, and Ryan just said, “Start writing on the next one.
And I think that’s pretty consistent advice, whether you’re looking to write poetry, full books, nonfiction, novels, whatever it might be. You’ve got to find time to promote your work. Promoting your work is vital, especially in this world of self-publishing, because it’s so easy to write and put something up on Amazon and hope for the best, but hoping for the best just won’t work. You need to carve out time to promote, or have other people promote you on your behalf. That is a necessity.
But if you want to turn your craft of writing into a career, you need to look at it as a career. One book every two or three years … That’s a pipe dream for most people. That isn’t how … You know of those people because they are the ones who sell millions of copies, but for every one of them, there is 100 writers who writing in their career. They are writing, they are editing, they are writing articles for newspapers, they write enough content to crank out two or three books a year. They’re writing, and as soon as they finish writing one thing they’re moving on to the next thing.
So if you want to get your ideas out there, just embrace this idea that it does not end. There is no end point for you writing. There’s gonna be plenty of ways for you to write, and the more you write, the more chance you are to get that momentum, get that traction. Write that book. Get it out there, either traditionally published or self-published. Get it up on the shelves. Dedicate time to it. Find a balance that works for you. And I’m not gonna tell you whether it’s 80 20 or whatever. Find a balance that works for you, so you know that as well as creating, you are also promoting.
Make sure you’re always creating. It doesn’t just work like, “Okay, I’m gonna create for a year, then I’m gonna promote for a year. I’m gonna create for a year, and then I’m gonna promote for a year.” In my experience, that doesn’t work, especially for novelists. The ones who get there, they are always writing. They are always writing a short story, their next novel, they’re doing something. They’re writing for other publications. And the reason is because that in five years down the road you can look back and go, “Wow. I have written two million words. I have had three books, and I’ve had seven short stories published, and I’ve had my articles appear in 20 publications.”
And you can look back and go, “Wow, that’s a big deal, and now I’m able to look at my Amazon account and see that the people are buying my stuff.” It’s been a long tough road, but you don’t get it by just writing one thing and then sitting back and saying, “Where is everyone?”
LeAura Alderson: Right. Of the marketing things you’ve done, or the brand building, community building things you’ve done, what is the top one or two things that has been the most productive for you?
Matthew Turner: I mean, if you can get quite savvy with Amazon’s ad service, it’s called AMS, that’s quite good. I think it is a little bit harder for fiction than for nonfiction, but it’s still quite an underused service, so there’s quite a lot of potential to make decent money without having to pull out too much into it, which when you start dealing with things like Facebook ads and Google ads it’s more of a saturated market, so you have to put a lot in to get a lot out, whereas with AMS, you can put in just a little and get a decent amount. Put a little bit more, get more.
So that’s certainly something that can help you build a bit of traction. The great thing about that is, it gets you in the search area more, you’re getting more books so you climb the charts, and it can be a nice way to force a little bit of organic growth as well. So, I’ve just started looking into that recently, and I’ve actually just hired it out to a service [inaudible [00:58:34] because I’m keen to have someone else do it for me, because it does take a little bit of extra work. And if it works, it’s something I’ll definitely probably do for my fiction as well, because it’s just a nice way to drive organic growth.
But for my fiction, the best times I had were not so much the free promos, but just really engaging and forming relationship with book reviewers and book bloggers, because they all have these little tribes. They all have these little communities going on, and if you can come across as a really human person [inaudible [00:59:08] not just pitching the standard stuff, but build relationships over weeks and months, that can really lead to some great stuff. It can lead to features, giveaways, and everything like that. But again it comes back to this idea of relationships. I suppose you’re constantly wanting to make sure that when you release your next book, you have more strong relationships than the last time you released your book, if that makes sense.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah.
Devani Alderson: For sure.
LeAura Alderson: Definitely, that makes a lot of sense.
Devani Alderson: And it’s creating relationships. If you’re an introvert and that doesn’t come easily … I have found online it’s much easier, because you don’t have to stand up in front of someone and be like, “Hey, I have this thing, and it would be cool to connect and do that,” that can seem scarier to somebody who’s used to isolation, but instead of thinking about it as, “Oh, I have to go talk to people,” it’s you are creating relationships, and that can go under, “Today I created.” Well, what did you create today? “Today I created stronger relationships that will help me sell my art.” And that falls under creating a sustainable income, if you’re looking to make a business out of it.
Matthew Turner: Yeah. I think if I was to advise someone to start out, it would be very much to try and … Assuming they don’t have anything much to promote yet it’s to … “Right, okay. Let’s find a lot of time to create things, so I’m constantly creating. And let’s find a lot of time to both create and nurture these relationships.” And just choose a platform. Just choose a platform to begin with. That’s why something like blogging is fantastic. Just choose a medium, whether it’s Facebook or Medium or your own website, whatever it might be, and then just go out there and reach out to people who you think would be a good fit. Have it as your purpose, not to sell them anything, not to have them promote your stuff, but, “Check out my stuff, go to here.”
Have it be a something. Sign up for the newsletter, feedback, link to your site. Follow you on Facebook, befriend you on Facebook. So that you know that whenever you’re creating something, week on week, more people are gonna be seeing it, because all the time you’re building these relationships and bringing more people in. But don’t try and do too much. Don’t try and be on Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook and this, that, and the other, because you’re just going to try and be everything to everyone. You’re gonna be a master of nothing, and a jack of all trades. So if you just choose one medium and say, “Right, I am going to write 200 words every single day and I’m gonna share them on Facebook,” then great. Go out there, and every time you connect with someone and try and do it two or three times a day, send them to your Facebook, because you’ll notice more and more people engaged with that.
The whole point is that that writing will eventually become the book, and then you’ll have this audience ready to … Going, “Yeah, I like this person’s writing, I get them, I want to support them now.” So if I was to go back to the beginning, I’d be like, “Right.” Commit to writing a lot, commit to sharing it in one place, commit to reaching out to as many people as possible and driving them to that one place, and then just seeing where it goes.
LeAura Alderson: So, as a fiction writer, what kind of blogging do you do, what kind of social posting do you do as a fiction writer?
Matthew Turner: As a fiction writer? Well it’s quite tricky, isn’t it? It’s easier to be a blogger when it comes to nonfiction. But I suppose it’s this idea of embracing … Okay, I’ll try and have this make sense. Have in your head the big picture, but the people on the other end don’t need to know the big picture. And what by that is you may have an idea for a book, and maybe you’ve done all the hard work and you’ve kind of got it structured and you know where it’s gonna be.
Well, that’s great. And say you create this habit where you commit to writing 200 words every morning before you get ready work. Over the course of the year, that’s gonna be [inaudible [01:03:06] a book’s worth of content, it is. You’re gonna have more than enough in there. So that’s what you blog about. Don’t worry about if it’ll be enough. Just embrace this idea of, “I am gonna be sharing these serial snippets on my blog every single day.” Behind all the scenes, I am also turning these snippets into a book. I know where it’s going, the audience don’t necessarily do. But every single day I’m just gonna try to write them as individual little snippets, so they mean something on their own.
If it’s just a random paragraph and it has zero content, then it probably won’t work. But if you just approach them as these little serial snippets, little scenes here and there between 200 and 500 words, then over the course of the year, you’re gonna create 200, 300 plus posts. Your audience is gonna get to really see what it is you’re writing, and then all the while you’re taking that, and you’re transforming that into a book behind the scenes in the evening. So you’re writing 200 words in the morning, and then maybe spending half an hour in the evening editing that and putting it in to the rest of the story, making sure it still flows, bit by bit by bit. So that’s it. If you’re wanting to write a book and writing a book as a fictional … don’t be all worried about people stealing your idea, about if all these snippets [inaudible [01:04:28] on your blog that no one will read the book. If people like your writing, they’ll read the book. They will. People who will read on a blog will read the book.
So just be like, “Right, yeah. I’m gonna blog about that. I’m not even gonna say that it’s going into a book. I’m just gonna share it, and then in a years time it will be a book, hopefully, and then I can publish it.”
LeAura Alderson: Fantastic, that makes a lot of sense. We will link in the show notes to your Amazon page, so basically your author page, so people will be able to see all the books that you’ve written. Could you tell us in closing just a little bit about Turndog or anything else that you’d like to share with our audience before we go?
Devani Alderson: And the best way for them to connect with you.
Matthew Turner: Yeah, well I would say at the minute actually, because I feel like there’s a lot of creatives [inaudible [01:05:21] and I’m working on something new which I’m not quite ready to share. Devani is actually one of the few people who does know about these inner workings that will be leading into next year. I’m very excited about it, but I’m still kind of getting it to make sense in my head. What I would-
LeAura Alderson: Come back on here!
Matthew Turner: Yes, absolutely. But what I would say is I would encourage people to just befriend me or follow me, whatever’s easier, on Facebook, and I don’t know, just make sure that you engage with some of my posts or have it so you see my posts. I think there’s a way to do that on Facebook. Because I’m gonna be sharing more about this project in the coming weeks and months, and it is basically a bridge of my fiction and my nonfiction, and I’m bringing them both together in what is probably gonna be my grandest challenge yet. Those who engage with me on Facebook will probably get to know what the next and third steps are before anyone else.
Devani Alderson: the true marketer storyteller. You gotta go follow up with him, guys.
LeAura Alderson: Is Matthew Turner your profile? So we’ll put that in the show notes.
Matthew Turner: And I think it’s matthewturner.writer is my Facebook thing [inaudible [01:06:33]
LeAura Alderson: Fantastic. Well, it feels like we’ve been on a little bit on the therapy couch with doctor Matthew Turner, because it’s incredibly sage and practical advice that you’ve shared today. Thank you so much for not only sharing all about your story, your ups and downs, and that incredible wisdom, but also the extra time that you’ve given us today.
Devani Alderson: And definitely follow him on Facebook, guys. I am friends with him on Facebook and he is, over the last 30 days so far, he’s been posting a lot of really cool content and stories about his life. Just more of the same sage advice.
LeAura Alderson: Fantastic.
Matthew Turner: Thank you very much, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
LeAura Alderson: That’s fantastic. Okay, talk to you soon.