Next Steps for Dennis on the Run

I have been sick since early April. It has not been fun. It started with a chest cold, that turned into a sinus cold that turned into a sinus infection. I have been coughing the entire month. My core and ribs are sore from coughing. My nose is raw and peeling from blowing into a Kleenex so much. I am living on Advil, Halls and Ginger Ale.

Being sick reminded me what my lungs felt like when I was a smoker. Tight and constricted and dependent on Ventolin (asthma medication) for breathing. Being sick also reminded me what I felt like in the mornings after a night of drinking…major headache, dry/itchy throat, a build up of mucus in my throat and an upset tummy.

On the other hand, I am very thankful for modern medicine. I am grateful for a workplace that encourages wellness and does not judge you for being sick. And I am reminded of my successes and happiness of quitting cigarettes (20+ years & counting) and alcohol (3 years & counting).

Being really sick definitely highlights living one day at a time. I literally could not look forward or make future plans. In fact, I cancelled a lot of plans.

I worked when I could. I edited when I could. If I needed rest, I napped. I spent a lot of time on the couch or in bed.

I am finally feeling better but I am not 100% yet. I am back to work and back to writing. At least as much as I can manage.

My Writing Journey

When I started my book writing journey last year, I did not understand what I was signing up for.

I am just a regular guy. I went through a really tough time and abused alcohol for a number of years until a fight with a friend literally woke me from my drunken slumber.

And I decided to start writing about it through my blog.

I did not really think about the consequences or opportunities of blogging. I just figured out how to build a basic website using WordPress and starting writing. I did not have a plan. I never planned out my content. I wrote about my life and tried to share my thoughts and things I learn about life through my experiences.

Then I applied for an opportunity to write a chapter in a book Run For Your Life – Lessons Learned From Going the Distance. I did not really think about the next steps. I just jumped in and applied. I could write a story and share a great experience of how running help me during my sobriety.

Then my wife said, “why don’t you write your own book?”

So I contacted the publisher that I was working for on Run For Your Life. We had a couple of meetings to discuss the possibility of me writing a book. Once again, I did not really think about the next steps. I just jumped in and signed a contract with Larissa from Next Page Publishing Inc.

I am definitely feeling like an imposter these days…or at least I have moments when I question my sanity. Who am I? …

Imposter Syndrome

The definition of imposter syndrome is:
The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.

I did not plan anything out. I am not an expert. I did not think before I started writing.

But everyday, I learn a little bit more about myself and more about publishing content.

I might not be an expert today but I am learning as I go to become an expert.

I might not have started with a plan, but slowly I am building a plan that suits me and my timelines.

I might not have thought before I started writing, but I am thinking now.

I am doing all of this to combat the feeling of imposter syndrome.

Today, I attended a quick webinar on Finding Your Content Niche and it woke me from my imposter syndrome. I find out that most content creators start out doing something they love and learn as they go. They become experts and their audience grows with them.

That is how Claire Bartholic built The Planted Runner. That’s how Joe Pulizzi, the Godfather of content marketing, built his business.

Things I learned today:
1. Find your niche. Start as small as you can initially.
2. Find and select your primary platform. You cannot be great on all platforms.
3. Become an expert!

I do have valuable information to share. I have a ton of life experience. I have seen and done a lot of things. I have over three years clean and sober. I am a long distance runner and cyclist.

I have turned my life around by quitting alcohol and getting fit. I have worked on my mental toughness using a variety of methods. I can share what worked for me.

I can motivate and encourage others to seek help and make healthier choices. I am an expert in that.

I am not an imposter!

I am Dennis on the Run.

The Plan

I am overwhelmed right now with the amount of things on my plate related to my book – Dennis on the Run. Or rather, the amount of tasks I have to do to prepare for life as a published author of Dennis on the Run.

Largely, as I mentioned before, I have jumped into writing without a future plan. Initially I worked through my ideal reader, my vision and my mission. But that was all for writing my book. I never thought about my plan after the book.

As I get closer to finishing up my editing on Dennis on the Run, I am starting to think about all of the things I need to do to support my book and to market my book. I have a notebook page of items that keeps growing.

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to start planning and putting timelines on these items. I will break the tasks down into smaller more manageable items. Ideally, I can map out a plan for the rest of the year.

What do I have on my list, you ask?

  1. Finish editing my book, Dennis on the Run.
  2. Research statistics and facts that I can cite in my book.
  3. Define my content niche. I think I have my niche defined, I might just need to clarify my niche and make sure that my content is on brand for that niche. Review my ideal reader, mission and vision for context.
  4. Research what it takes to become an expert in my niche.
  5. Plan out content that leads up to the release of the book and then to support the release of the book.
  6. Continue to blog weekly and publish on Tuesdays.
  7. Design weekly postcards with content that can be sent out on Fridays.
  8. Rebuild and redesign my website and transfer to a WordPress.org architecture which will provide me more freedom on my website.
  9. Incorporate a proper subscription email subscriber list and CRM tool into my website.
  10. Research what I need to do to build a waitlist for my book.
  11. Develop a set of free downloads that can be offered on my website to help build a contact and email list.
  12. Work on developing my content in Dennis on the Run into a set of presentations and speeches that can be delivered in a professional quality for future speaking opportunities.
  13. Design and develop a companion journal to release with my book.
  14. Collect useful quotes to use in my journal.
  15. Research new tools needed to manage customers, content, meetings, etc.
  16. Research starting a newsletter.
  17. Research starting a podcast.
  18. Research starting an online support group.
  19. Start my 2024 tax file and save receipts and invoices.
  20. Continue to manage my Etsy store and add new shirts that are representative of my brand.
  21. Network. Meet new people. Build my audience.
  22. Research partnerships that might make sense to pair with my book.
  23. Develop my marketing plan. Reach out to media for exposure with the release of the book.
  24. Develop a 2-5 year plan. What does life look like after I publish a book?

I have pages of notes on each of these bullet points as I think about them. For example, I have a list of fonts and colour schemes that I want to use on my new website. I have a list of pictures that I need to stage and take for my new website.

It is easy to look at this list of things and get stressed! I jumped into writing a book. I don’t have a plan, of course I am stressed about it.

So, my next step is to build a plan for the next 5 months leading up to the release of my book…HOLY CRAP! My book is 5 months away from release!!!

Build a plan, and follow it one day at a time…and breath, remember to breath.

Next Shot

During my time sick, I was able to watch a lot of golf on television.

Specifically, I got to watch a lot of Scottie Scheffler, the #1 ranked male golfer in the world, and Nelly Korda, the #1 ranked female golfer in the world, They are both on an amazing string of wins right now!

This weekend, Scottie won the Heritage Open which makes it four wins in the last five tournaments. Korda won the Chevron Championship, a major, which makes it fives wins in the last five tournaments.

Nelly Korda had this to say after winning the Chevron Championship.
“There’s a key in the simplicity that I have when I play it,” she said. “I honestly just take it a shot at a time, and we pick a game plan when we get to the golf course and we work and we stay in our own little bubble. It’s been working so far. I feel like golf can get overcomplicated, and there’s a key to the simplicity of it.”

Next shot baby! The #1 female golfer in the world takes the game one shot at a time. If it is good enough for her, it is definitely good enough for me! I am ready for the golf season to start!

Wrap Up

I am not fully recovered from being sick but I am feeling better.

This whole blog has been about taking the next steps. But I also just had to get out at lunch today with my pup Jack to get in some steps! (thus the featured picture)

It was 15C, warm and sunny today at lunch. For the first time this year, I was able to put on regular runners (no Gore-Tex for the snow or puddles). I did not have to grab a jacket. I did not have to grab gloves or a headband. (Yesterday was so windy, I wore a headband just to protect my ears.)

I grabbed sunglasses and Jack and we went on a beautiful sunny spring walk. Just getting outside and walking with only a little bit of coughing was good for my soul. My legs ached to run but my lungs are not ready yet. I am really hoping to get back to some running this week and get myself to a golf range to get my swing ready for golf!

In my “spare time” I will be working on Dennis on the Run and working through my plan for the rest of the year. Five months to go until Dennis on the Run is published in September. Eight months left in the year. After that, I will look at my plan for next year.

It is an exciting time. I have a lot to look forward to this year!

Thanks for supporting me and joining me on this journey!

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