First and foremost, I want to thank Chris Brogan for accepting the 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great article as a guest post on his site. Guest blogging on his site is rare, and having the opportunity to stand on such a big stage is something I will not soon forget.
It’s easy to take certain things for granted.
A long list post. Being accepted. The opportunity to guest blog. Professional relationships, the attention you receive.
Realistically, not everyone will read all 7,000+ words.
Realistically, the article could get buried and forgotten about in less than a week’s time.
Realistically, none of those things matter, and now that the article itself is live, I want to share with you the history behind it, and what I learned in the process.
Resting on “what you know” isn’t enough.
The genesis of the 106 excuses article happened on August 25th, 2011.
I was sharing the psychology behind the “Big List” and why it’s such staple in blogging with my students at CelebrityDiagnosis.com, and what I learned from Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course. The idea is that a big list is almost always accepted because of the amount of work it takes to create, and is a great way to start a relationship with popular bloggers.
Problem was, I hadn’t done a big list for someone in quite a while. In fact, I hadn’t written a single guest post for anyone in months.
Now, I’m not the type of guy that talks about content development without doing things that I’m not practicing.
After the lesson, I sat in my office chair, stared at the computer screen, wracking my brain, begging it to formulate the premise for my epic list, but with every thought turned into a reason why that premise wasn’t good enough.
Learn to recognize your greatest ideas.
In retrospect, using the excuses I was giving myself as the premise for an epic list seems natural.
But really, those excuses have just as easily defeated my ambition time and time again in the past.
So when it struck me that “Excuses” would make a pretty good premise for an big list, I set a high, seemingly unobtainable goal, and I grabbed my notebook and pen, and started jotting down the
excuses lies I was telling myself.
The first 15 came easy.
But as I continued to jot them down, they didn’t come out quite so easily.
Remember to ask for help.
I asked my fiancee (now wife) for help. I took the notebook to our pre-marital counseling session and asked the Pastor for help. I asked my Father-in-law for help. I asked my Aunt for help.
I asked my little Facebook community for help.
All that help made it easy to exceed the original goal of 101 excuses to 106.
And when the time came to formulate, and write out original rebuttals to each of the 106 excuses, my fiancee (now wife) Megan helped there too.
(much discussion went into the “My spouse won’t let me” excuse)
Grind it out.
5 days after arriving at the premise of the article, and generating the master list, it came time to write.
After the first session, I very clearly understood this article was going to take some time…
Now something you must understand about me; I can have a very obsessive personality.
In many ways I believe an obsessive personality is necessary to taking on a giant task like this. Say what you want about prioritizing and productivity; to me none of that matters if you can’t get yourself to tune everything else out, and just work.
It’s because of this, and help from my wife, an additional 6,000(ish) words were cranked out over the next two days.
The first draft was sent out to Jon Morrow to review for Copyblogger on September 2nd, 2011
Be prepared to wait.
Understand this, people are way busier than you. Always.
I sent the first draft out to Jon on September 2nd, then a reminder on September 13th, and another follow up message on September 19th.
In response to the third message, Jon asked me to submit the article in the Guestblogging Forum for review.
(Disclaimer: Jon is a very dedicated teacher and extends personal reviews for all of his Guestblogging.com students, so multiple emails aren’t unwelcome. People don’t mind a little nagging when you pay them money)
I published the draft to the forum on September 20th, and Jon said on the 21st he’d review it by the 23rd.
On the 24th, he responded in the forum letting me know he loved the post and thought that the responses to each excuse were “surprisingly thought provoking” and that even though he was expecting it to run out of steam, it never did, which was difficult to do.
He let me know that there was a possibility that the article might not make it to Copyblogger because it’s not in line with the editorial direction of the site, but that he would try.
Give it some polish.
One of the other suggestions was that I hire an editor to further shape the piece.
While the price was more than fair, due to the sheer size of the post, became too much for me to spend. But Shane in the Guest Blogging forums lent his talent edited the opening of the article.
I followed Shane’s lead, read his blog, and trimmed over 1,000 words out of the final edit, and uploaded the final draft on October 6th.
Jon recommended I change the original headline on October 11th, and submitted to Copyblogger for approval on the 12th.
Be prepared to change plans.
On the 14th, Jon relayed unfortunate news that the post could not run on Copyblogger due to the editorial reasons we had discussed earlier, but recommended I try Bnet.com and another site.
On the 17th, I emailed the chief editor of Bnet.com only to find out later that day the site was getting shut down.
I emailed the other site the next day, but never heard anything back.
Finally, on the 23rd I decided to email Chris.
Hey Chris,How are you? I know you’re a busy dude, so I’ll keep this brief.
I have an article that I wanted to run by you and see if you’d be interested in accepting it as a guest post. It’s 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Being Great. Jon Morrow has said that he really liked it, and I think it would work perfect for what you write about.Hope all is well, and hope to hear from you soon :-)Tommy
In the end…
It took exactly 3 months from inception to publication of the 106 excuses post.
Countless hours were poured into the crafting, refinement, and promotion of the article.