Don’t. Ever. Quit.

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
Unfortunately, my email made it sound like the post was already published somewhere else.
At first, he said no.
But after explaining I was Jon’s blogging student, he asked me to send it in html format and for a bio.     ^(O.O)^
(Note: I’ve worked with, and helped Chris in the past with some Facebook stuff, we swim in similar circles too. I don’t want to give the impression that this was a cold email situation. If you want to get a guest post on an A-list blog would not recommend cold emailing big names asking for something without some sort of relationship in place first. Spam is spam, folks. )

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.

It was rejected and ignored long before it was accepted.
And when it finally saw the light of day, it was embraced by one of the most influential people in this space.
The post would then go on to be picked up by the Think with Google team, and shared close to 200,000 times across different social media channels. To this day new people discover the article, and it helps them break down the limiting beliefs that hold them back.

Remember to be grateful, and take nothing for granted.

Thank yous matter a great deal, and to keep in good form, I just want to say thank you again Chris for sharing your spotlight with me.
And thank YOU for taking the time out to read these words.
I hope they inspire you to fight for your ideas, and to never, ever give up on what you believe in.

Comments

  1. says

    I guess you’ll want to put a twitter button to your site. I just marked down this article, however I must make it manually. Just my advice.

    My blog:
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    • Tommy says

      Hey Amber, thanks for pointing that out. There is a twitter button at the top of the article, but perhaps that’s not as intuitive as it should be. I’ll be sure to add soon.

  2. Paul Jun says

    Wow.

    I love your about me and getting fired because of pants, and now reading this post I’m definitely subscribing and bookmarking.

    Great accomplish, and exactly what you said: Never give up.

    I went almost 9 months of blogging being clueless, wandering the web, seeing very little improvement, and had a severe lack of focus.

    Now I have a new design on the blog that I plan to keep, and 2 guest posts coming out on Problogger (definitely helped to join Jon’s classes).

    Great work, Tommy, you are an inspiration.

    • Tommy says

      Grats man that’s awesome news!

      Thank you so much for your time, and I am so happy to hear that my story inspires you. It’s been quite the incredible journey so far, and I’m very happy that you’re willing to take it with me. If you ever want any pointers along the way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      • Paul Jun says

        You know what would be great . . .

        I read on Chris’s blog that he gets horribly formatted guest post emails.

        What did you specifically do to catch his attention?
        Did you send him the whole document in the email? Or did you attach it with a .doc or .pdf?

        I think a post on how you formatted your email to send a guest post out to a blog that rarely accepts guest post would be greatly insightful.

  3. says

    Tommy,

    I loved the post and now the back story as well. Glad you kept pushing the ball forward. I have to admit I was counting the number of the excuses that you had listed that I had actually used myself. It did help to remind me how far I have come from where I used to be, excuse wise.

    Funny thing about greatness. So many people say they want it, but they’re actually intimidated by the very concept. Issues of worthiness really hold so many people back from maximizing their own inner greatness. My path lead me down that road, but gradually I came to the realization that ALL of us are inherently worthy of living up to our greatness. Why else would we have it in us? Now I feel that it is more of an obligation and responsibility to become all I was created to become.

    Thank you for your awesome post…I know it will move many closer to their own greatness. Thanks for sharing the gift that is you!

    Peter

    • Tommy says

      If you liked that, you should read this about what happened after I put myself through the 21 Day crucible known as the 21 Days to a More Engaging Facebook Presence series… It was after that where I really learned I could do anything.

      Thank you so much for reading!

  4. says

    TommyWalker (it’s best as one word, don’t you think?), I LOVED your 106 Excuses post and read each of the 7,000 words, recognizing myself many times along the way. Obviously, I’m not alone, so please realize you’re helping many people by your efforts on this one post alone. And how smart is Brogan to let you guest post? So smart! Keep talking, we’re listening!

    • Tommy says

      Elaine thank you so much for taking the time to go through it all!

      And thank you for listening :-) Your attention and your time are the most precious and irreplaceable commodities you have, so I very much appreciate you spending those with me. If there’s any way that I can help, please do not hesitate to drop me a line.

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