Have you ever casually started down a path and then the journey got a life of its own?
The White Rabbit appears in chapter one, inexplicably wearing a waistcoat. So what does Alice do? She follows him down the rabbit hole. There’s just no turning back after a decision like that.
The journey is alive and it’s bigger than you.
At twenty, I followed a White Rabbit and became an ad writer.
At forty, I wrote The Wizard of Ads and it became Business Book of the Year.
At sixty, I announced I was going to create The Ad Writers Masters Class for The American Small Business Institute and that its graduates would be qualified for admission into The Ad Writer’s Guild.
The journey got a life of its own.
Becoming an AdMaster will be like becoming a Black Belt in the art of ad writing.
I expressed my biggest fear about that 52-week online class in last week’s Monday Morning Memo. Did you read it?
“I sometimes worry that we have an instant-gratification attitude regarding education. We believe that when we have learned from an expert how a thing is done, we now have the ability to do that thing expertly. But there is a long and winding road to be traveled from Information to Proficiency. And then there is a second long and winding road from Proficiency to Authority.”
My partner Jeff Sexton read that and immediately sent me a video featuring Ira Glass, the producer and host of the award-winning public radio program This American Life.
“Nobody tells people who are beginners – I really wish somebody had told this to me – is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But for the first couple of years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. Okay? It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite good. But, your taste – the thing that got you into the game – your taste is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell what you’re making is a disappointment to you.”
“A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit. The thing that I would say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting, creative work, went through a phase of years where they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short.”
“Everyone goes through that, and if you’re going through it right now, you’ve got to know it’s totally normal, and the most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week, or every month, you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you’re actually going to catch up and close that gap. The work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.”
“It’s going to take you a while. It’s normal to take a while, and you just have to fight your way through that. Okay?”
When I followed up on that idea of becoming a black belt, I learned that it was a far more accurate comparison than I had realized. WIKIPEDIA says,
“In Japanese martial arts; the shodan black belt is not the end of training, but rather a beginning to advanced learning: the individual now ‘knows how to walk’ and may thus begin the ‘journey.'”
When The Ad Writers Masters Class is finally announced, I hope you’ll consider it. And if you decide to pursue your black belt in ad writing, I hope you’ll remember that there’s a long and winding road from Information to Proficiency.
In the meantime, you can learn How to Become a YouTube Influencer. Not that it’s any easier. But that class is fully polished and coming up in September.
Indy said to tell you “Aroo,” and that he’ll see you in the rabbit hole.
You know the way.
Roy H. Williams
Plan to be at Wizard Academy on May 2 of next year, okay? We’re going to have an epic adventure and I want you to be able to say you were there. – Indy Beagle
Fauzia is a Pakistani immigrant whose success story as an entrepreneur is the stuff of the American Dream. Her clients include Alan Alda of M.A.S.H. and Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager. Listen in as she shares both of her inspirational journeys – business and personal – with our own roving reporter Rotbart at MondayMorningRadio.com.