Here’s How My First “Well-Fed Wednesday” Went (that “Six-Hours-of-Open-Phone-Calling” Thing…)

So, as you might know, I did a pretty cool and fun thing a few Wednesdays ago—my first Well-Fed Wednesday “open-call-free-for-all.” If you missed it, here’s a recap…

Calling it an “energy experiment,” and modeling it after a similar exercise I’d read about (by a master coach), I opened my phone for six hours (10-1, and 3-6) for 10-minute conversations with anyone who called wanting to talk about anything related to commercial writing or self-publishing.

As the 10:00 a.m. starting-bell approached, I had a brief moment of fear: What if no one calls? What if I’m irrelevant? But, alas, that was just my typical “insecure-writer” side talking (part of the DNA of so many of us writers, methinks…). As it turned out, I was yakking for virtually every minute of the six hours…

In those six hours, I took 29 calls, and had a ball. I had no expectations, just an intention to be helpful if I could. A sampling of the calls…

A Bay Area woman looking for help on a tagline for her business

• An author in Vermont looking for tips on landing radio interviews with his book

• A DC-area writer looking into whether expanding into e-books was a viable idea

• A Maryland mom, wanting some tips and encouragement as she revived a once-thriving copywriting practice, abandoned for several years as she fought breast cancer

• A Florida freelancer seeking guidance on pricing trade articles and diplomatically raising rates

• An NYC writer wanting to weigh the pros and cons of writing a book on his writing specialty

• An American writer in New Delhi, India (!) looking for advice on a book she was writing for women wanting to travel to India

• An Atlanta writer with a profitable writing practice based, somewhat precariously, on only two clients, and wanting tips on expanding her client base

• A British woman living in Delaware considering expanding her writing efforts into the commercial realm, and looking for a seasoned perspective

• A copywriter in Cleveland seeking help crafting a snappy title for an annual report

• An Irish writer living in Chicago and looking for ideas for breaking into a specialized field of high-tech marketing writing

• An Arkansas writer with a successful niche, looking for a device in raising rates and branching out to similar clients in other parts of the country

A few observations…

• You can cover a lot in 10 minutes. Few people felt we’d run out of time to soon.

• Everyone was so appreciative and respectful of the 10-minute time limit.

• Given that I couldn’t return calls, I was touched by how many people tried again and again to get through (according to my caller ID log). And, in my very brief lulls, I actually called some of them back.

• Trying to come up with snappy names, titles or headlines is a bit tough to do “on command.” I came through a few times but my best work takes a bit longer…. 😉

• It was really cool to get a small taste of the depth, breadth and variety of writing endeavors people everywhere were engaged in. And I was honored to be privy to the often-moving intersection of those writing ventures and their lives – whether it entailed family issues, raising kids while working, coming back from cancer, living abroad, the big step of trying to leave a job and go freelance, etc.

• Based on the gracious and grateful feedback I received, overall, I apparently delivered some good value.

• I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day.

Thanks to everyone who called, and especially those who didn’t get through. I’m sorry about that, but hopefully, I will catch up with you next time.

And there will be a next time. I’m not sure I have it in me to do it every month, but I’m thinking every other month could work. In fact, I’ll set the next one now, so mark your calendars for November 4th. And, of course, I’ll give you a heads-up as we get closer.

If you managed to get through and talk to me, any comments or feedback?

Any thoughts, comments, questions about this little event?

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13 replies
  1. Jake Poinier
    Jake Poinier says:

    Supremely cool idea, Mr. B! Like Cathy, I missed it, but am sure you delivered a ton of extra-concentrated value. Yikes, I can only imagine doing taglines on the spot…

  2. Melanie Jongsma
    Melanie Jongsma says:

    Congratulations, Peter! I was pretty sure you would have a full day, and I’m glad you did. It sounds like it was both energizing and exhausting! Thanks for making yourself available, and thanks for reporting back on how things went. It was really a cool idea.

  3. Lori
    Lori says:

    Great idea, Peter! Glad it went well.

    Were there any duplicate questions?

    I love this line: “I had a brief moment of fear: What if no one calls? What if I’m irrelevant? But, alas, that was just my typical “insecure-writer” side talking (part of the DNA of so many of us writers, methinks…).”

    No matter how far we get in our careers, that little harpy on our shoulder just won’t rest. 🙂 And yes, I still have those moments. Jake Poinier and I had a free call on Monday, and we were worried at first, but 101 people signed up and 52 showed up.

    Come to think of it, I have a similar feeling every time that first draft goes to a new client. 😉

  4. Princess
    Princess says:

    This sounds awesome. Like everyone else who missed it, I’m kinda jealous I didn’t get to call. I think that we can all be a little apprehensive about opening ourselves up like that. When you think about it, literally anyone could have called you!

  5. Peter Bowerman
    Peter Bowerman says:

    Thanks all! Sorry for the delay in responding – been tied up with a lot of work (yay!), and my Well-Fed Group Coaching series that started last week.

    Thanks for the kind words. It really was a fun, if exhausting, exercise, but looking forward to doing it again.

    And, Lori, while I did get several people with questions on rates (a big one for many writers), by definition, each one was different, with its own specific wrinkles. And how right you are: No matter how long we’ve been doing this, we still have our puny, insecure moments.

    And knowing many others who are self-employed (in various fields) who have similar moments of self-doubting, I’m beginning to think it’s more an issue of self-employment than anything. Though, writers DO seem to have an unusually strong strain of it… 😉

    And thanks Princess. Honestly, that thought never occurred to me! And if someone inappropriate called, all I had to do was hang up. The beauty of the phone!

    Stay tuned for 11/4, when I’ll do it again!

  6. Marie MacDonald
    Marie MacDonald says:

    My friend was totally delighted when you helped break through a thought block. We had been trying to come up with a catchy title for her for ages. And then WHOM! in 10 minutes talking with you, she had it. Great job all around

  7. ELIZABETH WIGHTMAN
    ELIZABETH WIGHTMAN says:

    Hello Peter,
    I am going to ‘Roll The Dice” tomorrow, hoping to find an open line to partake with you. Your well-written motivational Invite excites me no end. 🙂 THANK YOU for your generous, pure and positive Energy Gifts to prime the pump for many for a Well-Fed New Year 2016. Sent to you with Gratitude, Love, Light & Delight, ElizaBetsy

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