How to be a Writer & Share your Voice in 2019: elephantjournal.com/academy



we are yeah hello everyone welcome yeah welcome we are super excited today to be featuring for the first time Christopher Poindexter Christopher thank you so much thanks mother thanks for having me yeah on my screen you're over here but on other people's screen you could be over there so I could be a little bit off okay so we have folks from all over the world if you haven't already said maybe just say where in the world you're from and as we do that let's just take a really good posture and as in the Buddhist tradition but it's commentator really any tradition we'll just share a moment of respect and remembering your mission in your life Christopher's mission in his my mission in mind and that's why we're all here today hopefully so take a good posture best posture of the day and then breathe and relax into that posture so it's not rigid and with respect and friendliness give it away with a bow so we're here for an hour if you want to ask a question you can put it in ask a question below if you see a question there asked that is a question you want to ask of Christopher or myself I'm kind of hosting this but I'm also a little bit the subject but Christopher is the star so you can upvote a question if you see one that is what you want to ask anyway or you can put in your own so thing up on the right way learn what's that these will be popping up for me to see questions know so the questions will mostly be in the ask a question to below the videos and I'll have to uh those to see we'll all read them to you oh so you can pretty much just relax and uh you know drink ma chair or whatever and Wool this is all about you so we're here for you so Christopher super great to meet you you're a big sweetie yeah thank you first of all thank you for your work I attended briefly and grew around Naropa University in Boulder I'm not sure if you know it but isn't it yeah it's a big poetry University cain't kind of from The Beat Generation Jack Kerouac Allen Ginsberg met Gary Snyder many others Philip Whalen my namesake and I actually have a buddy who owns a bookshop his name is ty yeah yeah yeah thank God great now known me since I was a little kid he's the troublemaking he's great he is so for many years around Naropa and generally the the the kind of conventional wisdom was that poetry was a dying art or a dying craft that no one would really and here's our Kay Russell who's a wonderful poet and we just it was been okay her so Anna yeah and he just shared you this morning so for many years poetry was in decline you know I think when I went to college the mega best-selling poetry books maybe sold 10,000 copies obviously life isn't all about what you sell but from the point of view of whether you're a plumber or you're a teacher or you're a you know bicycle repair person whatever you're doing that you love doing is a craft ideally from the Right Livelihood point of view and you need to be able to pay your bills and then Instagram came along and people like you are you're one of the prime examples of someone who took this supposedly dying art and YouTube has been a huge force as well and some like poetry is like the hottest thing in the world so I guess my question is how the heck did you kind of trip into this incredible innovation using this kind of technology that we all feel of it love Haiti about yeah for something as beautiful as your your hearts words I I don't really like to say this but also it's kind of what happened I hate I got very look like right now the everyone is writing poetry as you know it's a huge community a huge thing it's beautiful to see but I just I know I saw some other people doing it on tumblr and also I was writing and sharing insta but I was doing like really long pieces that were more like spoken word you could barely even see the images you know they got like one like no one was seeing them and then I saw because things like it was tumblr was really big at this time I know Thomas probably still you know fairly big but I just saw people posting random small little snippets quotes you know saw Tyler doing it on tumblr and I knew I was doing it on Instagram at the time and I was like hey you know I'm gonna buy a typewriter so you know I ordered a Rick Remington noiseless typewriter beautiful black vintage typewriter 1860s and I just started typing like rain and little snippets of notes and posting them on Instagram scanning them or even just taking the picture you know and you know making the picture look good and all of a sudden of people start you were starting to share it randomly and I was like this feels really good you know I was in the I was living in not as much poetry like I wasn't into The Beat Generation back then but someone we first heard me almost Cummings not a poet you know pretty much ago but Oscar Wilde I loved them and so it was cool to seeing something that I was putting out there that I knew writing and poetry such a big engine team and such a beautiful thing but where I grew up there just wasn't cool at all Thanks so did you where did you grow up Chris from Camden Arkansas something very I'll town in Arkansas I graduated with 69 people like there's ten thousand people in it very small right I didn't even learn about poetry in high school at all right all right so but um ya know it was just kind of it just happening randomly and now all of a sudden people started sharing my work you know and as time kind of went by just the followers dinging and my voice started to change I started to try to explore maybe post longer pieces and you know I guess I don't always like this on numbers but you know this is hiding reaching broader our audience and so I went from like 1,000 over nights like 25 and when I hit 30k I went on a trip in New York City spontaneously I've never been and from that moment on I think I was in 2013 like I made an Etsy shop where I was selling my hand type poetry you know where there'd be a long research work piece and people were just buying it and ever since that was you know what six years ago I've been doing it you know full-time it's just people just supporting this little you know this art that I was doing so when when I mean a lot of questions there but so what do you you kind of just said but what do you think led to that transition between 1,000 and 25 or 30,000 um I honestly don't exactly know because it was so fresh at that time like for me I saw people doing it elsewhere and in my mind I was like I'll bring this to Instagram because I haven't seen anyone here and cap and salami maybe that was it just posting it to Instagram to this app it's supposed to be about pictures living your life you know and now the writing is kind of taking over the world people post you know what you do on your profile as well I was just getting ahead of it early yeah yes okay sorry go ahead and I was just saying just choosing to put myself out there yeah you know right yeah I'm having a hard time with the audio a little bit but um but it's not too bad so you know what we talked about I was just saying this in the green room because when we were discussing before we went live I have a difficulty talking about what we do at the Academy because we are here to train people to be successful following their path of Right Livelihood to be a benefit to other people where they can actually pay the bills so it's not about all respect to the trustafarians present in this class it is not about needing to like already have money and then just kind of doing your art it's actually finding a way whatever your path is your craft to make it useful and a benefit to other people so you can make a living so when you went to New York that was the first sort of inkling that this could actually become your living yes it was yeah it was sorry I'll let you go no that's it that's the question like I'm you're changing from this fun thing that's your heart and your art to being like oh there's actually something here talking with Tyler not Gregson in our last discussion that moment is kind of a magical moment where you're like wait this what I love could actually be what I do yes absolutely yeah it was in New York where that first happened and it was it kind of just came along and swept me away like I'm a big fearful person you know I can see something in front of me like anticipation kills me sometimes and so it was almost just like this to mother that just came and took me away and I didn't have to think about it you know and so I you know I am in the middle of this just kind of dancing away and learning to not be as fearful you know it's a little easier to put not for some people but for me like if I was on a stage to five hundred people it would be harder for me to be as vulnerable as I am you know through my writing that people only have to see the writing and don't have to see you know me and my nerves and things some people are opposite of that you know but I do think that that's what's so beautiful about what an elephant Academy is doing you know pushing people to be genuine there's no matter what because social media is here for us to be a tool and now as you said earlier we have poetry back into the into the mainstream we'll say and I think you know 20 years ago if you told someone to hey you could be a poet no know what I mean and now it's when I would your parents that's like literally their nightmare thing they don't want to hear that I'm gonna be a poet mom I want to be a poet well what do you mean what do you mean I don't understand yeah no but now it's so much different you know and so yeah that moment for me was surreal but also I just said you know take me away and I've been on the journey ever since and yeah there's so much in what you just said so I love that that balance I talk I've done some videos on introvert versus extrovert and how of them are kind of made-up fallacies but they're pointing to some wisdom a lot of us when we express our art is a more genuine moment than we can be in a funny way more more vulnerable as you said than we're comfortable being in our actual walking around town life yeah but and then some of us are the opposite some of us maybe like myself I love crowds and I love speaking publicly that raw vulnerable thing is is very scary for me I think you're very brave where I'm very fearful and you know so how do you you know I come from the Buddhist tradition but from any tradition how do you relate to your heart and maintain the genuineness of what you're doing when you're being surrounded by a jewel ation likes you know the whole you've probably seen dark mirror or something but we're in this we're in this culture where lights equal respects you know you get a lot of likes but how do you not let that work what you're trying to offer in who and your own relationship to your own path which is never easy we're human beings right absolutely um I can't say it hasn't been hard because it's hitting one of the hardest things I've ever done because I feel like the way it grew up I could have a different route and chose to make you know more money or have a certain voice or do this but for me I it's just obviously the cliche answer is balance but it's the it's the right answer you have to find the balance between your your raw voice also you want to you want to relate to people because art needs to be shared it needs to be felt people need to know they belong and I think that is one of Arts agendas to do that but it comes back to it if I was writing if I was just just writing for other people there's no way I could continue to do it because actually at the end of the day at the heart of it I write to you know kind of get something out you know if I'm feeling you know or something you know I go to my notebook and I have to get like even if it's a little punchline get something out just that's genuine and that's from me that I couldn't get out any other way than the panels in the piano you know in the car or whatever I mean that's that's what we're here to be vulnerable and I think what we hope again today is that someone latches on to that you know that tenderness more young yeah the balancing is very difficult um especially on social media it's very difficult because if you're sensitive person to uh a guy had to learn not to care what everyone god and it took some time if it's bleeding it took some going through some things and my advice whether people would just be just being very kind to yourself and as of late it's like meditation sitting down with nature and just creating and making sure that you're coming back to your core because you know we talked about losing ourselves all the time you know we all lose ourselves but coming back to that place is somewhere that it's bound to happen as long as you genuine you want that's that's just life yeah well thank you for doing that work with yourself because you know we call that my tree in the Buddhist tradition if you've ever read Pema children a lot of people have if you don't do that work to maintain your genuineness and your kindness toward yourself then you can't offer something that is kind to others and a real benefit it just becomes a game it becomes you know a farce it becomes sound and fury you know to code southern writer and Maya Angelou far greater writer than I dare say either of us she said you know exactly what you just said that we all have this story within us and it's longing to be to get out and that story isn't like I was born here and then I did this and the Spirit is what you were talking about which is this magical alchemy though that we call catharsis which is you share something awful or wonderful or scary or brokenhearted or fun whatever your experience is it doesn't have to be bad and then in the act of sharing it you discover a wisdom or a perspective around it that's that moment of catharsis and then people connect with that and you help them in helping yourself and that's the amazing thing about writing whether it's poetry or prose or but is that genuine writing really its money people you not only do that you you not only do that your that's like where you live and to live there you have to do that work sorry go ahead absolutely no I was just quoting my I was just quoting her why the Caged Bird Sings I always look at the title you know because that's that's exactly you know I I've been strangely getting like bird songs everywhere I go I can hear them now and it's awesome I'm like tuning out I'm like oh okay you know they're everywhere here and even in the morning you know I listen to the meditation music and the bird song she's kind of they're amazing outside of my window you know and it and if I can put in a plug there because I'm an environmentalist birds all over the world are dying super rapidly because of our pesticide you so please don't poison your lungs you know the birds need the insects the insects are getting poisoned etc so let's know that's a that's that's a good point yeah look I store Birds yeah go ahead sorry no I'm sorry yeah I was just saying that that's you know that's the emotion that I like blues music you're going to be generation i I think beautiful art comes from suppression of the soul and I think to a lot of people you know nowadays are dealing with like childhood trauma and these things that they necessarily or any trauma at all that they have trouble talking about my poetry is here for us now and for you know better say that I'm so proud to be you know to tell people hey this community is out here poets and people being brave to share their work and people even Ryan Russell actually had a beautiful article with trial of in our arms today is talking about this kind of cop og self help them with mental health and man I can't say that it is there to do that but I always get off topic but when I connect or hear the topic like the birds singing is there's so much weeping in in their songs to me I hear that it's like a blues solo you know it's a king like bending the string and I think art is so important in that aspect because it is there to get the pain out and I think you know obviously this world I mean I think anger is just painted in like all these catastrophes happening it's just people they haven't dealt with their pain you know that's why all this is happening and so if we have something riding on or whatever art it maybe that can help that then we have to share with the world and we have to advocate for it you know and you know make sure we wear it on their sleeve well said yeah that reminds me you're talking about trauma and catharsis writing processing that and in processing it helping others know they're not alone or depression or you know self-identity or oppression societal oppression you know poetry is a dangerous thing it's a it's a peaceful loving weapon against oppression against isolation and against kind of self-hatred so it's a powerful thing and is is wonderful to be reminded of its power I think you do that so thank you thank you now to tack back hard against the wind of what we just did on a practical level because a lot of people you know we can talk about doing what you love all day long until we're playing the Blues we're blue in the face but um you know we we also have to pay the bills and a lot of times when I try to talk about Right Livelihood which is similar to the Japanese notion of iike guy which is do what you love do what's the benefit do what you're good at and do what pays the bills people forget about the pays the bills section because it's fun to talk about all this stuff but if it's only those three is really reliant on privilege right and privilege is something that should be shared or given back not held and most of us don't have at least financially don't have the privilege to just kind of you know whatever our hobby is or whatever our passion is to just do that we have to find a way for it to pay the bills so on a practical level you're an entrepreneur you're a business person in this weird world of business so how do you navigate those whitewater you know how do you how did you learn to you know either hiring people to do your accounting or how did you negotiate the rapids of finding your way to be a genuine person an artist and be able to pay your bills it's definitely something that I struggled with the balance you know not to go back on what you were saying earlier but being genuine and still doing this for a living you know making a living up off of what I love for me and his finding finding different ways to make money and still you know support myself and whether those were there's all these things on social media available to you always always but for me it was I always struggle with it very internally because I do do a lot of self-promotion on my account and in in the past I've wanted to hand it over but there's a little mental you know taxing for me mentally taxing um but I just had to kind of push through it and say hey man like you doing something good for the world here you know people will gladly support you that's one and then people love supporting artists they really do it they love and love it but they're happy to do it because what better way to you know to to spend your money than to give it to something you know if I had you know if I had five grand I'd gladly spend it on one of my favorite like Basquiat pieces I know the money and I could support him and I knew it was you know going to him and you know it was genuine and so it's kind of a hard question to answer for me just because I'm so bashful when it comes to that if that make sense okay but it was just fine finding the way whether it's doing you know I did anti poetry for for a long time and that's just every every single poem is typed out individually and signed you know and then sent to them and then like custom poetry I did it for a little while and it became too taxing for me it supported me for a while but it came keep tax taxing because I do identify with being an infant and these stories that I were reading man they were heartbreaking you know that heartbreaking they were tough and so that that's all I ate like I'm still doing a little some of them but I I was doing that 100 every month for a little while and I overwhelmed myself and so you know it's kind of live in mind thing blow yourself up in certain ways to living in eLearning I did merge for awhile and I think I'm still at this place why I'm trying to trying to find how to write more genuine and make money um very clean start excuse me my throat is really messed up right now making more money where it can come in and I can be that more genuine of an artist and so right now I'm kind of going to more the businessman as you know I started my own publishing company recently and why I balance all that was hey this is a business but also hey this is this is poetry and literature you know I have a chance to publish people and to make their dream come true while still providing you know you know for myself um so I don't think I could you know so for me I had attached my love and the business and just kind of work around that so I play like I'm all over the place would be answer no it's great beautiful really yes is similar to what I've done as I wrote a book and I knew a bunch of publishers probably like you unlike Tyler who wanted he went with penguin yeah I met with publishers and the first thing they said was you know we're gonna have to do this cover we'll change the title we'll do and I was like it was the shortest lunch ever I was like none I'm not doing that you know you don't even know my work like how could you even talk about the cover or the title or so and also more importantly from my perspective from an environmental point of view I wasn't comfortable with some of the practices in mainstream publishing some publishers are great very few really oh but you know so I started my own publishing thing and I I printed my books 20 blocks away from our office and and they're eco and and the cool thing and that we teach this in the Academy not specifically around books per se but generally is what you were talking about which is how do you make money pay the bills in that iike guy or right livelihood circle so that every dollar that you're making is mission consistent so every dollar you're making is your art or is your craft so you're not like you know a lot of artists on sting I remember back in the nineties he had some album and he's like publicly said I hate this album or I hate the hit on this album I just did it to get rid of the you know the people who need me to have a hit the rest of the office is what I love and that's such an unhealthy dichotomy like give the people some and then on the side do your quality genuine work that no one notices we actually do what we love if we want to save our planet if we want to be kind to other people if we want people to get through trauma or if we want to share the world about climate change or injustice or you know so without getting on some big soapbox like is actually our duty to be genuine and to figure out how to make and like you said I love that you said people are so excited when someone like yourself is brave and vulnerable enough to decide to do your own kidding instead of farming it out to someone shamelessly say Christopher Poindexter is the most amazing blah blah I've never hired PR because I find it somehow the most vain thing ever I don't think promoting myself is vain compared with hiring someone and paying them money to say nice things about me that seems insane I'm absolutely with you so I'd rather find a vulnerable way to do what you've done which is to be like hey here's a quote here's my book if you're inspired you can get the book or not you know it's totally okay if you don't you know people work hard for their money so I don't want their money if they're not inspired right so you're creating a publishing house you're you know Dave Eggers has done this he's an amazing guy and in this realm of the writer Dave Eggers you're becoming more and more a business person it's a lot of work so how do you how do you maybe find good people to work with who aren't just fans or aren't just you know having a financial relationship with you but who actually care how do you go becoming a business person without getting lost in that um well it definitely took a child in there because I was a part of something that was completely reckless and I was naive and I didn't know what I was doing and so this time around my publishing company is started with my two brothers whom I trust very very much ready who balance me out hey beautifully and so it's definitely just going through something you know I'm not saying everyone has to go through hmm a big hiccup you know business-wise to reach you know the better of what they want to do but most of times they do you know and so yeah for me it was just going through something and then kind of coming back with a new vision and saying hey I refused to do it wrong this time I refused to do it anyway but completely you know tender um I I love using the word tender and motherly because you know and you know at the end of the day you're a bigger guy were here to nurture our planet and our people inside of it and yeah so tenders the only way to go about anything and you know business you using the word tinder in business is obviously kind of funny because sometimes you gotta be ruthless you know um you gonna put your foot down but I think you know what I mean by that yeah yeah yeah it is a funny balance I mean I kind of wish so this is what we teach and I don't mean this from a commercial point of view but from a heart point of view this is what we teach an elephant Academy like I've made every mistake probably that you've made and five others you know how actually helping people connect with a big audience whatever their craft is it doesn't have to just be poetry and then how to skip some of the mistakes that I've made personally and then we have mentors like yourself come in and how to actually get to a point where you can transform your hobby into your career or transform your career into something that you feel so good about at the end of the day you might go to sleep stressed out hopefully you're meditating wake up stressed out hopefully you're meditating but you feel good about it you know there's this misconception that doing what you love should be fun or easy doing what you love is I think you know analogous to being a parent a first-time parent it's exhausting it's frustrating it's humbling you know you're suddenly Christopher being asked to do all kinds of things hiring people trusting people not trusting people figuring out accounting figuring out shipping figuring out printing all these things that aren't necessarily what you love but from a Buddhist point of view that is your path you know you're figuring out how to show up fully as a human being and when to let go and delegate and when not to and so I'm proud of you doing all that it's pretty I appreciate them yeah you as well I I know it's it's it is a hard balance but the world we live in now how many people there are obviously social media it's the best way to reach people you know we didn't have that you know 50 years ago and so like I said earlier to be it has to be a tool I saw this quote I don't remember where I heard it but it was if you're complaining about social media media you're using it wrong which I completely agree with um and I understand the the need to always break away and it's a thing that we must balance but as you know influencers and it's just something we just have to take advantage of and I like how you stress the feel-good like it's not always doing these other things isn't always fun it's not about having fun it is about at the end of the day maybe when you lay your head you know on your pillow they might have sucked maybe maybe you're dressed and you had so much anxiety but you're proud you know you feel good about what you did you can reflect on them you can take ten minutes to you know just rotate and say yeah that's what it's about yeah well that's why I'm sort of over use that word craft because I think whether you're a owner or manager of a cafe and you work your butt off all day dusting stuff and working with staff and mopping and you go to bed exhausted or you're you know whatever you're doing if you love it and if it's who you know how you can show up fully to be a benefit like I I'm thinking of this manager at this cafe downtown is a community figure he's the sort of like father to hundreds and hundreds of us and he probably goes to bed exhausted half the time he is not really honored or paid a ton you know we can all think of teachers that's the easiest but my mom was an amazing teacher people still hand write letters to her in this day and age that's energy yeah and she's like one of those sort of Dead Poets Society kind of teachers and you know she made an awful money I mean awful money so that's but that's not a virtue how can we do what we love that's a benefit like my mom did but actually find a way not to kind of live in poverty as my mom you know did not anything's wrong with that from a judgmental point of view but like wouldn't it have been nice if my mom could have afforded a mortgage or food and just not felt stressed and heartbroken about taking trying to take care of her child you know so we want that for her we should want that for ourselves actually so I think now we can maybe transition as some of the audience questions and first I'll touch on the actual brains behind elephant Academy is Emily and Molly and they have a bunch of questions for for you if that's all right for me yeah well I'm just gonna read a couple of their questions to you okay cool so I think we organized on a lot of it so this is a great one we've kind of maybe touched on it but you know with the doing what you love is an easy thing but what does writing you look like as a full-time career is it there's the romantic idealized version you know you're Ernest Hemingway or you're whomever in a secluded house you know drinking scotch looking at the view a tear coming to your eyes you type the end and universal acclaim and bookstore readings and tours what is the daily life like is it is it something you actually enjoy or feel good about fundamentally um yes it's kind of evolved over the years honestly I didn't the beginning the beginning stages were kind of me I I yeah I romanticized the Hemingway and all of those old much I might say everything was a sit down on my typewriter with a glass of whiskey you know gain on the rocks and you sip and you won't throw that one till the difference and my the more honest my life and got you know things like that I love that you know in the beginning and then after the one oh I realized that and I think was just this new movement and wave and energy that's in the you know that air in the cosmos right now and you know I I have battled not to get too personal but I battled addiction and things that online say come with being waters because that's my entirely true they come with being human well so yeah I'm open about that you've been transferred raw and vocal other that's always been a big thing with me on social medias no matter what I've done you know the mistakes I made I've always try to you know even when people told me not to um because I am very sensitive and sometimes it's caused a lot of social anxiety for me to be so open on social media like does that make sense and I think like everyone knows my heart but also it's something I feel called to do if we're not honest about our pain then you know other people can't kill from and maybe you can start us stop someone else from going through the hell road you just wind down you know I mean let me jump in because I love how you just said that so with writing I teach about emotionalism not what you're doing so sometimes we see even in teenage kids you know we see people sort of milking anything they're going through four lights that's not what you're doing you there's a you have there's like the middle path between emotionalism and suppression where you just share stuff authentically raw but as you just said you could help others and that's for the motivation it's not so from session yeah absolutely yeah yeah like everything we have talked but it is a balance um it absolutely is but I just I just try to wear my heart of my sleeve no matter what I'm going through you know if if it was if it was all just love and roses I think I would try to share that too but I would always have this you know this place it where I come back to that I make sure I'm honest about the darkness that's happened inside me because I know that you know I'll use this this kind of punchline from the poem is the romantic thing about the darkness is only the conflict or towards the light like I think that's the only reason why the darkness for me as ever intro artist has ever been you know even just that we want to go there because it can be a beautiful place but to me in my experience the only reason why it's been beautiful is that I know the light in this beauty and this mindfulness of being one and present with the earth is always just pulling me in moment where I have to go you know whatever pit or ditch I have to sink in to write a poem which you know that's not entirely you don't have to be sad to write poetry you don't have to be anything to do anything you know which is Ginsberg always told carol attak he's like don't drink yourself to death meaning and you know he did in Ginsberg later found Buddhism and meditation and they both Dovan to those dark parts with their own and so to circle back to the question what it looks like as a writer now for me I think every day it's I'm just trying to just read rewrite that just I want to be more mindful be more aware be more present and just kind of forget so you know what people think anything should be at all and just kind of invent reinvent my entire you know life and world and when it's original but also in a way that I'm being you know an inspiration to others beautiful I love what you said about the contrast of the dark and the light like nothing's more romantic the cliche than a candle candle lit dinner yeah is that contrast right like full darkness even full light isn't particularly romantic you can't if everything winding like you're in zone a Sun with no sunglasses of in the desert that may not be a romantic right you want you want to use your experience to be a benefit whether it is light or dark and I love that you also acknowledged like people get this misconception that they have to be miserable or almost try to become miserable in order to write art art can be celebratory it can be delightful it can be all over the map it can be anything the human experience is vast and you don't need to you know marry conduit right that's something I learned our way but that's why Oh persistent I'm saying it now because you know don't have to go through that our design yeah and yeah and I was thinking about Kerouac before when we were talking about addiction because he couldn't handle the isolation I think to his credit he didn't exactly want it he wanted to his life but he couldn't handle it when it came and then you know obviously addiction is it's a tough one and he didn't have the kind of support hope hope that hopefully more of us have now yeah and Ginsburg on the other hand was all about Community Ginsburg was like the PR man for that entire the only reason to be Generation really is known about is because of Ginsburg he's supported everyone he knew he was always like every interview he ever get he's like this guy is the best young voice and this guy is amazing or this lady you know he was just promoted people and he promoted Anne Waldman constantly if you know her she's still teaching it or open in New York anyway so and then there's that quote I actually put in my book my question was the romantic idealized version of being a writer versus the reality my quote was that I put in the book it wasn't my quote it was about love it was like genuine love when you've actually fall in love is better than anything you could have fantasized or dreamed about because it's actually real and it's weird and it's silly and it's yes yeah and I think that's analogous to when you find your path whatever your path is whether it's writing or whatever it won't be what you thought it would be and that's okay that's a good thing you can make it better absolutely yeah um so let's see a couple more Emily Molly questions so here's a great one what do you need to get started as a writer let me just leave it at that okay Jeff what you need to get started is right um I mean for me in the beginning was a notebook and a pen and also if we're talking about if we're talking about poetry being a poet or you know whether it's that or you want to be a novelist one day um books books you you know you have to read to to learn how to write and so for me it was about finding voices that I wanted because I think it's all inspiration you know we're all searching to be original but all the writers had to read things and to kind of go through different stages within their writing and when I'm sure this is something that you deal with this as well you read a lot you're an intellectual and you know you I'm sure your voice has changed over the years right I'm stimulating question a little bit a little bit what you needed to get started yesterday definitely just again in a paper and ebooks that maybe you do some research since we have that phone now what kind of things you're needing to so maybe what kind of poets you you would be into what kind of books you can to find those just a couple books maybe um and just kind of start them in see where your voice wants to take you because you know everyone has a double is inside of them you just kind of have to dig through the human emotions you know think it thing well I love that so let's zero in on that we talk a lot of in elephant literally the marketing slogans that I made up are find your voice find your community find your path what is that finding your voice thing I mean it's so hard to pin down what is that what does that feel like or how how do you get there yeah it's I think it's an ever-evolving thing um you know uh because you know even musicians will tell you that there's they still feel like they're reaching for their master things their best work of art but I do think there's this time in your artistic journey journey worth for me it was for me it happened through jazz music I started to listen to jazz music I grew up on what I consider just not very intellectual music I just grew up on that and it took me a while to get into things that I now love and well once I got into jazz I try not to make this too long because I acted so long school this but um I found jazz in the sound of it and I was very if this all ties back into doing it on social media and everything I was very weary with the business side of it and trying to relate trying to be genuine and still give people what they want and this kind of thing and I just heard a saxophone one light on the radio it was like a slow Jean and then style saxophone like Bill Evans you know very slow romantic music and I heard that sound man and my typewriter was sitting over there like I said I was very curious with myself because I feel like all my phone's going to sing and I was I just I wasn't happy creating anymore I thought it was done almost and I heard that saxophone it's almost like my third eye he's kind of hooked on and something I romantically fell in love with his sound and I remember writing a poem and he just kind of came out as an extremely conscious fools Ginsberg here you know he's kind of boom and he we were taking out on the typewriter and I read it I was like wow and I had goosebumps – that guy goes one month it was all most honest oh my denver wrote and i got written in the best the best one and i can say honestly ever since then I've always listened to jazz when I and yes coach is actually a real thing that happened like in farm parliament innocence back in there you know and but still and just once I found that music my voice completely change and I feel like it's still shaken and evolving but I've never been more happy for creating because I feel like it's an extension of myself and move along there like something that I'm trying to you know how to go through a lot to get here but it's not something I'm trying to think you just maybe it takes that one niche or that one thing or that one moment it can even be a moment overlooking like some wild the Grand Canyon listen to it and so on whatever it might need to be that I call it I guess an inner revolution wellness yeah and Buddhism in terms of meditation they call a sudden enlightenment but the joke the joke is it took you they say it took you five hundred lifetimes to get to that moment so you know as someone was saying you know the balance between originality and and everything is a remix is you know if you're inspired by a writer than when I was young my voice became like that writer for a couple months until I found someone else I fell in love with and then I ate them and every time I ate someone it was like a saint skin that I then shed the last ones and eventually you those people are like mentors and again that's what we try to offer people like yourself an elephant Academy who can give you a way of being or a way to express yourself a saxophone a way to communicate at school Instagram or tumblr and then you drop that and you move to eventually you don't drop the tool per se but you find a way to just be you naked lead honestly as Kerouac said I don't know why we're talking about The Beat Generation so much but I said the world is dying to is bleeding to hear what you least want to admit oh I like that so much I think I've heard that that's you yeah so it's like and it's not just that you have to rummage around just think of things that you don't want to admit you know it's a it's a kind of a moment you can't fake and again it could be delightful and celebratory I don't it doesn't all need to be catharsis from a painful point of view but okay so you know we haven't gotten a lot into the the weeds in terms of technical stuff how to actually build a following build a community we do a lot of that in the Academy and I want a chance to get to people's questions Wow but you know needless to say without your connecting when you went to that 300 or whatever it was to 30,000 you know that community ideally is organic it's not about fooling people with yours you know God bless sexy bodies everyone's sexy but it's not about like displaying something magnetizing it's about just showing up as who you are and people with that or not and that's kind of you can relax it's not really in your hands whether they can act or not yeah so the question is kind of just how to get started or how to grow your to grow your work I guess I guess the question is like you kind of already touched on it when you go into like okay I have a new book you can you can get it here it's $19.99 or whatever how do you how do you show up there you switch hats to marketing or do you try to just stay who you are I think with if we're talking about where I where I've had success its mm which is on Instagram it's changed so much which I'm sure Tyler probably touched on this a little bit excuse me but um the algorithm has changed so much so like what I was doing back then doesn't work anymore eggs and just doing certain things that I've found like my engagement is very low now but I do have friends that are just starting out where I can add this they definitely have to switch hats and focus on marketing I think a lot more and there's a lot of studying you can do on the algorithm you know where you can get your work seen most I think it's even community to is reaching out the different writers I know some writers that have a big following they love and maybe the smaller accounts and saying here's my book check it out what do you think in a the artist likes you know their work and those gladness charity and I think so it's kind of being a workhorse now all right we gotta go in just yeah yeah sorry you're good it's just little echoey I calculate um yeah I think it's just like for me I I haven't focused too much on growing all right on marketing and growing by my brand as much as I did maybe two years ago I've just I've been doing you know the thing I guess the same way I always have on Tyra and I relayed on this a lot you know we've seen people start to do different things and become more successful and that's okay and I think that's now it's just something that I'll say first and foremost come to the community and call me to wanting to share your art of course the genuine this has to be the foundation you know to me I get absolutely it has to be the foundation and so like a lot of people look for that and they can see that and we can seek it out because there's there's a lot of people trying to do it and everyone goes have a voice but if I were to you know offer a piece of advice I guess for something starting off on Instagram I would say yes genuine but don't be afraid to consult remote and market yourself and reach out to people don't be afraid to reach out to me or somebody say hey buy my book or you know don't be afraid depends what's gonna happen like you know if you're talking about getting close we can support yourself what's the one sitting exactly Emily if you can put in or Molly that quote by Marianne Williamson I refer to all the time it's like why hide your light under a bushel like I won an award when I first we used to be a print magazine we went online and I want an award in our first year when we went online for shameless self-promotion which was sort of a tongue-in-cheek compliment right and and I was like I celebrated there's this photo me garland at the celebration party and I was like why should being shameless be a bad thing like do we really want shame to be a virtue you don't want to be obnoxious and full of yourself but you know my whole mission was to create a platform which I guess connects with what you're saying now that is sort of algorithm free we have an algorithm but it's transparent and it's based on quality or readers and we pay our top writers so you know that's I'll give a plug to Igor and to yourself and to Tyler Tyler is you know starting to write like we have this huge independent mission-based platform on elephant and we pay our top you know top writers as measured by readers so speaking of top-voted let's do a little speed round on the questions we can go along maybe but I don't think we really should I know a lot of people are on lunch break so from what's that eat the answer to it you think yeah yeah both you and I will try to be focused so question for Whalen and everyone else yourself how do you balance your dedication to working in the arts with your need to survive periods of financial uncertainty especially if those periods of uncertainty affect others so I'll take that one and that's okay you know I was broke my entire life until 37 years old when I called my accountant and I said you know I want to start paying my mom you know sending money to my mom every month that was one of my proudest moments in my life being broke is not a virtue I think a lot of us think there's something Noble in it it is super stressful and if you are broke total respect to you because you are dealing with some more than other folks everyday just to get to the same place so really focusing on the little things like hiring an accountant if you're not doing it yourself who you trust like Christopher has with his brothers you know Bill you don't have to if you are going to follow your Right Livelihood you are going to be a business person so acknowledge that and know that I think again like Christopher said there's no shame in being successful if that success is sort of defined as connecting genuinely with people and total respect to you Jill you know if other people are depending on you the key and this is what we teach in the Academy is don't switch too soon if you have a hobby like Etsy shop or whatever on the side don't just make it your full-time thing without doing the work to create that big community first or not big community but enthusiastic community let me just move on and the next one all all send a notice for did you ever yeah did you ever doubt yourself or your abilities when you first got started from Knoll and and Michael has to follow up and if so what did you do to break out of that mindset and Hannah followed up and do you still have moments of doubt she answered pretty much my first answer but yes I definitely had doubts I still have doubts all the time I really do I think it's part of being an artist and I think you know this too and it just really is I'm a very fearful person a very insecure person and I China channel chain on that into my art and so I tried to put it as much as I can into that it's fun even when I get it out I'm like this isn't enough you know but the key is to just practice you don't do it once applause practice every as man it really is and that's why I like because I feel like I'm talking to you more I don't know the earth or something you know it's only giving me something that but yes doubtful in the beginning still doubtful but always just pushing and pushing through those boundaries and those feelings that's all but yeah is there's some that great quote if you if you're in hell keep going or something it's like you don't get through fear by running away from it right or avoidance or even positivity in the sense of like nothing bad is happening nothing bad is happening everything's great the British tried that for generations with their stiff upper lip like don't suppress stuff acknowledge it and that's fearlessness so there's a book by Trumbo my parents Buddhist teacher called Shambhala and he talks about fearlessness is based on fear and acknowledging and being brave enough to feel that fear instead of kind of spinning off into distractions whether it's TV or alcohol or you know whatever so beautiful so I would like from Lauren than black I would like to know how to draw attention genuinely without the use of manipulative marketing tactics blah blah you have any thoughts on that Christopher um yes I do um man I thought we had touched on this a lot yeah I've done some kind of people to me answer I haven't said that yet right if I can just echo what you've already said you don't have to change you can just be you so Christopher had that moment where it was like should I hire someone to do my marketing and you said no I'm gonna do it so just stop reject the term marketing your your community is not a market that is so cynical don't in a market you know don't work a market that's so weird they're human beings just like you and you talk with them with vulnerability and respect and appreciate anything was that audience with the American audience or community whatever you like yeah so really just keeping you and I know that sounds cliche but we don't mean that in a vague way it actually is really scary and or earthy and fun because it's kind of um I think Christopher said this you know people love to support you that thing you were saying when when you're genuine people are just so excited to support you absolutely yeah I think that's that's all I would touch on as well okay so we're kind of out of time if people want more we do these once every quarter with someone wonderful and genuine and it's hard to find those artists not just successful but genuine human beings so please support Christopher let's put his info and the captions Christopher what's your website in your book and your hand on Instagram my hand on Instagram is my full name is Christopher Poindexter my website is my full name visible index their dot org and then I will so say we Jacqueline publishing my new publishing account that's my instant hang on in the website he is Jack Jack while publishing well calm and we'll put all that info in the video description itself so it's the first thing people see everyone here let's please express our appreciation to Christopher where they say whenever in comments if you enjoyed it Christopher thank you just on a friend level thank you for your work and man and anything else do hopefully we can become the new Instagram that's my goal basically that's more mission driven and that pays writers pays anyone and if you want to join elf in Academy the green button is right below you don't even have to join you can just get the information and Christopher thank you so much neither big loud min that's all and with a bow of respect and appreciation to Christopher and good luck in your path everyone

1 thought on “How to be a Writer & Share your Voice in 2019: elephantjournal.com/academy

  1. I would like to sign up for the Writing Apprenticeship that begins on May 22nd. Is it possible to get a discount code? Thank you for your consideration.

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