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Create Your Future

I recently read Seth Godin’s blog post entitled “The forever recession (and coming revolution)” and pretty much agree with everything except the “coming” part. I think the revolution is upon us.

It’s funny how we, at least in this country, have become conditioned to avoid pain at any cost — even when pain is normal. We have all sorts of drugs and devices and techniques for alleviating pain, which is great because no one should suffer pain needlessly. The problem, though, is that pain sometimes isn’t needless.

Pain, literally or metaphorically, is an important sign, an indicator that something is wrong. When we rush to mask that pain, before we’ve diagnosed it, we lose the chance to discover what it’s trying to tell us. Within the current state of the economy, there’s a rush on all sides to quickly fix the pain we are going through as a nation. But what if this pain is just the natural byproduct of what Godin has proposed? Think of it as a national form of “growing pains” as we transition from a century of living within an industrial-based economy to living within a new one based on technology and information.

Now don’t get me wrong — I’m not trivializing the difficulty that millions of people are going through. The past few years have been challenging for me as well, not to mention many people I know. But if this is, indeed, a natural part of our growing as a nation, transitioning from one economy to another, then it does us no good to fight it. It does us no good to try to “fix” it. And it does us no good to hang on to what was and what “should be.” As with any inevitable transition, those who most successfully navigate it are the ones who let go the fastest and look for the next path.

Which brings us to self-publishing. What a great time to be doing this! Really, much of what Godin wrote holds promise for those willing to take the self-publishing path. As I mention in the intro to my ebook, there has never been a more opportune time for us — not to mention self-publishing even being a possibility for so many people it hadn’t before.

Start thinking of your current and future projects as potential annuities, especially the younger you are. Think of them as ways to build security in your future, at a time when “job security” will be an oxymoron. Think of them as intellectual property in the same way real estate investors think of real property: they are yours to build (self-publish) and sell or rent out (license). But unlike real estate, you can create as much intellectual property as you can dream up, you have far fewer barriers to creation, you can sell one property many times over, and the time to completion for each project can be much quicker. Not only that, you can create a potentially lucrative piece of self-published property with almost no money at all — you sure can’t do that in real estate.

Despite the uncertainty all around us, I get more excited about self-publishing every day. More and more tools are coming out to support our efforts, and many of them are free (like Google Apps). The stigma of self-publishing is fading with each success story (like Amanda Hocking’s). And the thirst for entertainment and information has never been greater. So, create great works… fill needs… take pride in your craft… and remember, with each self-publishing project, you are potentially creating your own future.

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