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January 30, 2024 21 mins

If you’ve ever fantasized about being a “famous” author (or famous in any other kind of way) what do you think that drive for fame is actually about? In this episode, I want to talk about the three basic human needs I think are actually at play when we have a desire for fame and how we can actually get those needs met. 

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Pick up the pieces of your life, pull them back
together with.

Speaker 2 (00:04):
The words you write, all the beauty and peace.

Speaker 1 (00:07):
And the magic that you'll start too fun. When you
write your story, you get the words and said, don't
you think it's time to let them out and write
them down and cover what it's all about and write
your story. Write you write your story.

Speaker 2 (00:29):
Hi, friend, welcome back to the Write Your Story Podcast.
This is Ali Fallon. I'm your host. On last week's
episode of the Write Your Story Podcast, I talked about
a concept called wintering, an idea that I got from
a book called Wintering by Catherine May, And if you
haven't listened to that episode, I highly recommend going back
to listen to it before you listen to this episode
because the two episodes are intricately tied together. This idea

(00:52):
of wintering is one half of what we're doing when
we enter into the creative process, when we do a
thing like write our story. And there's another half to
the creative process that I want to talk about today
that I don't really have a term for, but I'll
talk about it and around it and maybe we'll come
up with the term for it together. But they work together,
they work in balance with one another. Wintering and maybe

(01:15):
springing is the other half of it. I don't know
wintering or summering. Maybe we do that winter and summer
there are two necessary seasons that co exist together. Wintering
is what I talked about last week, and this week,
I want to talk about the external, the moving out,
the sharing our work with others, the forward facing, the

(01:35):
being seen, the showing ourselves and creative expression. So let's
dive in. I don't know exactly how you come at
this process. I know you're here because you want to
write your story, but I'm not sure the why behind that,
because it's a little different for everyone. Some of us
want to write our story because we want to pass
it on to the people that we love. Some of

(01:56):
us want to write our story because we want to
publish a memoir and get on the New York Times
bestsellers list. I would say I'm some of both, but
probably land more in that second camp. I've known since
I was really really young that I wanted to write books,
and I always saw myself being this is a weird
word to say about myself, but I'm saying as young

(02:16):
as like ten years old, I saw myself as a
famous author. I always thought I was going to be
a famous author. So that's a weird thing to say
about myself, but I say that to be vulnerable, to say, like,
if you have that going on in your head, you're
not crazy, or maybe we all just are crazy, but
we're crazy together, which I'm totally fine with. But what
I want to talk about today is what that is
because I've always kind of had that question in my

(02:38):
mind as a young person. As a ten year old,
I didn't really question it. I just thought it was
predictive of the future. I was going to be a
famous author at fifteen, twenty twenty five, now forty. I
haven't always been so convinced, because you question yourself, you
have imposter syndrome. You put your work out there, it's
responded to one way or another way, and you go like,

(03:01):
maybe I don't have what it takes to be a
famous author, and then you know, as I've matured, I've
also thought like, does it even really matter if I'm
a famous author? What is what would famous mean to me?
Why is famous important to me? And that's a little
bit what I want to talk about today. Why is
famous important to me? And so if you're someone who
comes at this process and you think the thought of

(03:21):
fame completely terrifies me. Because my husband's like this. I
can't remember who asked this question of my husband and I,
which would you rather have?

Speaker 1 (03:28):
Fame or money?

Speaker 2 (03:29):
This is like early on when we first met each other,
someone had asked us this question in a group setting.
They were asking everyone, if you had to pick, which
one would you rather have?

Speaker 1 (03:38):
Fame or money? And my husband is.

Speaker 2 (03:40):
Who's deeply, deeply practical. He's a Taurus and he's a
very grounded, practical thinker kind of a guy, and he
was just instantly like money, who would want fame? Fame
seems ridiculous? And I was like, no way, fame, Fame
is way more important than money. I mean, it's a
silly concept, and yet I think it gets at the

(04:00):
deeper drives of human nature and how people operate and
how they're naturally wired. And so it's interesting to see
that we had completely opposite perspectives on that. And obviously
at the end of the day, you know, really fame
and money are superficial things that don't matter a lot anyway.
But I do think that they're getting it something that
does matter. Deeply to the human psyche. And that's what

(04:21):
I want to talk about today. What is the thing
that those two things are getting at. Maybe you could
answer the question for yourself, just quickly hear or start
a conversation with some friends. What would you take if
you had to take one or the other? Would you
rather have like boatloads of money or would you rather
sell millions and millions and millions of copies of a
book or get famous in some other way on TikTok
or YouTube or something and be a recognizable household name

(04:44):
and have people recognize you as you move about town.
Now it's funny as I'm saying this is being a
mom and moving into my wintering season. Like I talked
about on last week's episode, I really do feel like
my answer on this has changed that the idea of
fame does, for the first time in my life, feel
a little bit like, Ooh, I don't know if I
would want to opt into that. It takes away any

(05:06):
opportunity for privacy or for anonymity, And I think, I
don't know, maybe I've evolved as a person. That might
be an overestimate, but whatever has happened to me as
a mother has definitely changed the way that I think
about fame, and I don't think I would as readily
opt into that as I would have five years ago.

Speaker 1 (05:25):
But for you, think about it.

Speaker 2 (05:26):
For you, which would you rather have bothoats of money
or would you rather be a recognizable household name. Maybe
you're like neither, which is also fine. But I want
to talk about what these things are really getting at,
and especially as it relates to the world of publishing
and writing your story, because I always say the draw
to write your story is human instinct. That we have
a natural, built in human instinct to understand our place

(05:49):
in the world and why we matter. And part of
how we do that is by sharing our stories, sharing
our experiences with each other. So whether you ever have
aspirations to write and publish a Boo book, I think
that's maybe just a small subset of the population, But
I believe everyone has this built in urge to understand
your life experiences, to share them in a meaningful way,

(06:12):
to connect with someone else around those experiences, and to
receive in return the experiences of others so that you
can more deeply understand your place in the world. So
this is why I'm so passionate about teaching people how
to take events from their life and turn them into stories,
because I think this is how we understand ourselves and
our existence as human beings. So why then do some

(06:34):
of us more than others, have the urge to write
our story and have it connect on a deep level
with hundreds of thousands or millions of people. Maybe you
have this, Maybe you think, oh, it would be so
cool if one day I could write a story, write
a book like William Paul Young, who I interviewed a
few weeks ago, or write a book like JK. Rowling,

(06:56):
or write some other book that sells millions and millions
of copies and connects with people on this deep, deep level.
That would just feel so satisfying to me, so fulfilling
to me. And maybe you think if I could write
a book that would live on through the generations, that
would be part of the canon, a book like you
know John Steinbeck East of Eden, or Testa The Durbervilles,

(07:18):
Thomas Hardy or Catcher on the Rye. J. D. Salinger
another book that lives on through generation after generation, or C. S. Lewis,
or you know any of those authors who we still
read decades later, maybe you have that urge. And I've
thought about this a lot. Where does this urge come from?
I don't think I have the definitive answer on this,

(07:38):
but I did want to start the conversation on today's
episode and get some feedback from you. Maybe I think
there are a few things that we're actually looking for
that this urge represents. And I want to talk about
those three things today on the episode, because I think
if we can understand what we're actually looking for, we're
much more likely to get it, and that urge is
much more likely to be satisfied, rather than moving through

(08:01):
the world as I have, honestly for most of my
twenties and maybe some of my thirties, thinking if only
I can hit the New York Times list, if only
I can sell a bunch of copies of this book,
if only I can get X number of followers on
whatever social media platform, then that urge will be satisfied
and I'll feel like I've really done it and done
what I came here to do. I think that urge

(08:23):
is about three things, and I'll list the three things first,
and then I want to talk about each one. I
think it's about authentic creative expression, a desire to authentically
express ourselves with another person and with ourselves. I think
it's about an urge for meaningful connection with other people.

(08:44):
And I think it's an urge to make an important contribution.
And I think every human being has those three urges.
And for those of us who want to write our stories,
and especially those of us who have publishing interest, I
think those urges come out as I want to be
a New York Times bestselling author. I want to sell
a bunch copies of my book. I want to become

(09:04):
a household name. I want to become known for the work,
the body of work that I've created. I want to
be known, you know, generations down the road. So I
want to talk about each of those three things. The
first one that I mentioned is authentic creative expression. This

(09:27):
is another desire that I believe is inate. I think
it's an innate human desire to want to authentically express
yourself creatively. One of the things I love about the
writing process is writing is such a beautiful invitation to
express yourself more authentically. It's very difficult to engage in

(09:48):
a regular practice of writing and not start to more
authentically express yourself because you put words on the page
and you inevitably go, no, that's not exactly what I'm
trying to say, and then you edit and then you go, no,
that's not exactly what I'm trying to say, and then
you edit and then you go, wow, I didn't know that. Yeah,
that is what I was trying to say. I don't
know I even thought that. And then you expand on

(10:09):
that idea and that satisfying feeling you get when you
sit down to the page and you write something that
feels like, Yes, that aligns, that's what I was trying
to say. It's such a deeply fulfilling experience. And that's
one of the gifts that the tool of writing offers us.
It offers us an opportunity to see ourselves on the page,

(10:30):
to look at yourself, like looking at yourself in a mirror,
to authentically express yourself to yourself first, to get it
exactly how you want it, and then to share that
with one other person, or two other people, or a
million other people, as many as you would like. The
problem comes in, in my opinion, when we enter into

(10:51):
the writing process first with the intent to share, before
we fulfill the intention to authentically express to ourselves. And
this happens a lot in modern publishing world, in my opinion,
because a lot of the advice that authors, new authors get,
you know, new people to this industry is go get

(11:13):
a bunch of followers on Instagram, and once you do that,
then the doors of the publishing world will be open
to you, which is oversimplified first, but second, short circuits
what's actually trying to happen inside of the writing process,
because what's trying to happen is your own authentic creative expression,
and that is short circuited when you do it for

(11:35):
an outcome. So when you write because you want to
get on the New York Times list, it short circuits
that expression, and that need doesn't get met, and you
don't get that fulfilling, satisfying experience of yes, that's what
I was trying to say. And because you don't get that,
it feels like an empty tank. And so you keep

(11:55):
going and going and going to try to get more,
but you're missing the bullseye, you know, like you're shooting
at the thing and you're not hitting the bulls eye
because you're just not aware that that's the need that's
trying to get met. So, in my opinion, that's the
foundational need that's trying to get met when you sit
down to write your story is the need to authentically
creatively express yourself. The secondary need that's equally as important

(12:19):
but is also a secondary I know that's kind of
a weird dichotomy, but it has to come second to expression,
but it's also deeply important is connection. That's a need
that's trying to be met here in this creative process
of writing your story. So there's a reason why when
we hear stories like the shack that William Paul Jung

(12:40):
shared on the episode where I spoke with him a
few weeks ago, or stories like Harry Potter, the reason
why those stories capture our attention and seem so exciting
to those of us who want to write a book
and publish a book is because something other happened, some
sort of beautiful creative expression happened, and it connected so

(13:02):
deeply with such a large audience of people that it
meets another deep human need, which is to feel known,
to feel understood, to feel seen, to feel welcomed into
the tribe, to feel a sense of belonging. The problem
with this second need in my opinion is what a
lot of us do is we misunderstand what would actually

(13:24):
meet this need for connection. We think that the more
people who love our creative work, the more acceptance and
belonging we will feel, which just isn't true. I can
say it's categorically not true. I've worked with enough authors
who have been really, really successful in the marketplace. I've
been decently successful in the marketplace. And the question I

(13:45):
would ask you is how many books would it take
to sell before you feel a sense of belonging and acceptance?

Speaker 1 (13:52):
Would ten thousand copies? Do it?

Speaker 2 (13:55):
Does it need to be one hundred thousand copies? Does
it need to be a million copies? Is it ten
million copies? What's the number of copies where you'd be like, yep, check, check, Okay,
I feel a sense of belonging.

Speaker 1 (14:05):
If I had to put a number on it, I'm
going to.

Speaker 2 (14:06):
Tell you a number that I think would make you
feel a sense of acceptance and belonging. And I got
this number from Paul Young when I spoke with him.
I think the number is twelve. I think that when
you authentically express yourself and you share with about twelve
people who receive you and receive your expression with a

(14:27):
sense of awe and wonder and compassion. I think that's
that does it, that fulfills the need. Paul mentioned the
number twelve. He said he was writing the book The
Shack for about twelve people, which, by the way, that
book has sold twenty six million copies now and been
made into a major motion picture, so it's connected deeply
with an entire generation of people of faith.

Speaker 1 (14:49):
But he wrote the book for twelve people.

Speaker 2 (14:51):
And the other reason I say the number twelve is
that's about the number that I wrote Indestructible for. I
shared the book with ten to twelve people as soon
as it was written, before I ever decided that I
was going to publish this and make it public, and
that was really the most fulfilling part of the process.
It's also fulfilling and wonderful to have other people read
the book and respond and say this changed my life.

(15:14):
But I wouldn't say that it adds extra fulfillment. It's
not like after twelve, each new person adds more to
the cup. It's like the cup is already overflowing at twelve,
and so anything else you put into it, it's just
still overflowing and I don't even need to get into
the fact that the more exposure that your creative work

(15:37):
has in the world, the more opportunity for misunderstanding, the
more opportunity for critics, the more opportunity for rejection, and
that opens a whole new can of worms, a whole
new portal to deeper learning and deeper evolution.

Speaker 1 (15:49):
So it can be a good thing.

Speaker 2 (15:51):
But just don't be under the illusion that selling more
copies of your book or getting more eyes on your
work is going to make you feel more accepted or
filled or a greater sense of belonging, because I just
don't think it works that way. I think if you
can share your work with about twelve people who understand
you and receive you, then your cup is overflowing, and

(16:12):
anything beyond that is just extra. And the third thing
I think we're really looking for when we set off
to write our story is contribution. I think everybody's looking
for this. I think this is a deep, deep human
need to make a contribution to our community. And we
live in a culture that really celebrates the contributions of
well known names. So we celebrate athletes, we celebrate artists rightly,

(16:35):
so we celebrate actors, and actresses. We celebrate public figures.
All of these people are important and have made important contributions. Politicians.
I'm not here to minimize the contribution that any one
person has made. What I do want to say is
we don't live in a culture that actively or immediately
celebrates the kind of contributions that are made in silence,

(16:56):
the kind of contributions that are made in the dark,
the kind of contributions that never get a TV segment,
that never get any kind of award or accolade. The
contributions of a mother, the contributions of a teacher, the
contributions of a first responder, the contributions of a caregiver,
the contributions of a nurse, a doctor, the sacrifices that

(17:18):
so many people have made to make their soul's contribution
to the world.

Speaker 1 (17:25):
These people who.

Speaker 2 (17:26):
Maybe you would never hear about, or maybe you would
never know about, because they're not out there ringing their
own bell or tooting their own horn, and so they're
just doing their good work in the dark. And I
think we underestimate the kind of fulfillment and satisfaction we
might get from doing our own soul's work in the dark,

(17:47):
from making our soul's contribution in the dark, when you
tune in to what you know you're here to do.
Maybe that's a new concept for you. Maybe you haven't
really thought about it that way before. But take a
minute and try to think about what am I here
to contribute? Why did I come to this planet? What
are my skills? How could I add easily just by

(18:07):
being who I am to what's already here? So how
could I authentically creatively express myself and just by doing that,
just by my essence, I could add to what's already here.
What kind of contribution am I here to make? And
can I make that contribution without needing any sort of
external credit or external validation or external accolade? And could

(18:29):
I do that in a way where it would feel
deeply fulfilling to me? I imagine you probably can think
of an instance where you have done this. I mean
I can tell you that. Every time I get an
email from someone who read Indestructible and says I left
an abusive relationship because I read this book, I'm like done.

Speaker 1 (18:44):
That's all I needed.

Speaker 2 (18:44):
The one email, literally one email from one person saying
I rethought the relationship I was in because I read
your book. Every time that happens to me, I think, check,
I've done it. I've made my contribution. And it's another
situation where X ext emails don't add to that. It's
not like, well, now I have ten emails and so
I have ten times the amount. It's just like, no,

(19:06):
the cup is overflowing because I made my contribution. I
did what I was here to do. So what would
that look like for you? To authentically express yourself creatively,
to meaningfully connect with other people by sharing that creative
expression out in the world, and to make a contribution
to the community that you're a part of, even if
that contribution is given in the dark, even if that

(19:29):
contribution doesn't get the accolades you were hoping for. Even
if that contribution doesn't get you praise, doesn't get you,
an award, doesn't get you on a best seller's list, whatever.
I'm not knocking best sellers lists. I'm not knocking awards
or praise or any of that. I'm not knocking selling
a lot of books. Let's all sell a lot of books.
What I'm talking about is what's actually trying to happen

(19:50):
for you as you write your story. Are you paying
attention to that. Are you expressing yourself creatively first and foremost,
that's the cornerstone of all of it. Then are you
sharing meaningfully with others just to connect, just to say,
here's my experience in the world, what's yours like? And
then are you making a contribution? And are you making
the contribution that you know, deeping your heart, that you're

(20:14):
here to make, And are you making that contribution in
a way where it doesn't need some kind of return
on your investment, some kind of accolade in order to
know that you're on the right path. You can just
know in your soul that you are. So that's just
some food for thought. I hope it's helpful for you
this episode and the Wintering episode together. I hope you
went back and listened to that one as well. They
are designed to help you to think more critically about

(20:38):
why am I writing my story, what's really happening when
I do that, and what do I want to do
with this thing when it's done. Thank you so much
for listening. I'll see you next week on the Write
Your Story podcast. If you like what you hear, I
would love it so much. If you would take a
minute to rate and review the podcast. Subscribe, make sure
you're following us here so you don't miss a single episode.

Speaker 1 (20:57):
And I will see you next week.
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