The One With Remarkablogger Michael Martine

“Money pays the bills but it doesn’t do anything for your heart.”

–Michael Martine,
Remarkablogger

Greetings, inklings! Today’s post is my interview with Remarkablogger Michael Martine, who blogs all sorts of fantabulous whats, hows and whys for blogging and business. His humor is dry, his style straightforward, and his advice spot-on. He loves helping others accomplish their business dreams. I hope he inspires you as much as he does me!

Plus, he’s as big a fantasy nerd as I am, which just makes him cramazing fun to talk to. ; )

Courtney: How did you decide to start coaching bloggers?

Michael — That’s a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t coach bloggers. Bloggers are cheap and broke and the worst clients. I coach business owners who use blogging and social media as marketing tools. This isn’t just semantics: the mindset, goals and–very important for me–budgets of the two groups are very different from each other. I decided to become a blog consultant because it dawned on me that it was sorely needed and would be fun as well as profitable. If there’s a gold rush, don’t run to the hills with everyone else, sell pickaxes and a prospecting manual instead. There is a whole new world of freedom available to anyone with the courage and means to live there. The means in this case is an understanding and strategy about how online business and marketing works. You bring the courage and I’ll help with the means.

CC: In your post What Narcissism Taught Me about Marketing, you share painful childhood memories and don’t shy away from honesty about your flaws. What gives you the courage to make yourself so vulnerable to all of your readers?

MM — I don’t care what other people think about me, but I have to live with myself, so honesty beats lying. It also makes for juicier reading.

CC: In that same post, you write:

“On the other hand, as a one-person business (which most of you are), you are also something of a one-person ‘cult of personality.’ Which is odd, because in the right situation, people actually will care about what you had for lunch.

“The way this works is that you have to connect your personal stuff to the lessons your followers want from you. You have to connect specific personality traits to your brand and express them in your content marketing.”

How does “one-person cult of personality” in content marketing apply to honest, open bloggers who don’t consider themselves a business?

MM — It’s what makes people want to follow you, regardless of whether you have anything to sell to them. While it seems weird to say “be a slight caricature of yourself” and “be authentic” in the same breath, all I’m saying is that people remember certain things about you and you have influence over that. You also still have to decide on a logo and colors, which are also part of your brand. You’re deliberately crafting a certain look and feel in order to communicate specific ideals. Is this dishonest? No, of course not. So, neither is it dishonest when considering how to “color” your writing voice or your speaking. Deliberateness and purpose are not dishonest.

CC: A few weeks ago, one of your posts caused a ruckus because some of your readers took exception to your calling them either pimps and prostitutes. When you have a controversial idea for a post, do you always implement it?

MM — Controversy and shock value are somewhat related but I never post anything just for shock value. Dividing people is a great way to get comments and a reaction. Things are never so simple or black-and-white, but when you reduce the terms of the debate to an either/or situation in order to get people to think, it allows for great discussion. Whether you get that great discussion or your comments devolve into a FOX “news” show is up to you. It’s your blog.

I think about what kind of reaction or discussion that will happen before I post. I think about how the topic meshes with my brand. For a site with the tagline “No-Bullshit Blogging for Bitchin’ Businesses,” dividing the online business world into pimps and prostitutes to get a discussion started and drive traffic makes perfect sense. If you’re too squeamish or dainty to follow me down that road, I don’t want you on my site because you’re never going to be a client of mine.

CC: What’s your most effective way of dealing with readers’ criticism?

MM — Real criticism is valuable and I love to receive it. I will thank you for it. If somebody is just bloviating because they’re pissed off, well… they’ve already made themselves look bad. People can and will think whatever they want, and facts be damned. Having said that, it almost NEVER happens on Remarkablogger because my readers are smart and have good manners.

CC: What are your criteria for deciding whether or not to post the controversy?

MM — I kinda already talked about this (yay for reading the questions in advance… ) but let me add this: I don’t post because a topic is controversial. I post because I think it will help people who may need me as a blog consultant move closer to hiring me, which is how all businesses should decide to publish marketing content. Let’s not forget that’s what we’re doing here. We’re marketing. If we do it right, it doesn’t look like it. But it is.

CC: What’s your favorite part of helping others be more genuine in their blogging?

MM — Getting emails and having conversations with people who tell me their business is better because they implemented my advice and ideas. That’s the best feeling. Money pays the bills but it doesn’t do anything for your heart.

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Courtney here again. I want to thank Michael for saying yes to my interview request and for taking the time to give such thoughtful replies to all of my questions! And hope that you, my inklings, find his tips and openness as encouraging as I do! Here are a few of my favorite quotes from his interview:

There is a whole new world of freedom available to anyone with the courage and means to live there.

…[W]hen you reduce the terms of the debate to an either/or situation in order to get people to think, it allows for great discussion.

I don’t post because a topic is controversial. I post because I think it will help people…

…[M]y readers are smart and have good manners. 😉

So, dear readers, what do you have to say?

How difficult is it for you to be genuine in your blogging? How much do you worry about what others will think of you?

What are you going to do about it?

Poetry Sucks, Beats, and Twists

As I’ve mentioned before, the time when I wasn’t noveling was one of the most depressing, despairing times I’ve ever gone through.

The good news is that the experience led to one of the most uplifting, life-changing conclusions I’ve ever reached:

If I want to feel content, if I want to be able to function like a human being, then I have to be writing stories.

I have to be writing novels.

It’s what I was created to do — and if I’m not doing it, I start falling apart.

But.

Poetry Is Like a Vacuum Cleaner

There is another side to this story. Over the last year, I’ve realized that the more I immerse myself in my novels, the more my poetry sucks.

When I was 12, I pulled a book off my mom’s shelf: How Does A Poem Mean? by John Ciardi. In his book, he talks some of the hows of turning emotion and experience into words. I didn’t understand all of it, but what I did understand made me sit down and start poetizing. I haven’t stopped since.

Poetry Is Like a Heartbeat

In an address at Brigham Young University in 1963, Ciardi also spoke these lines of pure beauty:

Poetry is not inherently moral or immoral. It is like a heartbeat. There is no moral or immoral heartbeat.

 

Poetry Is Like a Car Engine

My very best poetry has come out of my darkest days. When I’m at my most miserable, my poetry is at its most touching and most resonant.

So, in a way, it’s a trade-off: When I’m noveling, I feel good. When I feel good, I can’t write a lot of poetry. The stories and the poems come from two different places. Or maybe it’s the same place, but the Muse chooses different tools to hand me.

I tinker. I twist. I turn and twirl with my tools, and sometimes I even tintinnabulate. Sometimes, after my twistinnabulation (howzat for poetic?), things start running smoothly. By which I mean they’re gritty and fundamental and from-the-heart bloody.

That’s when my poetry is beautiful.
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Do you write poetry?

Do you want to write poetry, but you think you can’t?

Oh honey, please tell me you didn’t listen to someone who told you that you can’t. If that’s the case, we need to talk.

Writers of various genri*: Do you novel better than you poetize? Poetize better than you journal? Journal better than you prosate?

What makes the difference? Interest level? Emotional state? Mental condition?

The comments are yours, sweetlings. Let’s conversate. ; )
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*One genre, two genri, I always say.

Book Edits Are Eating Me

Most darlingest readers, from the feedback you’ve given me on Tuesday’s post, I see that it struck a chord with many of you. On one hand, I’m glad to know that, as it tells me I’m doing some good by embarking upon this journey of creative confession.

On the other hand, I’m sad to know that my “Confessions” resonate with you, because I know it means you’ve suffered through your own creative shackles. And I wouldn’t wish those on anyone.

But no matter which hand we’re talking about, I plan to continue my Confessions. We’ll take each other by the hand and walk this path together. As one of my favorite authors once wrote:

“Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased—thus do we refute entropy.”

–Spider Robinson

The next step in the journey must wait until next Tuesday, though. I am working on the final edits for Colors of Deception, as well as devoting time to palaver with my art team regarding the photoshoot for cover art. (In other news, I’m trying my hand at strung-together prepositional phrases.)

All of this has taken time away from blogging. I’ll try to make up some of it over the weekend. In the meantime, I invite you to peruse my About page or the list of Popular Posts in the sidebar to the right of your screen.

Come back next Tuesday for “Confessing My Creative Sins, Pt. 2.” I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Photo credit Julie V. Photography.