Expanding Your Legacy

Computer and paperEvery time I check my social media sites, I always reminded of the amazing stories and experiences of those I’m connected too. As I scroll through my feed, I am often left wishing that people would consider taking the time and risk to consolidate their posts and turn them into something that has further reach.

Like many doctoral students, I was committed to publishing immediately following graduation. My goal was to have at least two things published per year and while I made some advancement on this goal, I definitely haven’t succeeded at achieving the pace I set for myself. I’ve also realized that I’ve spent a lot of time supporting others publishing goals by serving as a ghost writer, editor, or fact checker, but this year I rededicated to my original goal thanks to a writing process.

In a book chapter I recently wrote I described publishing as a mechanism to build legacy. Most scholars publish literature related to their field of interest, which is often influenced by their passions. The same can be said for anyone who feels they have something to share with the world. There are people who contribute to social media outlets multiple times a day and I can’t help but think it would be a logical next step to find a way to have greater reach, even beyond our lifetime. For me there is something incredibly fascinating about the idea that my decedents will have the ability to read my work, explore issues I care about, and hear my voice through the words I write.

From one writer to another, here is some advice to help you along the way.

  1. Writer’s block is real. There is nothing more discouraging than having the energy to write, but a blank mind. To combat this I carry notepads with me to ensure that when inspiration hits, I have a place to document my thoughts. While others may have different strategies, I attempt to overcome writer’s block by engaging in “free thinks” where I unload various ideas and thoughts that are clouding my mind. While this doesn’t always lead to writing, I often find that my subconscious has provided ideas when I review the document at a later time.
  2. Publishing requires courage. The only thing more terrifying than submitting a document for review, is seeing a reviewed document in your inbox. My personally philosophy is that feedback is love and evidence that someone took the time to read a document, but it takes a lot of courage to allow others to review something as tangible as a written piece. Rather than considering this process as a way to question your ability, try to constantly think of the review process as a way to protect you from looking foolish in the future.
  3. Be the tortoise, not the hare. If you’re like me, you can pull together a project or complete a task as quickly as it is conceived. Unfortunately this approach doesn’t work with writing. Publishing is a process that requires a lot of time and if you lack confidence, even more may be required. If this doesn’t comply with your work style, try my approach of creating timelines and small goals. This lets you have some small wins to encourage you to keep going. Another approach is to speak your goals into existence. Talk to others about it so you can activate your accountability strength.

While you may not want to publish in research journals, there are plenty of outlets to build your legacy and share your story.

  1. Self-publish an e-book on Amazon
  2. Start a blog
  3. Write a book chapter
  4. Share inspirational messages via social media
  5. Submit to a local newspaper

Regardless of what you do, consider publishing as a way to add to your legacy.

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