SUM-it UP: A Guest Post by Anastasia Ashman, Cofounder of

You add up. Now make yourself discoverable, too.

by Anastasia Ashman

Writers are born content producers. The more prolific among us are literally *volcanoes* of content, ideas springing from our skull like Athena from the head of Zeus. Talk about writerhead!

Yet, I suspect a majority of what you’ve generated in your writing life isn’t actively working for you. It’s probably not laid out as a path directly to where you want to go, nor presented as an invitation to other like-minded souls and interested parties to join you in your journey. It’s not contributing to the discoverability of you. I’ll explain what I mean in a minute.

First, a show of hands: who’s got office and library shelves full of reams of paper, boxes and binders, clippings and photos and notes? Sketches and recorded interviews and scrapbook materials? What about in the hall closet, and all that stuff in the basement? Floppy disks, hard drives, external drives, CDs. I bet you have a bunch of content stored here, there and everywhere.

There’s a reason you haven’t gotten rid it of—even the bad poetry from college, or, heaven forbid, middle school.

That mountain of stuff represents our effort and interest, and independent research that perhaps no one around us thought was a good use of our time but we chose to do it because it made us feel alive.

Think of all the hobbies you’ve poured yourself into and how you’ve retained the evidence of them. Doesn’t have to be writing necessarily. Anything that represents your experiences, your thinking and feeling on certain topics. All those photos of people and places and things that hold meaning and jog memories, yet haven’t seen the light of day in practically FOREVER. Some of it may represent what we now figure are creative failures. False starts. Ancient history.

So now you’ve got a mental image of your piles of creation, content associated with the life you’ve lived and the things you’ve loved (or hated!) and maybe still feel strongly about. It’s gold! It’s also a forgotten fire hazard. Don’t feel too badly. We all have similar piles that we haven’t used for anything.

Another quick show of hands: how many of you are sitting on a mountain of diverse content like I described above, and at the same time you’re wondering how you’re going to make ends meet, effect a career change, or achieve a goal? Or maybe you’re thinking you can’t do what you yearn to because you live in the wrong place and don’t have the right contacts and there’s no opportunity to pursue that interest where you are?

That last option is a favorite of mine. I spent 14 years as an expatriate pondering if where I am is a disadvantage to what I want to do. Content creators feeling this way should take heart. You’re reading the absolute right post.

Here’s my proposal: if we consider that earlier output not as failure or a waste of time, but instead a chain of events that make us who we are today, then we can start to get an idea of the arc of our lives and how what we’ve done in the past can help us get where we want to go in the future. Imagine how this might even help your writing, especially if you’re a memoirist!

How might your opportunities change if you let your content support your aims? What if you were prominently findable in your particular field? Whether you’re positioning yourself to land jobs or funding or a book deal, or you’ve got a completed book or other product or service to sell, it might make great deal of difference to your results. If you’re findable and well-represented, you have a chance. If you’re unknown, unfindable, and a jumbled mess when people DO happen to stumble on you you won’t make much of an impression.

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve entered a golden age for content creators with the rise of the social web, the personality brand platform and the creative entrepreneur movement.

Whatever you want to do, you’ll need help and support. As a published author and cultural producer, I’ve come to understand that an important part of gathering support is going public with your process, to attract like-minded people to your cause and to involve them in your journey. The kind of people who are interested your vision and your way of thinking, parties who can help you develop your plan, the kind of peers and confidants and guides who will form the basis of your network.

Are you intrigued by this notion of wrapping your arms around your content and linking it with your goals but don’t know how? You need to share it far and wide.

I believe so strongly in the content-goals-sharing equation as a foundation for success that as the cofounder of an educational media startup called, my first offering is a program to help content producers like you do just that with the help of the social web, by building your global web platform. You build a platform online to stock with your content. (See an archive of our SUM-it UP mailings on the topic.)

If you’re interested in getting a new perspective on your powers as a content creator in the age of the social web, get on our mailing list. Whether you decide to join us in the SUM-it UP program or not, you’re going to emerge with a new grasp of what constitutes content, ways to capture all that you’ve generated to represent and market yourself online with it, plus a clearer picture of who your right people are, and where you’ll find them on the web, and how they’ll find you.

Content creators, get found.


Anastasia Ashman is the cofounder of, an educational media company that shows people how to be more visible in the world and how to develop personally and professionally through the use of social web technology and by building their web platforms. Her first program SUM-it UP: mine yourself for purpose & profit starts September 23. Get on the early bird list here for a 25% discount and special gift. Find her on Twitter (@AnastasiaAshman).