Building a Tribe: Lessons from Hurricane Matthew

What Hurricane Matthew Taught Me About Building a Tribe

Lessons from Hurricane Matthew on Building Tribe

As I first wrote this post, I was in the midst of preparations for Matthew—a potential category four hurricane—to make landfall in Florida after 11 years without a major storm hitting the state.

As in writing, three personality traits emerged throughout this crisis, and I can’t help it but analyze them—particularly because I can clearly see where I stand (more about this later).

There were the well-prepared, who know when and how to get into action. They erred on the side of caution and were in shape with their preparations. Here in South Florida, people were all over the place upping their supplies of water, food, gas, batteries, and first-aid kits. There was a rush to fill up the gas tank, buy plywood, board up the home, and even in some instances, pack up and evacuate.

Despite that, there were the procrastinators, the ones who prioritized ancillary projects before getting down to the wire; they were more relaxed individuals. With a “go with the flow” attitude, they only got involved with prepping at the last minute. It’s no surprise that when hitting the grocery stores, those people found a shortage of essentials.

Finally, I spotted the thrill seekers. Counting on luck, they took chances and didn’t have a plan. Aside from taking care of the basic supplies, they decided to stay put (even in evacuation areas) and ride the storm—a dangerous and potentially deadly one.

Luckily, for us here down south, we made it through with no major damages. But needless to say, this hurricane taught me a lesson or two that, as a writer, I couldn’t overlook: the importance of building a tribe.

We are all in this together

Writing is a solitary activity by nature, and that can intimidate many people. The same loneliness that feeds some of the most brilliant ideas can also bring the creator self-doubt.

As a writer, I’m constantly reminded that we need a similar collective support system to help sort things out, discuss ideas, and bring us up when we fall during our journey.

The sense of community among Floridians and all individuals affected on the East Coast made me realize that we were not alone and our strength helped us get through those rough moments.

The power of people who have and people who have not been through a situation like that before brought out a positive outlook of “We will get through it.”

The same principles apply to the writing world. When we connect with other writers or participate in different communities, we can be held accountable for our work, cheer fellow writers, and find the tools we need to get our writing to another level. That connection makes it easy for building a tribe.

We need to prepare

Likewise, to make our work known, and potentially strike the desired deal, we need an audience to cheer us on—this is particularly the case for book deals with traditional publishers.

We need a community of people who will read, absorb, share, and ideally become raving fans.

But this doesn’t happen overnight. This will only happen once we find and refine our voice.

It is a process of trial and error that requires patience, discipline, and preparation. A process that is doable and becomes manageable when we have someone (or maybe many souls) guiding us every step of the way.

Like you, I experienced this process firsthand. I couldn’t go so far if it wasn’t for the support from different communities I took part in. In my case, I also had to dig deep into various venues.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful for every bit of useful information I could find, webinars taken, and pieces of advice heard. But when it comes to building a tribe of engaged writers and finding the support one needs to create and grow a platform and expand one’s reach, I can’t stop stressing how invaluable Tribe Writers was.

Why Tribe Writers?

Not getting too technical, but I’m sure you’ve already heard of Jeff Goins, the author of the bestselling book The Art of Work, haven’t you? If you are a writer and didn’t read the book, you are missing out on a valuable resource. I read and couldn’t get enough of it (and you can learn why in this The Art of Work review).

At Tribe Writers, Jeff Goins leads this online course geared toward writers, bloggers, creators, consultants, and entrepreneurs.

The main point is to guide individuals to find their voice, build a successful platform around their work, expand their reach, and eventually get published.

During eight weeks and four modules, Jeff walks the students through the entire process in a series of videos, teaching techniques, workbook, and daily nudges, providing expert interviews and also supporting us through conferences and a private Facebook community. You have access to the modules forever and can take the lessons at your own pace.

I took the course the last time it was opened for enrollment, and I don’t regret a single penny. While putting Tribe Writers assignments into action, I’m forever thankful for the benefits of the course:

  1. Gave me the tools and foundation to take my business off the ground.

  2. Helped me to find focus and figure out what I wanted as a writer.

  3. Gave me the guts to independently publish two children’s books (going on the third).

  4. Provided me with direction for marketing strategies, a big struggle among writers.

Final Thoughts

For anyone who is serious about writing and is looking for accountability, the course is worth taking. The minimum that can happen is you come out of it with tons of useful information and resources you can apply to your business and everyday life.

Back to where I stand on those three personality traits, if you guessed well-prepared, you were right on the money. Like in the hurricane, where I got all provisions ahead of time, once I decided to become a writer, I took meaningful actions to take it to another level. There is still a long road to cross, but it sure feels rewarding to have taken the first step.


** This post may contain affiliate links. To learn more, read full disclosure here.

What are your experiences building a tribe? Have you tried Tribe Writers?”>What Hurricane Matthew Taught Me About Building a Tribe