this incarnation of Carla possessed an entirely different bio
Nothing strikes frazzle into the heart of a freelancer like the words:
Send a bio and we’re ready to publish!
- Challenging story assignment? We rise to the occasion.
- Full rewrite of what we’d thought was already amazing? No worries. Whatever it takes!
- New bio required in order to git paid? Complete and utter paralysis by over-analysis.
Whether we struggle with impostor syndrome or agonize over distilling accomplishments into terse sentences everyone agrees bios are hard.
The last time I received the ‘send along a bio‘ request I was stymied.
Not only did I struggle to identify my most important accomplishments in the realm of where I was publishing–I found myself distracted by all I aspired to be and had not yet achieved.
My goals may be mindful, but they are also big, hairy and audacious. They’re hanging out in my head, standing in line and waiting to be accomplished.
As a result, I
begged a friend to write my bio and decided, more pressing than penning an up-to-date bio, was writing a FUTURE-O for myself.
A clear and succinct identification of who I aspired to be and precisely what FutureCarla would l
ook read like.
My 5 Steps to creating a FUTURE-O.
I became a Carla-biographer.
Before I started it was crucial I shifted my mindset. I needed to distance myself from…myself. It was crucial I reframed and viewed myself as a biographer or reporter. I was writing about the life of my wildest dreams. I needed to not be mired in reality. Lofty goals were identified/written about as though they’d already actually happened. To borrow a phrase from Coleridge, writing my FUTURE-O required a willing suspension of disbelief.
Bios feel challenging because we need different ones depending on the occasion. My FUTURE-O, I decided, would contain everything. I listed all important categories (relationships, work achievements, financial gains, volunteering, charitable donations, new/old hobbies, fitness) and arranged them in order of what was required to “happen” first. That way, when I was ready to start FUTURE-O writing, everything was aligned the way it needed to be. For example, I’d need to first make millions from my ‘tween fiction before I could create a foundation for at-risk youth.
I took an intermission.
This may be easier than a bio, but I still needed to shed my focus on cold, hard reality and take time to daydream for a while.
In order to create FutureCarla it was crucial I let my mind run free.
Sadly, this isn’t as exciting as it sounds. Because a FUTURE-O is a form of a bio (not a mission statement ) I assigned dates to absolutely everything I wrote. Not only did these dates lend a sense of reality to my “suspension of disbelief” they helped organize my thoughts and made me excited about the potential of my future.
In addition, to give myself distance (which increased my creativity), I wrote the entire thing in the 3rd person:
In February 2018, Birnberg launched her successful______
A huge gift to this FUTURE-O exercise was the fact no one was really waiting for it. As a result there was also no need to trim/make terse to fit publication space. My FUTURE-O is jampacked with details. I gave myself the freedom to get all kinds of verbose.
I felt the words as I typed them.
I experienced the sense of pride I knew I’d have when I accomplished these achievements.
I furrowed my brow as I wrote sentences, realized I didn’t long for the achievement/experience as Id surmised, and tapped the delete button more than a few times.
And with all that I was done.
I printed my FUTURE-O, taped it to my office wall, and it remains there as a reminder of who I aspire to be.
If I’d had a FUTURE-O–this would’ve been on it!
Did I still need to write a bio for my editor?
No, my friend did that for me Sure.
Did I now possess a clear vision of the
bio future I aspired to achieve? For sure.
And, through the process of defining FutureMe, I’d simultaneously shed any urges to compare my accomplishments to other writers’ sparked by scrutinizing their bio sentences.
I wasn’t yet FutureCarla, but I felt inspired to do the work and morph my FUTURE-O into reality.
- Do you struggle with writing a bios? Have you ever considered creating a FUTURE-O?
Bea saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 4:23 am
Ugh and a definite yes.
Why is writing a bio so hard??
I hate them.
Leanne | crestingthehill saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 5:09 am
I’ve never been asked for a bio – it sounds hard and I think I’m glad nobody wants one from me! Love future Carla – I bet she’s bad ass 🙂
Carla saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:49 am
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 5:10 am
I definitely need to do this.
Liz saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 5:18 am
I was curious so I clicked your link. Now I wonder how uncomfortable this might feel for me to write. I struggle with framing myself as successful. I think pretending to be successful might be as uncomfortable as believing in myself.
Michelle saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 5:27 am
THIS IS SO HELPFUL. It is so good to not be alone in the bio thing. I hate writing a bio. I have a bio and I really dislike it. I’m going to make my own future-O. I might end up as Batman.
Coco saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 5:59 am
I have a pretty bland bio for work that uses all the appropriate key words, blah, blah, blah. You do so much more thinking, goal-setting and planning than I do. I think I’m afraid of setting goals I won’t achieve. I’d rather surprise myself. 😉
Carla saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:37 am
I think Id gotten stuck in the sentiment of our third to last sentence too. For me. RIGHT NOW. I NEED TO SET 🙂
Susan Bonifant saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 6:17 am
I can’t even take it seriously when I write about myself in third person. I do my best to pretend I’m a person reading it at the end of an article and keep it short and business-like. Business-like is a go-to for me, like black pants.
marcia saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 6:32 am
I feel ridiculous when I write my own bio. Sometimes I think those that others have written ABOUT me are ridiculous too. They feel so self-promotional. Something I need to work on. I like the idea of Future-O. Self-fulfilling prophecy, right?
MCM Mama Runs saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 7:28 am
I hate writing bios. I always feel like I’m going to focus on something stupid.
I need to work on a FUTURE-0. I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis trying to figure out what I want to do with myself. Maybe that would help me define me.
Carla saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:37 am
yep yep so much yep to your FOURTH SENTENCE above. Here too.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 7:41 am
I struggle with writing my own bio–I mean just look at my “about me” page on my blog. So ridiculous. I didn’t know what to say. I never do. Here’s what it should say:
–Wendy is a fiercely independent thinker who refuses to let anyone tell her what to do. Tell her no and she will cut you. Tell her she can’t and she’ll show you she will. She loves her sons, her dog, her husband, running, and chocolate, all in that order. She works only because she has to. Graduated Summa cum Laude of the School of Hard Knocks.
My future-O has me sitting on a beach, contemplating life. That is all.
Carla saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:36 am
GOOD LORD I ADORE YOU. I wanna frame that “what it should say” paragraph for my own d*mn self!
messymimi saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 7:54 am
Never had to write a bio or a future-o. It does sound inspiring, and like it would make it easier to be glad for where you are while on the way to where you are going. At least with this, you know the direction you want to take.
Carla saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:36 am
YES! I was just yammering this AT the child friday night as we made vision boards. we cannot get where we wanna go if we never define…where we wanna go!
Rena McDaniel saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:47 am
Great idea! I hate writing them too!
Haralee saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 10:24 am
I love this idea! So many bios are either boring or unsubstantiated or not relevant to the task/job/expert/profession.
Adjusted Reality saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm
Oh my gosh, yes!!! I love the idea of a Future-o. I love the idea of pretending as if you’re already on the other side of a bunch of big, hairy goals.
AR is a certified Personal Trainer, Sports Nutrition Specialist, and Triathlon Coach with 100 race finishes including Ironman Texas this year. She has published her first book. She has a great grasp of social media and marketing for a business, and she is actually offering services to other people instead of being intimidated by it and sticking to theory. Also, she has a damn office instead of a junk room.
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm
I have not had to do a bio yet. I think it would be hard for me to do as well. thanks for the thoughts
green diva meg saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm
clever and creative way to work past the paralysis of bio-writing.
Kathy saysJanuary 16, 2017 at 8:50 pm
Have done several bios. Hate to do them but it sometimes is a necessity. I love the idea of the Future-O. I often wonder if we could have some vehicle called the “Didn’t Get this Far just Because of Luck” thingy where we could list a combination or stupid mistakes, miscalculations and plain old tenacity that kept us going.
Or maybe a “NOT ABOUT ME” page ( I can’t be near bugs, I don’t eat beets and Christmas is not my favorite holiday) I might be better at that. Really enjoyed this post, Carla.