Dear Fiery Writers, Entrepreneurs and other Fabulous Friends,

So I’m on a plane. Usually I don’t talk to whomever’s sitting next to me. Do you? If they’re boring, you’re stuck for hours. But this time I couldn’t resist.

The guy to my right was handsome, sharply dressed. Elegant. Then there was the gold. GOLD. It was like he’d melted down a whole gold bar and molded it into the chunkiest, flashiest watch you’d ever seen. And then made an even more outrageous craggy ring. Yellow gold. Blindingly bright. You could barely see his knuckles. Forget Flava-Flav. Love your jewelry, I said.

“I’m a pimp turned portrait painter. These here?” He tapped his wrist. “Reminds me who I was.”

He told me how he used the same people skills he learned on the street to manage a stable of women and read johns for his portrait painting business.

“People come in, customers, they’re presenting who they want the world to see. Their facade. How they wish they were. All puffed up, stiff, full of themselves. So I sit at my easel and I pretend to paint. Then, after about half an hour, the front slips. The customers get tired. That’s when I see the truth. The real person. Then I decide who I’m going to paint. Can’t paint who they really are. Nobody wants to see that. Usually I paint a combination.”

Never forgot this story.

You’ve got to figure out who you are. Develop self awareness. Then decide how you’re going to present yourself to the world. How you’re going to present your business. And strike a balance. What’s personal. What’s public.

Yes, writers, I’m talking to you, too. We are all business people in 2013. If we want to stay vital as writers, we’ve got to create our own economies. Our own private economies. Entrepreneurs, you already know this. Authors, time to embrace your role as entrepreneurs (unless you’re independently wealthy, or lazy-satisfied in a teaching gig).

I believe we all have stories to tell, and the world needs to hear them. Stories can connect the world. So if you’re not reaching as many people as you can, and you’re not able to fund your creativity, then it’s simple. You’re denying the world. Your gifts, your story? Bigger than you. Let it out.

You all know I believe in this fiercely. It’s why I teach. It’s why I started Writers On Fire.

It’s also why I’ve now started Above The Hum over the past holidays. I’ve joined forces with Catherine Hedden, a Branding and Social Media Marketing expert, to create this new venture. Add in her husband, David Gumpel, an Emmy-winning director who helms their video production company, Films About Me, and you’ve got a new biz in Sensa-Round! We cover all the bases for this new world. And new year. What Facebook goddess and NY Times bestselling author Mari Smith calls The Year Of The Video.

I’m right brain, Catherine’s left brain. Together we created a StoryStash system which will help you create consistently compelling content for your social media marketing.

The cool thing is — it’s ALL ABOUT STORY. Story is fundamental. People are hungry for it. They always will be. Now, we get a chance to share our stories in new ways. What if you knew your story, and could break it down for different social media platforms, plus blogs, plus video — plus books! And reach more people. Would that be gratifying? We’re artists. We write to share. To connect. And entrepreneurs? You have stories too. But not a lot of time.

If I can stretch this way, anyone can. I’m a writer at heart. I could hide out in my Topanga Canyon sanctuary for months, writing, communing with my Ideal Reader, my imagination. But I know I don’t reach as many people that way in 2013. So turn on the video cam, share your story on social media, and let’s get globally connected.

I wanted to announce this to you guys ‘cuz I’m tearing through a flame-crowned circle into this brand-spanking new year. It’s time to share our stories

If all this interests, excites, even inspires — come join us. We created a webinar for the Inner Circle of the Writers On Fire community — those who’ve taken workshops, retreats, or worked one-on-one with me. Now we’re sharing it with you, the larger Writers On Fire tribe. It will give you encouragement and great tips for how to shoot your own videos.  Let’s bring it this year!

Click on the link below, join the Above The Hum tribe, and enjoy the free webinar and three DIY video tips vids.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comments. Questions. Even if you think this sucks. It flies in the face of what writing should be about. Or whatever. Gloves off.

We’re also offering an upcoming retreat right here in Los Angeles Jan. 18-20, in a cool historic former speakeasy right smack across from the Pacific Ocean. Here’s info on that:

Love to know your thoughts. Questions. Comments.

Also, love to hear about your story. What you present to the world. Who you really are. What’s your truth. Is there a way to share more of your core story?

Here’s to 2013. A year of great growth, creativity and abundance for all.

Yrs in truth,