Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interview: Anything is Possible with Richard Dedor

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Richard Dedor, the author of Anything is Possible, on his writing, publishing and life philosphies. Richard first rose to fame when he ran for mayor of his home town, Mason City, Iowa, at age 18. Even though he lost, he remained committed to his campaign slogan, The Time is Now, and he continues to live each day dedicated to leading, achieving, and affecting the world around him. Read the interview below for writing and life inspiration, and check his book out on Amazon or at his own website:

One part of your life that you are very open about is your decision to run for mayor of Mason City, Iowa, at age 18, finish third, and yet still proclaim that your campaign was victorious. This ties into one of your philosophies that failure equals success. Could you explain more about that philosophy?

I know it sounds simplistic and seven years after the loss, it is pretty easy to be positive about the results, but knowing in my heart that I did all I could at 18 to win, that I wore my heart on my sleeve, that I stayed true to my ideals and my vision, that makes me a winner in my eyes. I also know I had people who didn’t care about politics, especially city politics who were energized by my candidacy which goes to show how important passion is in whatever you do.

You also emphasize the idea of trying anything and everything. How does that open and bold attitude increase one’s chances of success and happiness in life?

When you live life with every option on the table, anything is a possibility. When you start tossing this and that off as options, you limit exponentially the opportunities and possibilities. All we know is what is in front of us – our next choice – our next decision. We have no idea how the next five minutes will impact the next five years of our lives, so I advocate and try to do anything and everything I can. Of course this comes at the price of being overcommitted, so it is definitely a delicate balance.

You write in the opening to your book, Anything is Possible, “The moment to do something is now.” How does this apply to aspiring authors? How does this apply to your life on a daily basis?

I will probably be chastised by my future agent and publisher by what I say next: I am not the best writer out there. I am only personally striving to do a few things as a writer. First I want to get better with each word. I also want my words to challenge me personally. Finally, I want my writing to challenge the reader. But I and other writers can’t do that if we don’t write. A painter can’t sell a painting if they don’t risk it all and brush their first stroke. There is no reason to wait. Absolutely none.

You also state that in the last few years you have met “amazing and inspiring” people. Who is one of the most inspiring people you’ve met and why?

I could list of a whole bunch of people. Jim MacLeran. Nathanael Porembka. Paul Wesselmann. Stephen Barnes. The list goes on and on. Each person is obviously different and has affected me in a different way, but the thing I’ve learned from them all is that I am a unique person of value and I should spend my life sharing my passion with others. I should never let “no” get in my way. And I should certainly not stop myself.

When and why did you decide to write an inspirational book?

I think I made the initial decision to write a motivational book seven or eight years ago. I’ve always been an emotional person and the stories of humanity have always touched me and I wanted to do the same. You can do that with fictional characters, but to me, there is nothing like seeing and reading about a real-life person who has either done great things because they were passionate and didn’t quit or to read about someone who had every chance and every reason to quit, but didn’t. I wanted to tell a story like that. In the acknowledgements I say that my greatest achievement in life will be if the people who read the book end up believing that anything is possible.

After you had written Anything is Possible, what influenced your decision to publish your book through CreateSpace?

I submitted the book to various agents and publishers through their stipulated procedures just to gauge the interest level. I’m a rookie writer in the cull-length book sense. I knew I had that against me. I’m young writing a non-fiction book and I knew I had that against me. However, I have thought about this project for seven years and I believe in it so much that I wanted to get it out to start changing lives. My goal isn’t to make it on the New York Times Best Seller list. Of course that would be amazing and awesome and I would certainly enjoy that, but my goal is just to change one person’s life. CreateSpace gave me a perfect and seamless avenue to do that.

In what ways might your book appeal especially to writers?

Any artist knows what it is like to create something and have no one like or appreciate it. We’ve all been there. Building a house is easy in the sense that you have a plan and you stick to the plan and you’re going to get what’s on the blueprint. Writing a book is quite different. You have an outline or a vision, but you just have the hope that the characters or the vision is strong enough to carry you through. This book seeks to get you past that initial, “I can’t possibly write a book.” But the thing is, you are correct in that you can’t write the book. You first have to write a sentence. Then a paragraph. Then a page and a chapter and soon, you have a book. This is the kick in the butt we all need from time to time.

Authors, whether self or traditionally published, are necessarily involved in marketing their work nowadays. What is one marketing technique or tool that you have used that you would recommend?

You definitely have to use social media that is relevant to your subject. You have to talk about it. You have to be passionate about it. Writing a good book is a big deal! Share it wherever you go! Be proud of it. People who are proud and passionate about their work will find success. For me, I have former and future speaking clients and they are really excited that I finally have a book they can take with them and for me, that has been the best marketing.

We writers can sometimes be our own worst enemies, especially when the little devil of doubt sits on our shoulders. How do we “overcome ourselves,” so to speak?

You have to surround yourself with at least one other person who has bought into your vision and will keep you on focused on the end goal. I am glad I had that. Without it, I wouldn’t be talking about the book today. I would have quit writing it. When you have that team around you, they keep you going, they keep you focused, and they can also tell you the honest truth. Plus, they will be there with coffee on the late nights and a beer at the end of the journey.

In your book and work with motivational speaking, and now, what is a final thought you’d like to leave readers with?

Write. Plain and simple – write! I’m in the process of deciding my next project, but through it all, through the searching to find my next inspiration I haven’t quit writing. As I said, my goal is to impact one person; what happens after that for me is just gravy on the mashed potatoes.

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