The following is the FULL interview between Joy White and Walt F.J. Goodridge that appeared in edited form in the September 2017 issue of Beach Road Magazine. See the article, which includes profiles of other Saipan professionals, online at https://issuu.com/beachroadmagazine
(please forgive their misspelling of Walt's name in the photo caption of the magazine)
Walt F.J. Goodridge is from the island of Jamaica. After receiving his early education on the island, his family migrated to New York City where he went to high school and graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. However, after a few years, he walked away from an unfulfilling engineering career to pursue his passion for music and writing. He has been a radio deejay, network marketer, record label owner and artist manager, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Source, Billboard, Time, Black Enterprise, Essence, Ebony, South Africa's SArie Magazine. Then, one cold winter night in December 2005 in Brooklyn, his friend Ken told him about a recent trip to Saipan. As Walt tells it, something “clicked” and two months later, he was on a one way flight to the CNMI where he has lived since February 2006! Here on Saipan, he has pursued his writing passion in earnest producing several Saipan-specific books, writing columns and articles for the Saipan Tribune, Marianas Variety and the Guam Business Journal, and conducting workshops here and on Guam to help others pursue their own writing passion.
Full Name (Spouse & Children, if applicable)
My full name is Walt Frederick Jerome Goodridge (Yes, Walt is my first name! Don't add any other letters to it!). I'm single. No children.
I refer to myself as a “nomadpreneur” or a “passionpreneur,” but you can just call me a writer.
Years in your profession
I've been writing since 1992.
What was your first project? Describe your duties and what stands out to you about it. (with relations to book-writing or being an author/writer)
I wrote and published my first book, Change the Game, in 1992. It was a “how to” guide to show young Hip Hop entrepreneurs how to start their own record label and release their own records. It was my first book. I wrote it without any writing experience or background, but I finished the 250-page manuscript in three weeks, sold it through mail order (this was before the Internet), and within a few months was able to match my monthly civil engineering income. That's what first gave me the courage to quit my job to be a full time writer.
What do you like most about your profession or industry?
Freedom. That's my “prime directive” in life and the reason for most every decision I make. I don't do things for the money necessarily, but for the sense of freedom it affords me. It's why I walked away from my previous life as a civil engineer. I hated the concept of working for someone else and being trapped in a cold, air-conditioned office cubicle during the day. As a writer selling my books online, I can be here on a Saipan beach, or in China, Singapore or Laos and still survive!
Photo: Minda Castro (Beach Road)
Next, I like the speed with which I can create a finished product and get it to market. An idea can come to me on a Sunday, I can complete a book by that Friday, and have it on sale worldwide on Amazon and on my websites by Saturday. I like the fact that, thanks to the internet, there's no middle man between me and my customers, and I can even sell books before they've actually been written!
Third, I've been able to reach people all over the world with my information, inspiration and ideas on topics that interest me. My passions include music, poetry, healthy vegan living, travel and sharing my positive experience of living on Saipan!
Finally, I like that I can help others realize just how easy it is to do what I do and publish their own books.
What is challenging in your profession or industry?
For me, the challenge is the marketing and selling. I get so much gratification from the creative process, that once one book is finished, I'm on to the next one when I should really spend more time marketing and selling. Fortunately, many of the books sell themselves by virtue of being searchable on Amazon and because of a few SEO (search engine optimization) tricks I incorporate into my websites, as well as through cross promotion from the fifty or so websites I own and manage.
How does your profession help the community or the economy?
One reason my experience here on Saipan has been so positive is that I receive direct feedback for my writing in ways that weren't possible when I was living in New York.
For five years, I wrote a column for the Saipan Tribune called “The Saipanpreneur Project” and wrote about various island entrepreneurs including farmers and artisans, offer business advice and inspiration and I received countless emails in support of what I was doing.
I wrote a book called The Saipan Living Relocation Guide, and I've gotten direct feedback from people who are now residents of Saipan who've told me that my book helped them make their decision to relocate. Doctors at CHC, teachers, and quite memorably, the previous postmaster at the Chalan Kanoa post office was one such individual who brought his family here and told me he was grateful that thanks to my book's positive take on life here, his children were able to experience the cultural diversity we have here in the CNMI. And just last week in Joeten Supermarket, another new resident thanked me for that book as well.
Another book, Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan, that I wrote with Chun Yu Wang, was used in at least three colleges in the US mainland in their Womens Studies and Textiles curricula, and was excerpted in a French textbook in the chapter on “The American Dream.” That book has over 160 reviews on the Amazon site!
Saipan Now: A Photo Adventure came from an idea by Bestseller Bookstore manager and United Filipino Organization president, Marlon Regaton. Tourist visitors to the bookstore, after seeing all the WWII books about Saipan, were always asking, “But what about Saipan now?” So, using my own as well as other photos by residents including Ferdinand and Riza Ramos of Paradise Saipan on Facebook, I created a tourist keepsake that's spreading contemporary images of Saipan around the world!
Once, when I was at Spicy Thai Noodle in Garapan with a tour client, I noticed a patron staring at me during his meal. After a while, he approached me and asked if I was the author of Doing Business On Saipan. I said yes, and he thanked me and told me the book helped him launch his restaurant on the Paseo de Marianas.
Through my writing and websites, other authors in the mainland find and interview me and that leads to exposure for Saipan, Tinian and Rota in books like The Not Quite States of America by Douglas Mack who writes for Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was just published by W.W. Norton. The China Travel Channel and other travel writers and producers have exposed their readers and followers to the CNMI as a result of my books.
Through my workshops, I believe I'm helping people explore their talents and manifest dreams they've had but didn't have the steps to do so.
I'm proud of the fact that early on, I received a Senate Resolution recognizing my contributions to CNMI society. See www.discoversaipan.com/resolution.pdf
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Wow! That's a tough one. I can't point to just one, so I'd say that the best advice I've received is advice I've applied to every aspect of life including career. It includes philosophies, habits and best practices that have come from personal development audio programs I've listened to, seminars I've attended, people I've met, books I've read as well as my own conclusions about reality and human nature. However, if I had to point to one source for others, I'd highly recommend reading and living by How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Second, I'll say that the career-specific advice I live by is also the title of one of my more popular books, Turn Your Passion Into Profit.
Oh, here's another: I once interviewed about a dozen million-dollar entrepreneur success stories for an article I wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine's Be Your Own Boss, and each one of them recommended The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber.
How have you grown since your first job in terms of your work ethic, knowledge
or expertise, outlook in life??
Time is the only thing of value that any one of us has. Once it's spent, there's no way to get it back. If I have a book project to complete, and I find myself lying in bed with ideas floating around me, I just remind myself “you can't get it back!” (meaning, you can't get the time back). That mantra, that awareness that if I let these moments pass without using them productively, they'll be gone forever, that gets me out of bed and back on track. You can find me up and writing at 3,4,5am most mornings! There's always some variation of “Do it now! Do it now!” floating around in my head keeping me going.
What books have you written that are in the market? What's your most recent project?
I've written over two dozen books, including: (1) Change the Game, (2)This Game of Artist Management, (3) Life Rhymes for the Passion-Centered Life, (4)Turn Your Passion Into Profit, (5) Ducks in a Row, (6)Living True to Your Self, (7) The Tao of Wow, (8) In Search of a Better Belief System, (9) How to Become a Nomadpreneur, (10) Jamaican on Saipan, (11) Jamaican in China:Guess Who's Coming to Dim Sum, (12) The Coffeepot Cookbook, (13) Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin, (14)The Saipan Living Relocation Guide, (15) Doing Business on Saipan, (16) Saipan Now, (17) From Bugle Boy to Battleship, (18)The Obama Legacy, (19) Donald Trump: Let's Look at the Bright Side, (20)A Clean Cell Never Dies, (21) Fast & Grow Young (a reissue of a public domain work), (22) The Man Who Lived Forever, (23) Fit to Breed and (24) Masculinity 2.0.
I'd also like to mention books I've collaborated on with Saipan residents: Drinking Seawater (a Soudelor memoir) with Riza Oledan-Ramos, and This Baby Can Speak, with Dr. John Joyner and Angie Hui, both graduates of my Saipan Writer's workshop series.
The two latest projects are: Amelia Earhart on Saipan, a tour booklet that I offer to my clients as a souvenir. The very latest book is There's Something About Saipan: A visitor's guide to fun facts, tantalizing trivia, startling statistics, dramatic diaries plus hair-raising history from America's most colorful island territory.
Most are (or will soon be) available at Bestseller Books here on Saipan. All are available on my website www.waltgoodridge.com or on Amazon.
What advice can you give aspiring authors who wish to pursue a career writing books?
Photo: Minda Castro (Beach Road)
First, choose a topic you're passionate about or something that comes from personal experience.
Next, think of writing as a three-stage process:
First, the brainstorming stage of what to include in your book. Brainstorming is an ongoing process that can happen any time of day or night. Therefore, keep a notebook nearby and if you're watching tv or doing laundry when an idea comes to you, stop what you're doing and make a note to yourself. This is not the writing, but in my opinion, this is where the real creation takes place.
Second, is the brain dump process. Here is where you actually transcribe what's in the mind unto paper or into a computer file. The key here is not to worry about sequence, grammar, spelling or flow at this point. The goal is simply to get everything written. The final paragraph may come to you before the introduction. Write it all down in whatever order it comes! Don't edit or arrange anything yet.
Third, is the assembly process. Working from the brainstorming list you've been creating all along and the brain dump, this is where you cut and paste and arrange your brain dump items into the order that makes the most sense.
Many new authors mistakenly think that they have to write a book in the same order that they read a book—chapter 1, then chapter 2, etc. I've found that you often have no control over what order the universe sends you the ideas. Your job as a writer is to be a channel for the ideas in whatever order they come to you, and then to assemble the optimal final product.
In this day and age, the barriers to entry as a writer are quite low. With a word processing program and an internet connection, you can create and publish a book and have it selling worldwide for $0!
Finally, I can call myself a writer and live my dream life on a tropical island in the Pacific, not because of any journalism training, not because of any literature degree or creative writing course, but simply because of my desire to be free from corporate servitude, the courage to jump out on my own, the resolve to never go back, and the discipline to keep moving forward despite the ups and downs that I still experience even today. Which brings me to a quote I heard a few years ago that I really resonate with: “Sometimes the greatest dreams that ever came true aren't dreams at all, but standards that weren't compromised.”
So, my best advice for writers? Set your goals and standards for how you want your life to be. Then, don't settle. Don't compromise. Don't give up. Pursue your writing! It may be the key to your dreams!
• SaipanWriters.com (Author workshops)
• DiscoverSaipan.com (Walt's tours)
• PassionProfit.com (Turn Your Passion Into Profit!)
• WaltGoodridge.com (All of Walt's books)
• JamaicaninChina.com (Walt's Nomadpreneur Travel Blog)
Cover image by DesignerKrim (Dreamstime)
true! If you live here, you know there's just something about Saipan, but how can you
explain it all to friends and family back home? To really understand,
they'd need to know a bit about Chamorro and Carolinian history, and
the colonial eras, and WWII, and the CW (Contract
Worker) Program, and the garment factories, and... oh, forget
it, it'll take too long! Well, now there's a solution: hand them a
copy of There's Something About Saipan! A visitor's guide to
fantastic facts, tantalizing trivia, startling statistics, dramatic
diaries and hair-raising history from America's most colorful island
Whether tourist or current resident, this book serves as a "Saipan for
or a "CliffsNotes for Saipan" primer! Each page offers a
concise, illustrated summary of over 120 unique “somethings”
about Saipan! It's an insightful, often irreverent, occasionally
politically incorrect virtual tour of life, love, legend and lore in
the Northern Mariana Islands through historical, cultural,
environmental, economic, political, military, even geological facts,
fictions, truths and tales that make Saipan, Tinian and Rota
unique...and not just among US territories! Discover and share all
the things that make for a fun, memorable tour/introduction to these
History and hearsay
Facts and fiction
Scandals and controversy
Tour site descriptions
With fun graphics and historical photos
PLUS: A suggested itinerary and checklist for tourists
AND sources and resources for further research
Get the paperback:
• Makes a great physical gift!
• Pocket sized for easy-reading and sharing on the plane!
• Position on your shelf at home or cubicle at work as a constant reminder
of your impending escape from the rat race!
• The author will answer your email questions faster if you do!
• Request an autographed copy shipped from Saipan!
DOWNLOAD A PREVIEW
ORDER ONLINE at:
• Paperback at Amazon
OPTION 2: Send check/money order to:
PO Box 503991
Saipan, MP 96950, USA
(646) 481-4238; US: allow 7-14 days for delivery
Price = Cost