Prompt to Publication | Matt Bates

Today we are celebrating Matt Bates. Since Deadlines for Writers started in 2017, many of our writers have gone on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.

I hope these interviews will help and teach you how to use Deadlines for Writers to build your author platform.


Scroll to the end to watch Matt’s interview. 


Author feature: I’d like to introduce Matt Bates


Have you completed any of the challenges on Deadlines for Writers?

Matt Bates: I have competed every writing challenge since sometime in early 2020. I was looking for someone to hold me accountable so DFW was a perfect fit.

What have you published?

Matt Bates: A short story to a leadership book about leading with laughter. I tend not to take myself, and most of my life, too seriously. I find success at leading people in my 9 to 5 with humor. It brings a sense of humanity and that we’re all in this together or that I am a real human.


Has Deadlines for Writers helped you as a writer?

Matt Bates: YES. I feel DFW helps with discipline to sit down at your desk everyday to read and put some words down. It gave me the foundation of the work I have just had published. The discipline helped. By having a deadline every month and wanting to hit it, I knew I’d have to commit myself to the work. 

I think you can absolutely see a growth in my writing over the last 4ish years. It is actually cringe-worthy to go back and read what I was posting just a few years ago (I like to think – and hope – I have improved since then! Everyone’s help in this community is incredible and helpful).


What did you learn that you applied to your work?

Matt Bates: I think what I learned is that I am pretty okay at character and dialogue. The community here has provided me with additional feedback about tense, punctuation, continuity etc.

What is your favourite story you wrote for 12SS?

This might be a cop out but one that I just posted was about my childhood and I really got to sit and think and fully immerse myself in the work. My childhood wasn’t perfect so it allowed me to maybe even process a lot of what happened then. Fiction: and I really like this nonfiction story:




Matt Bates is a published author, accomplished musician, and dynamic leader based in Philadelphia. With a passion for creativity and collaboration, Matt seamlessly blends his literary talents with his musical expertise, creating a unique and humorous body of work. As an advocate for the arts, he continually seeks to foster community and innovation through his various projects. Whether writing, composing, or leading, Matt’s dedication to his craft and city shine through all he does.  When Matt is not working on his passions he can be found with his wife Jamie grabbing drinks throughout Philadelphia. Matt encourages you to reach out at Matt@YourFriendMatt for any and all speaking, podcast, and coaching inquiries.

Read Matt‘s work

I was responsible for a team of salespeople and we had a new product launch. With all the fake enthusiasm I could muster, I did my best to get them excited. It is difficult to get a group of salespeople excited about anything, especially virtually. And that’s when Joe, my father-in-law, a stocky, jovial retired truck driver, ambled into view without his shirt. He likes to ham it up when he sees I am working.

“Okay, do we have everyone on?” Tracking my team’s attendance. “We have a lot to discuss today,” I informed them. The screen looked like the opening credits to The Brady Bunch.

“Matt, who is that in the background?” One of my peers yelled out.

“Oh hey, it’s me. Matt’s father-in-law, Joe, again. Just grabbed a snack. Don’t mind me. How are you guys doing?” My father-in-law walked into focus from the background uninvited, eating a sandwich. Crumbs fell on my keyboard. I had pictures in my mind of where I’d be at this point in my life. Moving into a new beautiful home and my beautiful wife with a pregnant belly. Instead, I was staring at my father-in-law’s gut, trying to do my best from the kitchen. I thought to myself, ‘I wonder when was the last time he showered?’

“Matt, can they see me?” Joe leaned over my shoulder, face-first, into the camera. His hairy, greasy gut swept along my face. My inner voice called out, “Why, god? Why?”

“Oh yeah. We can see you, Joe!” another peer called out, “Do you ever wear a shirt?”

“Ha! That’s good! Wise guys!” Joe backed away, slapping me on the shoulder as he strolled out of view.

“No shirt! No shoes! No problem!” Another voice crackled from my computer speakers.

“Damn, right!” Joe called back.

“That’s enough, guys. We have a ton to get done today. Joe, I am trying to work.” Attempting to get the team back on track.

“Oh, come on! It’s been a few days since Joe jumped on with us. Let him join the call!” A voice shouted.

“You see! I told you they love me. Maybe I should be their boss!” Joe took another bite of his sandwich. More crumbs falling everywhere. He picked a few off his graying chest hair and popped them back into his mouth.

This was not the first time my father-in-law had interrupted. The team knew how to get under my skin by egging him on. They all knew I was working hard for a promotion and eager to take the next steps in my life.

“I am putting my headphones on for the rest of the call.” I snapped back.

“Oh, you’re no fun!” Joe called out again. His cackling echoed through the house.

“Yeah, Matt! Listen to your father-in-law! You’re no fun!” another one of my peers replied. “Let him join. He always tells us the best stories!”

I knew there would be no end until I let Joe join for a few minutes. “God, damn it.” I let out a deep sigh of defeat. “Joe! Get in here and join the call!”

Buy the book.


In this hysterical, astute book, HR industry expert Jim Dunn explores how humor can improve our professional environments and personal development by exploring questions like:

  • How is humor a superpower for fostering collaborative environments?
  • Are funny employees more effective?
  • How can laughter turn crisis into connection and opportunity?
  • How can instituting a culture of levity shape team dynamics and improve job satisfaction?

With more than 30 years of strategic HR and leadership experience, impacting organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic, American Cancer Society, and The Carter Presidential Center, Dunn is determined to show us all the value of leading with laughter. Through his personal memoirs, hilarious contributed stories, and current research, 101 Lessons in Leading With Laughter reveals how strategic humor supports better leadership, stronger teams, and a more enjoyable workplace, while equipping readers with the tools to use humor wisely and effectively.



Read Matt’s blog: 




Well done, Matt!

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