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The Easy Way to Write

The Easy Way to Write

By on Apr 1, 2015 in Blog Writing, Writing | 2 comments

I’ve sat here for a solid five minutes or so starting this paragraph and then deleting and starting something else. After all these years and all the mounds of copy I’ve written, it should be easy, right? Sometimes it looks like it must have been easy – the words are so perfect, so engaging, so easy to read that it seems they must have flowed right off my fingers. It’s more likely that it’s the product of agonizing hours spent putting the words on the page and then editing and finessing until they sounded just so. Agonizing? Must writing be agonizing? No, not all the time. It can be when you can’t come up with the right words or when you can’t quite figure out how to say what you want to say. But often, it’s fun and invigorating – especially when you hit the flow and you know exactly what you want to say and how. But even then, it’s not exactly easy. It takes time, energy and creative effort. There are no magic formulas, no simple solutions, no special tricks. There is just this – you have to get started. It won’t get any easier and if fact it may get harder if you feel the pressure of a deadline. And, you have to keep going. You may step away for a break or put your work in a drawer for a while, but you have to get back at it and the sooner the better. There are some things you can do to make it easier like just writing everything that’s on your mind and then sorting it out or setting yourself up with an outline. Write yourself a headline before you get started to give yourself a direction. Rely on questions. Why are you writing this? Who is going to read it? What will they want to know? What will they find interesting? And give yourself a break. Acknowledge and embrace the fact that writing is work. It’s good work. It’s important work. Hopefully, it’s fun work, but it isn’t easy. It just has to get done and you can do it well, but you have to put fingers to key board (or pen to...

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Who’s Afraid of a Blank Page?

Who’s Afraid of a Blank Page?

By on Mar 26, 2015 in Blog Writing, Writing | 1 comment

I’ve been teaching myself to draw. I’ve actually been working on it for many years now and I finally feel like I’m making a little bit of progress. But even though I’ve drawn some things I really like, I still get sweaty palms when I sit down in front of a blank page. I’m not sure of how the drawing will turn out. I fear it will be awful. I feel stymied by not knowing exactly how to draw what I want. I don’t want to make a mistake. I go through all these emotions even though I don’t really expect anyone to ever see the picture. The reality is that it often isn’t very good. The face looks lopsided. I run out of room for the feet. I can’t get the eyes just right. At the same time, it’s fine. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I can’t know how it will turn out until I get going and it’s often better than what I expected. This is what writing is like. A blank page is intimidating. It brings up a lot of fears and concerns and feelings of inadequacy. And unlike my drawings, which can remain hidden, much of our writing is intended for public consumption. But once you get past the blank page, once you get going, you will often find that it’s easier and better than you anticipated. You really just need to get started. The best advice I got on the art side is to start by just scribbling. Scribble up an entire page. It loosens you up and helps you relax. There’s no pressure for it to be great. What’s the writing equivalent? Push aside any anxiety and launch into a brain dump. Just start writing or typing the ideas you have. Don’t be directed and don’t try to put them into a pattern just yet. Just get them out. Don’t stress if they’re not fully formed. Putting them down on paper – or on computer screen – will help you form them. Then, you no longer have a blank page. Plus, it’s easy to change what you’ve written. At least if you’ve got words on the page, you’ve got something to work...

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Where Does Writing Fit on Your Priority List?

Where Does Writing Fit on Your Priority List?

By on Mar 19, 2015 in Blog Writing, Writing | 0 comments

One of the biggest, most troubling questions entrepreneurs and pretty much everyone else faces every day is: What should I be doing right now? Which should be followed closely by: What am I doing right now? Some of us are great at making lists, setting up our schedule and tackling tasks in order of importance. Others of us meander around and sometimes manage to get just enough done. I’m somewhat of a hybrid. Regardless of style, it is likely that there are some things that don’t get done just because there are so many things that need to get done. One of those things is often our blog or some other important writing project. If this is bothersome, the first question to ask is: why? Are you not writing because you don’t have time? Or are you stalling because you don’t know what to write about or because you’re afraid it won’t be any good? Be honest with yourself about the answer. And then tackle the follow up question: How much does it matter? Why do you want a blog? Or why do you need to write this article? How much of a difference will it make to your business or your life? If it’s important, then schedule time on your calendar to make it happen. Don’t just fit it in when you have time because that most likely won’t happen. If it’s a matter of not knowing what to write about or your own fear, then set up time on the calendar to tackle that. Spend an hour making a list of possible topics. Write something and find a friend to verify whether it’s any good or suggest ways to make it better. If it’s really less important than all the other things on your to do list, then consciously put it off or let it go so you can focus on what matters. If you decide it is important and you are going to write, you might find this article on Social Media Examiner on how to craft a headline...

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Another Way to Write: Start at the End

By on Dec 30, 2014 in Writing | 0 comments

This is the third in a series of three posts. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss the first two – they haven’t been written yet. I wanted to talk about something that is too often neglected but could arguably be the most important part of writing, and that is “The End.” We talk a lot about the beginning, and with good reason – it you don’t start off well, you won’t engage your reader and rest of what you’ve written will be a tree falling in a forest with no one to hear it. Without a good ending, you will have wasted your reader’s time. Sometimes, the end is obvious. Sometimes you are motivated to write because you have an ending in mind. Do you need to know where you’re going when you start writing? No. Sometimes you need to get started and wander around until you figure it out. If you do that, however, you still need to go someplace before you’re done. As you write, you will discover what you want to write and that will help you find a good ending. You can also start with just a vague notion of where you’re headed. As a challenge, or if you’re stuck, try writing the last line first. It’s like starting a maze at the ending. You are less likely to make wrong turns. It can also give you a fresh perspective if you’ve been stuck on how to get going. Regardless of whether you start with the ending or search around for it, pay attention to it. A compelling ending will make a good story great. It can even redeem a lackluster story. But a great story without a proper ending is like a pretty wrapped box with no present inside. What makes for a good ending? To an extent you will know it when you read it. A lot of it depends on your point in writing in the first place. Some options: A summary – a neat bundle of highlights to send off the reader. This is often preceded with lines like “in summary,” or “in conclusion,” or, “in short….” Although certainly you can will be more creative than that. “It is clear that with...

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Mistakes Happen – Even to Best Selling Authors

By on Oct 27, 2014 in Writing | 0 comments

Rick Riordan has become the author that many writers aspire to be. He not only writes books, he does it for a living. Two of them have been turned into movies. And children will drag their parents into Boston on a Saturday morning and stand in line to get into a crowded church just for a chance to see him speak. Riordan told his audience at the Boston Book Festival about how he got started as a writer, including his first rejection at age 14. His mother framed it, and it was the only thing to survive the fire that burned down his family’s home. He talked about the drama of getting just the right cover art for a book and the joy and challenges of watching it translated into other languages. Along the way, he also let slip two of the great secrets that every writer should know: There is no such thing as a perfect first draft and even getting a perfect final draft is a Herculean effort. Riordan started writing as an adult while he was teaching junior high. His first foray into writing books was a mystery novel. He admitted how many times he rewrote it until it was finally accepted – fourteen. Even now, dozens of published books later, he says he still rewrites many times to shape his words into the stories that entertain millions. Just as significantly is what happens after he’s “done.” Every book is edited and then edited and then edited again. And even then, problems lurk in the tangles of the paragraphs. He told about a time one of his three sons wanted to read a finished manuscript before it went to print. His son asked if Riordan would pay him for any mistakes he found. By this time, Riordan said, he had read it several times, as had his editor. Full of confidence in the work, he offered $10 per error. His son earned $400. So seek perfection, but take comfort that we all struggle to attain...

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