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Month: April 2016

A 4-Step Process for Creating a Lively Writing Practice

The biggest problem most aspiring writers face has nothing to do with technology, websites, social media, SEO, or anything of that stuff that sounds so complicated.

The biggest problem for most aspiring writers (and many working writers, to be honest) is simply sitting down to write. It sounds like an easy thing to do, but in practice it’s deceptively hard.

To solve this problem, I’ve created a four-step process to help my personal coaching clients develop a lively writing practice:

Step 1: Acknowledge that sitting down to write is hard, and stop making yourself wrong.

Give yourself permission to be human. Making ourselves feel bad about not writing isn’t going to help us feel good about writing in general. Tell yourself you’re sorry for making yourself wrong. It’s that simple. Just say it to yourself.

Done? Okay, moving forward.

Step 2: Treat yourself as well as you treat your clients.

Or, if that doesn’t work for you, try this one: Treat yourself as well as you treat your children.

When you schedule a slot for someone else in your life, you show up. You don’t cancel on a client unless serious stuff hits the fan and you don’t not show up for your kids. So take yourself that seriously. Schedule your writing sessions, and show up for them like you’re showing up for someone else.

Step 3: Create a proper environment.

If you can, have a dedicated “writing space.” A desk you sit at, a pillow you sit on, a certain table in a certain coffee shop, whatever it is. Go to that space when it’s writing time. Try not to go to that space when it’s not writing time. If you are consistent with this, eventually your body and mind will clue in that “when I go here I write.” It’s a little like litter box training, except hopefully you’ve created a nicer “writing space” for yourself then that.

Step 4: Create a ritual that signifies your writing session is starting and sets your mind.

Wear a certain sweatshirt. Drink a certain type of tea. Walk backward around the desk three times. Whatever it is. Have a sequence of things that puts you in the mindset of writing. I like to make and drink tea, sit on a pillow in a corner, read a short story or a couple articles about writing, then get to work. For you, maybe a few minutes of meditation focused on a writing or creative intention would be good? Maybe listening to a certain piece of music? Everybody has different rituals, so experiment in finding yours.

Writing won’t happen because you want it to. You need to take action to make writing space and time occur. Make a commitment to your writing times for the upcoming week. Sit there for thirty minutes each day staring at the wall if that’s what happens. Be okay with it, and know if you practice making space and time, the writing practice itself will soon follow.

Sign up for the next session of my class:

How to Write Meaningful Content for the Internet

 

The World Needs Meaningful Content, The World Needs You

Do you remember the first time someone read one of your stories and loved it? Do you remember how good you felt?

Now, think back. Did that person say, “Hey, kid. This story is great. Can I buy your notebook?”

Probably not.

It was probably more like, “Wow, you transported me to another world.” Or when you got a little older, it was, “You reminded me of when I lost someone, too.” And if you wrote something powerful, somebody might have said, “I don’t feel so alone. My life is different now. Thank you.”

That’s writing with impact – with meaning. It feels good to your audience, and it’s rewarding to you as the writer.

Writing meaningful content is powerful because it can:

  • Help someone achieve their dream career
  • Inspire someone to make a challenging decision
  • Encourage someone to make a healthier lifestyle choice
  • Motivate someone to declare a new goal
  • Activate someone’s curiosity in a whole new area of learning
  • Provide the tools someone needs to do that thing they’ve always wanted to do

Those are things worth doing – and worth inspiring in others.

It’s up to you to find the power to fuel your words. But here’s a big hint: power comes from passion. You’re most likely to be powerful in the same places you’re most passionate. Ask yourself, what drives you? What do you have to share?

Remember how much you loved writing those stories as a kid? How endlessly you imagined about the unicorns, or robot builders, or race car drivers? Find that kind of passion. That excitement that made you fill notebooks full of words, one after the next. Ignite that kind of passion in other people by touching them with your flame.

Meaningful Content Sells Better Than Meaningless

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “That’s great, and I do want to change the world, but I still need to sell my widget to keep a roof over my head.” Here’s the beauty of writing meaningful content: it doesn’t mean you can’t sell. It does mean you’re not just selling.

You’re writing to share information, to create connection, and to put something worthwhile into the world. You’re writing to provide people with tools. You’re writing to reveal opportunities and solve problems. You’re writing to make a difference and you are making a difference.

In the process you’re also creating authority, establishing expertise – and selling your widgets because you’re seen as someone who creates valuable, worthwhile things. One of these “things” is the act of doing good. You’re doing something good for somebody else somewhere in the world. Maybe multiple somebodies, in many places. That might not show up in the accounting books, but it should show up on some internal scorecard you’re keeping. Because making a difference counts for something. In fact, it counts for everything.

And the world needs more people checking that box on their scorecards.

Sign up for the next session of my class:

How to Write Meaningful Content for the Internet

 

Copyright 2015 Hunt Gather Brew