Success Favors Speed: 5 Writing Tips To Create Crazy Amounts of Content

This past weekend, my friend Stephen and I met for some lunch and beers, not in that order.

Maybe you remember Stephen as my first Podcast Guest, check it out here.

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Stephen works with his clients to build training materials and feedback systems, helping them become more effective in business. (You can find Stephen on LinkedIn if you’re interested to learn how he can help you.)

We’re both building our futures. It’s great to have someone to talk business with, to bounce ideas and advice. Though to be honest, Stephen has a much better business focus than I do—

he has paying clients!

Anyway.

Stephen asked how I was able to “find my voice” when writing… and how I can email on the (almost) daily.

He’s not the first to ask.

It wasn’t always this way.

We all have some difficulty pounding out the ideas in our heads and getting them on paper.

Some people might like to write, and others… not so much.

Here are a few ideas Stephen and I discussed to help crank out material:

1, Don’t Dismiss Your Inspiration
If you’re thinking about your mission all the time, you’re going to find examples popping up in life. Confirmation Bias guarantees we’ll see things that match our current thought processes, things that are at the front of our mind. Things other people might overlook. When you find those real-life examples, don’t let them go! Spend a moment to write yourself a note or two. Capture that idea immediately. Phone, notebook, whatever. You can expand upon it later in writing. (In fact I came up with 3 things to write about just while writing today’s post!)

2, Record a Video
If you don’t like the effort of writing, maybe you’re more comfortable talking? Expand upon your earlier ideas with a video. Get everything out, just dump your brain into the video. You’re not going to share this video. Instead, watch it and take notes on your brain dump, or even transcribe the video directly. (And if you really hate writing, Rev.com will transcribe your video for you, for only $1 per minute).

3, Organize Your Data
Sometimes our brains are filled with many loosely-connected ideas. We’re unsure how to structure these to tell a complete story. One great method I’ve really like is to use notecards to organize ideas. (Yes you can copy and paste on a computer…) For me, however, the analog task of writing ideas (from our video, for example) and shuffling the cards can really help flesh out connections that I may have overlooked.

4, Focus
Eugene Schwartz was a well known copywriter of advertisements. His advice, based on Zen principles, was to have a deliberate practice. Start your writing with the same beverage, same location, same environment. Set yourself a timer; Schwartz suggested 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Then, for the duration of that timer, you can either write, or do nothing. Nothing exists outside of you and that page. And once the timer beeps… that’s it, break time, immediately. Get some more coffee.

5, Write Write Write
We get better through practice. Don’t worry too much about being perfect, spend time doing… Schedule your time, sit down, and get something on the page! It can be your own words, or you can practice by writing out successful examples of what you’re trying to create. Reward yourself for the minor victory. And find your next 33 minutes.

Do I do these all the time??

Heck no. But they keep me moving when I need it!

13 Words to Identify Mind Readers

Dear reader, we’ve discussed mind-reading, remember? We know it’s probably not real… right?

Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. That’s beside the point. Honestly I don’t know the scope of reality beyond what my brain understands, and I’m sure there’s a lot I don’t understand.

A wise man is never certain about anything!

So I don’t know if some specially attuned people can read minds or not… but I’m pretty sure that your run-of-the-mill news reporter cannot.

Image "Newspapers B&W (3)" by Jon S, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Image “Newspapers B&W (3)” by Jon S, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Continue reading “13 Words to Identify Mind Readers”

4 Ways to Combat Reactance

Last week we discussed Reactance.

Reactance is people’s natural resistance to your suggestions. People prefer the known, they don’t want to change the status quo. If you suggest a change…

“What makes you so smart!?”

As people of influence, how do we combat people’s natural resistance to being told what to do?

This past weekend I attended a kid’s birthday party with my 5 year old daughter.

The party is at a gymnastics gym in the suburbs. Short and sweet and cake and we’re outta there. The staff takes care of everything, pretty good setup with minimal fuss for the parents.

"Friends :-)" by @BK, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Friends :-)” by @BK, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Continue reading “4 Ways to Combat Reactance”

Why People Say NO to Your Good Ideas

People are a suspicious lot, aren’t they?

If you offer to carry someone’s groceries through a parking lot, they’d refuse.

Offer to exchange money with someone, your $20 for their $10 in a clear win for the other person… they’d refuse.

Photo "CL Society 218: Crossing arms" by Francisco Osorio, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Photo “CL Society 218: Crossing arms” by
Francisco Osorio, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Both situations are unusual, out-of-the-ordinary.

Humans like what’s known, what’s comfortable. Anything different from the status quo is…

suspicious! Continue reading “Why People Say NO to Your Good Ideas”

10 Things I Learned from “The Design of Everyday Things” by Donald A. Norman

During my last trip to New York City, we visited the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, also known as the Oculus.

"Oculus" by Jeffrey G Thomas, 2017 CC-By-4.0
“Oculus” by Jeffrey G Thomas, 2017 CC-By-4.0

The stunning architecture of this sweeping building cannot fail to impress. The inside feels huge and open like a European cathedral. The outside looks like a pair of wings, flapping in multiple photographic exposures across the Manhattan skyline.

One thing that will forever stand out about the Oculus, however, was the doors.

Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “The Design of Everyday Things” by Donald A. Norman”

Sabotage, Judgment, and Subjective Truth

“Ain’t no way that I can be happy when I’m happy” —Atmosphere, Give Me

How many times have you seen someone self-sabotage their own life?

I known people who have dropped out of school, directionless. I known people who have arrived to work drunk. I known people who have ruined a relationship over a few hours of fun. I’ve known people that sacrifice sleep and performance for video games.

All of these choices in the present have impacts that can last decades into the future.

Do you know why these people do what they do?

We can’t know people’s private thoughts. We can’t read their minds now, and we can’t deduce their feelings and opinions from the past.

"Head shot" by erat, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Head shot” by erat, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Motivations are generally unknown Continue reading “Sabotage, Judgment, and Subjective Truth”

Behaviors drive Attitudes

It’s been said that a Weatherman is the only job where you can often be wrong and still keep your job. How often is your local forecast far from what transpires? (or perspires)

"Out of the mist" by Jeremy Segrott, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Out of the mist” by Jeremy Segrott, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Two people meet in the road.

“What a beautiful day!” exclaims the first, looking up.

“Oh, but I think it might rain,” laments the second, looking down at his phone.

And they go on their ways.

This short exchange highlights two vastly different mindsets of the characters. Continue reading “Behaviors drive Attitudes”

Mind Reading isn’t Real. Here’s How to Do It.

Mind reading, the art of knowing exactly what the other person is thinking.

It’s a dangerous sport, and one that we’re not very good at. It’s the source of many disagreements and misunderstandings. No matter, we all continue to try.

Image "distant distance" by Rennett Stowe, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
We believe we know what other people are thinking. Image “distant distance” by Rennett Stowe, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

I’ve certainly tried to finish someone’s sentences and been completely wrong. Haven’t you cut in because you knew exactly what the other person was going to say? How did that work out for you? Not always very well, I would bet.

“I opened the door to see…”

“…She was in the house!?” Continue reading “Mind Reading isn’t Real. Here’s How to Do It.”