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!

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”

Seven Suggestions on Improving Soccer Performance

The 2018 World Cup is in full swing. If you haven’t caught any yet, you can stream the last few games here on Telemundo.

The world’s best players are out: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar – unable to mesh with their national team, unable to pull those teams ahead on their own.

England’s national team, once a soccer powerhouse and the inventors of ‘football,’ has had abysmal international performance since 1996.

Apparently a missed shootout in 1996 has cursed the national team ever since.

Complicating the matter, that failed kicker from 1996 is now the head coach of England’s 2018 World Cup team.

Gareth Southgate isn’t letting his past failures define him. Instead he is using this as a stepping stone to teach his team about mindset and stretching past their comfort zone.

Persuasion is all about changing minds for better outcomes.

A friend recently asked how she could improve her own soccer performance. She felt that her skills were deteriorating and in need of a boost.

"IMG_1093" by Peter, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“IMG_1093” by Peter, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Here were my seven suggestions, based on self-persuasion.

Continue reading “Seven Suggestions on Improving Soccer Performance”

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”

Focus and Misdirection! Five Rules of Magic (and How They Can Improve Your Persuasion Game)

When I was growing up, my Grandpa always had a joke or a magic trick at the ready. My memories of childhood aren’t well defined, quite fuzzy really, but there are stand-outs with Grandpa Damie’s magic.

"dark jack" by Akki annant, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“dark jack” by Akki annant, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Throughout his life and beyond, I’ve heard great things about my grandpa. People remembered his generosity and personal touch. He would receive Christmas cards and accolades years after seeing old friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

How did my Grandpa Damie have such an impact on people?

An impact that was remembered long after? Continue reading “Focus and Misdirection! Five Rules of Magic (and How They Can Improve Your Persuasion Game)”

10 Things I Learned from “Win Bigly” by Scott Adams

Way back in 2012, my wife and I traveled by Amtrak train to Chicago to visit some friends. Between card games in the bar car and beautiful scenery out the window, I read a book about Negotiation.

I was interested in making more money. I wasn’t sure how to ask or even if I was in the right profession. Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “Win Bigly” by Scott Adams”