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.
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!
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.
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!