Tag Archives: writing

What Do You Have to Say?

The key to remember, is writing gets easier.

I’ve written right around 100 blog posts so far for this site (I have two others that I play with but this is the ‘flagship’). I am by no means a writing expert but by nature of my work and my interest marketing, technology and social media, I end up reading about writing and specifically how to write a successful blog quite a bit.

This post was originally inspired by a series that Chris Brogan published on how to write a book (links below) With that said…

Writing gets easier the more you write.
You have to find a groove and find your voice and the only way to do that is to write and write some more and eventually it becomes easier.

Specifically for a blog, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Whether its for fun or for work, it takes time. You shouldn’t expect hundreds of visitors after your first post, maybe even after your first year, or even five years. In fact, you’ll probably be incredibly disappointed after you’re first ‘masterpiece’ of a post is published….because no one showed up. Where is everyone?

Chris Brogan is actually a great example of what NOT to expect. He posts every day. He has hundreds of followers and he makes lots of money. This doesn’t happen right away. It may not happen at all but what you can take from Chris and others like him are simple rules to write by. I highly recommend reading the series of posts he wrote on the discipline of writing and what works for him. And if you want a good book on writing in general, I loved Chuck Wendig’s 500 Ways To Be A Better Writer

Here are two posts from Chris Brogan on writing a book.
Finding Time

Put Forth The Effort
In his posts one of the key points he tries to hit home with is, It’s all about putting forth the effort. The biggest obstacle I face, like most people, is sitting down to actually write. Topics come from all sorts of places so if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find them. Once you have a topic in mind, sitting down and putting your thoughts on paper (or keyboard) is the hardest part.

Another point that Chris talks about is making a habit of writing. That means setting a schedule and sticking to it. For me, its posting on Thursdays. I make myself post each week, which doesn’t sound that hard, but things get in the way. Writers block sets in. You can’t find your voice. You’re going on vacation…all of a sudden it’s late Wednesday night (or worse, Thursday morning) and you’ve got nothing. All of those may be good excuses but if you let yourself skip one week/one day/ one month whatever you’re schedule is, you’re more likely to skip next time you run into something that just came up.

Something else to remember about keeping your schedule is how you make yourself available to write. Truth be told, a lot of my ideas hit me around 8:00 in the morning when I sit down at my desk, open my email and check some headlines. Maybe that’s when my brain is most open to ideas and not so cluttered with what needs to get done that morning, but it’s a time when my ideas seem to hit me. Being that I’m at work, I don’t open WordPress to start writing a new post. Instead I’ll send myself a quick email or use Google documents to jot down some quick notes on what I was thinking so that I don’t forget.

Regardless of how you save your ideas and keep notes (Evernote is another good one), doing it makes writing so much easier. If you have something to help guide you and get started, sitting down and finishing becomes a much less daunting task. I very rarely actually write my posts in WordPress. They are all usually copied and pasted from my doc and then edited in WordPress.

This isn’t anything new or ground breaking. It’s repeated by numerous writers and bloggers over and over again…and again here, but it’s a good reminder.

Set Realistic Goals
Something else that goes along with this is to set realistic goals. One of the more noteworthy people who have preached this is Seth Godin. He’s written numerous posts about keeping a schedule and not breaking the routine. He also talks about not setting yourself up for failure. So don’t start writing and think that you’ll put something out there every day (unless you really have the time, effort and ability to write daily), make it realistic and work your way up to the goal. Start writing once a week or once a month, whatever makes the most sense. Then if it becomes easier, increase the frequency. Never decrease or you’ll end up looking back to a several month gap since your last post and by then it’ll feel too late to start up again.

The last thing I’ll mention that has helped me tremendously for keeping this thing going and hopefully continuing to stay on schedule is simply to keep writing. The more you write, the easier it becomes. No matter what you’re writing, for fun or for work, the more time you spend finding your voice, the easier it becomes to use it.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out some additional books and articles that I’ve found extremely helpful and motivating below. If you have any of your own, please leave them in the comments section below.

The Heckler

Acknowledging the lizard brain

Do the work – Steven Pressfield

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Poke the Box

500 Ways To Be A Better Writer


What Is Your Resistance?

My resistance seems to be the comfort of the tv. Not even watching tv but the white noise of its soft glow. That sentence was painful to write, but its true. I don’t even like TV or whats on, but for some reason it has the ability to make you relax and after a day at the office, its nice to relax.

What I’d rather be doing? Reading more, writing more, working out more. My resistance is the comfort of sitting on the couch, zoning out.

One of my New Years Resolutions has been to eat dinner at the dinner table WITH the TV off. My wife and I both come home from work and the white noise that is the TV seems like a natural next step. You get home and turn on the TV. Most of the time there is nothing on that we watch. At most there is one show that we want to watch each day, but really there is probably only 3-4 things each week that we WANT to watch but the resistance gets in the way.

My resistance keeps me from reading more than I do (which may be a lot for some people, but for me, I can do better) it keeps me from writing more than I’d like to. Keeping this thing updated each week is hard work. The resistance also keeps me indoors and on the couch in the winter. Its dark when I get home, the energy is low and the glow from the tube is soft, bright and comforting.

Why is the TV my resistance? because even if I’m not watching whats on, it gets me distracted. If I’m trying to read, I spend 15 minutes on one page and I reread the same paragraph over and over.

If the tv is on, I lose all motivation to write. It is literally a mind suck. my writing comes out in spurts. And incomplete sentences. And the voice from which I wish to write is lost and I take on something of which is not mine and alas I feel lost….see what I mean!?

So in 2012, I know what shows I want to Watch. I know when they’re on. I’m going to fight the resistance and keep the tube off.

For a little added emphasis, I wanted to throw in this little gem from Chuck Wendig from his post, 25 Things Writers Should Start Doing

Said it before, will say it again: we all get 24 hours in our day. Nobody has extra time. You must claim time for yourself and your writing. Time is a beast stampeding ever forward and we’re all on its back. Don’t get taken for a ride. Grab the reins. Whip that nag to go where you want her to go. Take control. Hell, pull out a big ol’ electric knife and carve off a quivering lardon of fatty Time Bacon all for yourself.

500 Way To Be A Better Writer | A Book Review

I ran across this book online, someone I didn’t know recommended it. I checked it out and noticed it was only $.99 and said, ‘why not’. Even if its horrible, I’m only out a buck. I started reading on my phone and after three pages I was hooked.

I’ve been interested in writing for a long time. I’m one of those weird people that think books are sexy and writing is cool. When I was in high school I read Stephen Kings book, On Writing which is a similar kind of book intended to offer advice on writing. It was good but at times a little dry and boring, probably not intended for the same audience as Chuck’s version.

Chuck’s is better…

I should start over and tell you why I really spent the buck. I read a review on Amazon. It was actually a bad review. Chuck actually posted a link to one of the negative reviews and light heartily said ‘well, if you didn’t like the first one, you’re not going to like this one.’ I wanted to see what the person who gave his first book it a 1 star had to say. Turns out, what she said made me want to read it. Funny how that works out.

The reason that bad review made me want to read this is that most books on writing, read like textbooks. They’re dry and slow and kinda make you want to not write. That 1 star review sounded like it came from someone from the ‘old school’. I wanted something different. Chuck has fun with his advice and it makes you feel like writing could be fun.

‘This stuff isn’t hard. It ain’t fuckin math. At it’s core, social media is really, “talk to people, and try not to be a dick” sound advice!’

Read more from Chuck at terribleminds.com or checkout his page on Amazon.