Thank you Seth Godin!
Weekly does my Writer’s Support Group for the Reticent Blogger meet at 1pm on Tuesdays. This gathering has been going on since March of 2010 and weekly many of the same people come to convene and converse about what is in the way of writing right now!
Or perhaps what success there is to report. I appreciate the mix myself.
What began as six charter attendees, is typically always far more than a baker’s dozen and it’s time that is graciously referred to as “Tuesday Group Therapy,” creativity group therapy and a standing appointment with self for at least a dozen regulars, I lovingly call the “Usual Suspects.”
Diane, Susan, Judy, Judy, Bob, Don, Darylene, John, Sue, Karen, Warren, Will, Paul, Steve, Karin, Mark, Mike, Scott and many others return week after week as they are able to both get what they need and give others the support they require.
And then comes the new attendee, the one who is there for the first time, without a blog for their business or self, or perhaps with a blog they have left unattended for too long. They seem aware of their resistance to the idea of self-publishing anything that is not technically accurate and related to the business. They have concerns and questions about this thing called “blogging.” They wonder…
What is a blog and why have one?
Why bother? What is in it for me and my business goals?
How will readers find me?
So what when they do? (What can I do to inspire comments and dialogue?)
Why would anyone read what I have written (says the person especially who doesn’t see themselves as a good writer)?
This marks the moment I smile and sometimes at Susan or Diane or Sue and say, sounds like time for an “Intervention.” They smile back knowing what comes next. There are many examples of people who have been “assisted” by being the spotlighted one for a while. We love it when they take the idea offered and run with it! ( Go on and check out the hyperlinks, you know you want too!)
Imagine arriving for an open writers support circle, unsure of what to expect and leaving with new found understanding of what having a blog as an extension of your business messaging could mean for you? Or knowing what you will name your blog or focus on and orbit the writing around? Or gaining a sense that your story and your voice and your personality are interesting to at least your initial 20+ readers?
Awareness that we would be a welcome voice in the blogosphere sparks interest in some. Some remain tentative and come back for months before ever launching a WordPress site or a Blog through their website. Still others take action right away, inspired by the generous suggestions and directions graciously given by those in the circle who were once in the same shoes.
The Truth as I See It goes like this: blogging as a Guerrilla Marketing strategy is here to stay, makes sense, can be done efficiently, can be fresh, can be evolving and adapting and did I say Makes Good Sense.
First, we must get over our fears–if only long enough to get started. Participant and writing client, Mike Margolies of The Athlete Within and the Mental Game, recently published a series of compelling pieces on that “Fear We Must Overcome” (as often as we need to). Resistance to new things evaporates for me when I understand why I am afraid and what might be beneficial if I got over my fears. It’s liberating to release fears. And it’s helpful to have a Base Camp to return to for support as needed. Who climbs Mt. Rainier solo?
Second, we will need to create some plan if only a light one for ourselves, to track against. I say let it be based on being Congruent with who one is, Consistent with one’s natural rhythms that get pushed from time to time, and grounded in what is rich Content of interest FIRST to us, and thereafter to our future Ideal Clients/Readers.
Third, may it be a process we choose to trust, engage in fully and in time realize, WE ARE HAVING FUN writing and sharing and sparking dialogue–if only within ourselves and hopefully with others. In time we will gain knowledge about ourselves, our business, our clients, our future clients, and all because we engage in communicating Authentically and with Enthusiasm for the sake of inspiring others and contributing to their Awareness and their own quality of life.
To blog or not to blog, may often be the question and I hope for my students and clients that embracing “blogging” and writing to authentically self-express our interests, creativity and areas of focus and expertise is ultimately what is the chosen path. I read a lot of blogs and comment on many. I get GREAT ideas from what others write and share. I connect people to each other who I feel need to know of each other.
To begin is what it takes. To begin with an end in mind is even better. When you need help getting going, I hope you ask for it. And if you want community, I have a great place for you to find it.
Tuesdays, 1pm. Does it have your name on it?
“Kids and puppies go viral.” So says one dear writer friend of mine who keeps her finger on the pulse of what goes mercurial within Social Networks.
Is this true?
What other emotional elements trigger your compassion and enthusiasm to pay it forward?
And is it “fair” and authentic to travel on the coat tails of puppies, kittens and cute kids?
Of course, as a writer of the authentic, I strive to share my head and heart and HOPE that people resonate with my offering. As for adding bonus features and accessories such as timely news, and heart touching stories, I am all for it, if it really ties to my thought, my post, my message BUT I draw the line at adding extras that don’t belong.
Have you ever noticed how the original intention of writing shines through? At least it does for me. Perhaps I am at better at reading between the lines, because I read with the intent to do just that. I do this like second nature after all the years. And I tune into what messages clearly come through for me.
Please don’t sell out. Be Real. First with yourself. Then with others. It will work.
What’s the bottom line for me and what I strive to co-create with you?
Authentic Writing Provokes.
As a Writing Coach and Catalyst, I use each interaction I have with you to leave you feeling supported, to instill confidence and ultimately help you accomplish your writing goals. With gentle candor and honesty and compassion, in tandem with my self-confidence and writing experience I will earn your trust and establish rapport, so that critique and suggestions are given in a positive and insightful way that will be “heartfelt”, “heard/read” and understood.
I believe, what is “understood” can be integrated more rapidly than what is “resisted” or confusing. I first and always check in to find out how YOU (all of YOU) is feeling and what pressures or deadlines you may be operating under. Acknowledgement of what is going on is key; it naturally reduces tension and creates an environment where work can be done productively and confidence can be cultivated.
I believe effective communication to be a learned skill that can be cultivated at every age.
And some people seem naturally better at certain skills, but REMEMBER, initially we all were taught spelling, basic grammar and the guidelines for effective communication (and hopefully by a kind teacher or two).
It is the years of enthusiastic practice and commitment that have made me a better writer and a more intuitive writing coach.
It is my intention to convey in a gentle and direct way to you, I see you as capable, resourceful and creative. My hope would be that this as the foundation for our dialogue alleviates some of the stress or frustration of “writer’s block” or a deadline you are up against. And if you do not consider yourself a strong writer, I would suggest with heartfelt sincerity that a strong writer resides within you and to welcome that in or welcome it back in.
And if, for example, you asserted that spelling was not your strength, I would ask what resources did you rely upon when writing and editing: A dictionary, thesaurus, an easy guide to grammar? Love Spellcheck and Celebrate its existence in Word! Bookmark your favorite online resources! And let’s agree to one last proofread or one by a trusted editor in a friend or spouse? I will always offer resources and share best practices of my own also.
The idea of a constructive critique in my mind begins with asking what does one think they have already done well and what is good? And then we add to that list what I as the writing coach see is strong and effective. And next ask what needs improving and what concerns you? With awareness, you can only become a better writer.
I believe focusing on the positives present will allow for learning to occur more easily in areas that need refinement. A confident writer, who trusts they have the basics in place, and has an editing practice to catch the last typos and grammar issues may take more risks and stretch themselves creatively—and have more fun writing in the process. There will be more natural energy to do so.
The coaching model as a means to improve writing skills will inspire more natural enthusiasm for assignments and everyday writing, I believe.
Here is the theory that I agree with entirely:
What is my idea and my choice, on my timeline, is a set of actions I will be far more committed to and follow through on consistently and with more passion and enthusiasm. I will push myself and hold myself accountable. THIS HOLDS TRUE FOR YOU AS WELL.
I am here for you to instill confidence and inspire commitment to best practices for improving writing for business or pleasure.
As the avid writer that I am, I truly look forward to supporting you and the writing you wish to do. Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you as you create great writing designed by you.
I can only dream that today and tomorrow and tonight’s dreams will reveal something remarkable that is timeless. I AM the dreamer and the dream and the world I dream up.
What I may share transparently can take on a life of it’s own.
I am the next bloom on the cherry tree about to burst wide open, the next new leaf about to unfold its green self, and the song about to erupt from the robin red breasted and boldly singing to source of its Gratitude.
May your writing this coming week erupt from that place in you that believes wholeheartedly in what you are doing and being in the world.
There are people in need of you and your offerings. They simply need know what your offer is.
My offer is to assist you get comfortable with being perhaps more forthcoming and transparent about who you are, what you are up to, what you are a resource for and authentically expressing yourself so that the people who want and need you, have an easier time finding you.
All “writing rules” aside, what would you add to your writing body of work?