Everybody writes. Yes, you too.

Chances are, unless you avoid it altogether–which would take a lot of effort–YOU are a writer. Be it email or notecards or the occasional report or marketing copy–writing is done when writing is needed.

If you post on Facebook or LinkedIn, or even if you Tweet more than links, you are a writer.

As a species (except for those of us who were born mute and/or deaf) you are a wordsmith, willingly or out of necessity.

Some seem born with a storytelling gene (lol).
Some develop the skill to make their mark in the world.
Some hire others to be their instrument for capturing the story they can tell but will not write themselves.

I’ve had the pleasure, honor, and adventure of working with all three major types of writing clients:

  • the willing and eager,
  • the willing and resistant,
  • and the unwilling but wise enough to delegate and collaborate.

Why do I write? Since I was nine years young, I have been writing “something.”

I understand that I write to self-express, self-soothe, self-evaluate, stay self-aware, and to integrate what I experience daily. I write to learn from what I observe, share it with others, be of service, and, ultimately, to understand better my personal history–that it might support my evolution as a human being in all my relationship roles.

I write that I may first honor what happens in my life, then learn from it, then support others who learn from what they read–and if it inspires others to take up writing for self-discovery ALL the better.

I write for both sacred and mundane and practical purposes.

Back in 2010, I facilitated a weekly Writer’s Support Group for the Reticent Blogger at a most magical venue,–Friends, Philosophy and Tea House in Bellevue, WA.

One Tuesday in early August, Warren showed up for the weekly event. That week he was the new guy.

Our group of 14 met in the Yoga Room. We were bursting at the seams to fit one more chair in that room–but we liked being cocooned in that space (until we outgrew it and 16+ were coming each week.)

Warren was a career executive with an impressive resume of Business Development, Marketing, and Organizational Development–with an equally impressive academic background in Applied Mathematics. He was also Australian, candid, funny, sharp-witted, outspoken, and he had been recently “released.” He was broadening his activities beyond playing tennis while looking for his next professional assignment.

He had discovered Biznik, where our weekly group was promoted. He had also recently self-published a book on his British-Australian lineage that went back to the 1600s! That impressed me and every person in our circle that day. We implored him to bring the book with him the next time he might come. He committed to nothing.

Warren was curious about one big thing that day–that remains a peak experience in my memories of him and the Writer’s Support Group:

“Why does someone write for anything other than business (or profit)? What’s the point?. I can’t see it.”

Writing for business, finance, sales, marketing, that he could do well, and he saw the value. Writing for personal reasons made no sense to him. He couldn’t see the point of it.

I remember telling a friend later that night how a bright, charming, curmudgeon of person had attended my writer’s support circle that day. Warren wit and his accent had impressed me. Everybody weighed in on the benefits they got from writing (with motivations being all over the map!) and the weekly support of the circle. That lively meeting warmed my facilitator’s heart. I was hoping that Warren didn’t feel singled out for dissenting.

I also presumed he’d not be returning based on the last thing he said before leaving:

“Thank you for an interesting afternoon experience.”

To my surprise, he emailed me late that night still perplexed by his experience earlier that day. I  thoughtfully replied as is my MO and did my best to remain detached. (For I can’t make anyone change their tune about writing now can I?)

To my great surprise, the next week he showed up again.

That fine summer day of August 2nd, on his inaugural visit to the weekly meet-up was the last day he clung to that “reality.”

He started a blog.
He wrote personal stories each with a lesson that could be applied to life (and business).
He took the idea I suggested to him to fictionalize his families’ “most interesting” history.
He started with short stories.
He laced them together into a novel.
He got curious about writing from a female perspective.
He took on a female pen name, tried it out, and succeeded.
He started coming to the Thursday night working group that gathered at the Tea House to do timed writing with prompts of all kinds.

Those were the days of Steve, Karin, Fai, Pat, Deborah, and Warren. And, there were others who came and went, but we had our core group. We wrote. We shared. We laughed. We’d repeat for 90 minutes weekly. It was a beautiful weekly ritual.

Then Warren got an offer to return to work.
And, he kept writing, for now, he was hooked.
He made time for it–changed man that he was.

Last time I had lunch with him and Fai at Molbak’s in Woodinville, he handed me a brown paper bag with a copy of each of the volumes of stories he had written and self-published.

Four volumes of stories to date.
A historical novel.
With another novel in development.

He berated me that my memoir was still undone.
He pointed out that he made time for writing EVERY DAY.
I sidestepped the critique by reminding him we had Fai’s novel Le Maurais to celebrate.

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Warren is one of many who came to the Writer’s Support Group on Tuesdays at the Tea House from 1-2:30 pm. It became part of his new set of rituals. He was one of many engaged in the vast weekly dialogue about writing and why one writes.

On a weekly basis, for two and a half years, a couple dozen people gathered, held space, and gave great advice to each other–and we forged friendships too!

A lot of writing got discussed.
A lot of reasons people didn’t write got eliminated.
A lot of writing got done after each weekly pow wow.

In the month of November 2011, our blogger version of NaNoWriMo produced over 100,000 words with 25+ active contributors.

The commitment was a simple one.
Five times a week.
100+ words a post.
Contributors far exceeded the minimums. :)
And, the group insisted the community blog be called Tuesdays with Deborah (which I was never quite comfortable with, but we were a democracy–sort of.)

http://www.authenticwritingprovokes.com/inspiredwriting/

We were a community of people who loved and/or feared writing. Those of us who loved it supported those who feared it–as they overcame the resistance they felt. People grew as writers by helping each other. Ours was a respectful circle that made a newcomer feel welcome immediately.

In August of 2012, my favorite venue closed its doors. That was a sad day, but we all accepted the reality. And, while efforts were made to find a new home for our circle, none could hold a candle to the Tea House.

Writing kept showing up on the community blog. Karin Q started the Salon at her place. Others carried on independently. Books got written. Blogs got posted, micro-blogging on Facebook happened, and I began working on an all-encompassing project…even though I had said yes, to a half-time commitment. 

Things always take more time than we imagine.

There were always other writing projects and clients too, but the big focal point of my work for nearly five years (until this May) was to support the larger vision of someone who had engaged my services as a writing coach, editor, marketing specialist, and content development strategist. We (aka the team) collaborated on books, a lot of blogs, and an online course derived from the main title.

WHAT a journey it was and remains.

I tend to immerse myself in supporting clients as they developed their writing and communication skills, as they develop their stories, their brand, and their online presence. The way I see it, it’s all interconnected.

It’s satisfying work to see someone grow and evolve as a writer, speaker, presenter, and first and foremost a person.

It’s gratifying to see a client, a colleague, or a friend say YES to “bolder, shameless, self-promotion” that remains aligned with who they are.

In a word: Authentic.
In three words: Authentic Always Provokes.

Now, whether you enjoy writing is an entirely different conversation.

When people tell me they don’t like writing and avoid it because they don’t think they are good writers, I ask with pure child-like curiosity, “Who was the first person to suggest that you weren’t good at writing? What exactly happened!?”

For some it takes a pregnant pause to recall that early peak experience of feeling critiqued, shamed, or discouraged.

For most, there is a story buried in memory that rises from the depths of the subconscious mind. Some said, they simply knew that they didn’t like writing.

And, at that point of recognition, we have something we can work with and transform–if that is what is wanted.

the same old thinking and disappointing results, closed loop or negative feedback mindset concept  - a napkin doodle with a cup of coffee

The Critic is strong in all of us–AND it can be tamed, put in its place, and accessed in ways that are helpful.

The Perfectionist can become an ally; active when needed and quiet when appropriate.

The Creator exists in all of us–AND it needs support and encouragement (from both inside and outside).

The Writer can be cultivated and could become an integral part of your inner leadership committee. (Who is running the show in your life?)

Knowing you want to enjoy writing for business or personal might involve adopting practices that are not second nature to you.

Knowing you want to embrace marketing and promoting your work might also require adopting practices that are not second nature to you.

Mastery of what is not second nature will always involve hard work, persistence, and knowing how to be gentle with yourself.

I see myself as a multi-faceted communications specialist who understands the intersections of content development, production, marketing, promotion, and most importantly–staying aligned with your essence.

And at the end of each day what gives me the greatest joy as a wordsmith, storyteller, and guide?

Seeing you embrace the idea of getting over your concerns about writing for yourself and as yourself while doing it for your intended reader (or client)—THAT is what I champion.

I’m Tired of Waiting: A Tale of Self-Publishing and Personal Growth

Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of being a published author.

The year I was nine, a poem of mine was published in the Pacific Grove’s very own Poetry Shell AND I got to have lunch with the editor, Lois who happened to be a PG resident like my great-grandmother. I interviewed her over a milkshake. It was a sunny day in Pacific Grove, which was notoriously foggy more than any other weather. To me, Lois was an inspiration. She told me to never stop writing.

She was the first of many teachers/mentors to encourage me.

So much has changed since “then.” We all know what I am talking about.

There are infinite platforms to “Just Do It.”

Nothing stops one from publishing themselves, but themselves.

I embrace blogging as I do because it offers so much immediate gratification. Perhaps it is because I have written in journals so many years and learned to type fast enough to keep pace with most of my thoughts, that it is easier for me than some BUT…

If you will get out of your own way, and develop a writing practice and get support and mentoring from an enthusiastic “posse” of one or more, you too can gain a new level of comfort with writing for your well-being or your business.

It doesn’t matter if you think your story of what you learned about (fill in the blank) has been told a hundred times by “better” writers.

Your story is unique to you. Your voice is unique to you. Just get yourself started.

And seeing yourself as an important voice that deserves to be fully self-expressed is what my work in this world is all about.

As your Self and with a Sense of Self.

For business, for spirit, for entertainment, for whatever you decide.

Co-Authors of Burn Your Resume. You Need a Professional Profile! presenting events June-August

As the co-author of Burn Your Resume, I am pleased to announce a series of events in Seattle and on the Eastside, beginning this June. Authentically and effectively speaking of yourself and writing about yourself (for that matter) gets easier when you understand who you are and what you have to offer: clients, peers, employers…and so it makes sense that as a professional we REALLY UNDERSTAND our Professional Story and can tell it well on paper, online and in-person.  Attend or Recommend any and all of the upcoming events. To your continued and future successes!

~Deborah Drake, Enthusiastic Catalyst

What exactly is a Professional Profile ™? And why does a new college grad, a job seeker in transition, an independent consultant, an entrepreneur or a small business owner need one?

A Professional Profile™ is much more than a chronological or functional résumé. It VIVIDLY showcases your Accomplishments, your Special Skills, and what you bring to the World of Work.

Work experience and employment history aside, who are you professionally, really? How confidently do you present yourself to future employers and clients as the IDEAL candidate?

Want to shine each and every time? We implore you to STOP the insanity. Get thee a Professional Profile ™!

Join us at an upcoming event and pick up your copy of the book at the event or order from Amazon.

 

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Co-sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal

June 14th

1-4pm

ThinkSpace in Redmond

Investment: $15 (pre-register)

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/event/71391

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Monday Evenings: July 9th through August 6th

Co-sponsored by Soul Food Books in Redmond

A 5-week series on Monday evenings

6-8pm (arrive by 5:30pm to order coffee and network with others)

Investment: Pay What You Will

Over the course of five Mondays, in community, drop ins welcome at any point, we will create Professional Profiles and Practice Interview Skills. Who is this Series For? The Business Owner who wants new business, the Freelance Consultant, the Job Seeker.

Attn Career and Business Coaches: interested in learning how to use this tool with clients? Join us!

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Microsoft Store @ University Village in Seattle

July 19th and August 2nd

6-8pm

Investment: Complimentary

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What Does it Take to Find Great Work in a Challenging Economy?

The Era of the Resume is Over! Does Your Online Profile Do It’s Job?

Want to secure the Ideal Job or Launch a Career Right or win the Next Big Assignment?

Attend this interactive and experiential workshop to learn how to:

  • Learn how to always be an Ideal Candidate
  • Identify your best and most marketable skills
  • Create a “Positively Disruptive” Professional Profile (aka Functional Resume)

Does Your Resume Read Like a Table of Contents or does it tell a Tale of Accomplishments and Competency?

Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs alike MUST be able to show and tell their Professional Story both online and off.

Join Don Burrows, Job Search Specialist and Deborah Drake, Communication Specialist, co-authors of Burn Your Résumé. You Need a Professional Profile™ — Winning the Inner and Outer Game of Finding Work or New Customers for an interactive and experiential workshop designed to shift your mindset on what makes for an interview- winning professional profile that evolves with you. For more about Don and Deb visit http://resumesthatresumecareers.com/bios/

Who is this Workshop for?
Job Seekers, Seekers of Promotions, Independent and Freelancers wanting to attract ideal, new business.

YOU if you believe in these Job Search Myths

Myth #1
No one will read a four plus page resume.

Myth #2
You can’t shift industries without starting over.

Myth #3
It’s too competitive to do what I really want to do.

When Blogging Becomes a Chore

What comes to mind for you when you see the words?

Chores. The very word conjures up memories of Saturday mornings spent dusting, vacuuming, doing laundry, weeding and many other unpleasant tasks BEFORE I could play with friends and have fun.

Blogging. The other name for writing short pieces or longer articles that are timely, relevant, contribute to marketing efforts, and has the POTENTIAL to attract more ideal business inquiries.

SEO. Search Engine Optimization or as a gifted translator of a person I know put it to a newbie in the Weekly Writers Support Circle on Tuesday, “How your site and its content get found by people.”

Are you among the many who jumped on the WordPress/Blogging Bandwagon? Did you start excited, promise yourself you’d blog weekly or more and lose steam over time? Are you growing self-conscious that your last post was from February of 2012 or worse, in 2011? (Please read on and be gentle with yourself.)

Are you of the belief you must write according to a proven “form” or “system” or “with such intense regularity”?

How long was it before you lost your zest for writing a pithy bi- or tri-weekly post because you:

  • Ran out of “great ideas”?
  • Tired of how long it took to write a post worth publishing?
  • Got discouraged when no one commented (presuming commenting was turned on)?
  • Simply were forcing yourself to write in the first place?

Writing a blog is a wise activity when you naturally enjoy writing or can learn to love writing about your business, your process, your experiences, as yourself in a voice and tone that reflects you. It serves to let your site visitors (and potential clients) meet you even before they call or reach out via email. And who doesn’t want a warm inquiry as a business be you solo, small, medium or large in scope?

The new and exciting opportunity that blogging platforms offered was a “boon” (a gift) to those who were already prolific writers. And where once upon a time it was more difficult to get regular writing out in the world, if you weren’t also technically proficient with Website Software Programs that were Content Management Systems as well, the current era offers many CMS options.  Options that are very plug and play too.

It is Do It Yourself heaven. My first blog (that still exists) was a Blogger blog I started for myself alone in 2005. I chose a design of the 23 offered and started posting personal pieces. I actually still love that blog and its design and always mean to post to it more than I do these days. (Note to self: start next week!)

Then I met “WordPress.” It was love at first site.

Oh, WordPress! How much more I can do for myself than before and from anywhere and anytime and with relative ease. I am part of the choir that will forever love writing. I appreciate technology that lets me help myself and helps me get found that much easier. WordPress does that easily and while the Dashboard may be intimidating at first, once understood, it is LIBERATING to compose on the fly and in the cloud.

What do I say to clients who feel like they are running out of gas where writing “intelligently” and “consistently” gets in the way of writing “with creativity and enthusiasm?”

Stop trying so hard and give yourself permission to take a break.

Try crafting an editorial outline that reflects your new business goals (a professional bucket list)

Write some stories about your life and business lessons and then decide do you want to publish them or no?

Take some time to determine your ideal client and profile that person in rich detail and imagine that you are blogging to them.

If all else fails, take yourself or your dog for a walk! Get outside and get some fresh air at the very least.

Once when I was really stuck and in an unhealthy thought loop while I was on a writing deadline, I called a friend who was a professional coach for support. What did she advise me to do?

“Go outside for a walk for a minimum of 15 minutes and look for all the white and purple flowers.”

“Why?” I asked in complete confusion.

“Just do as I say please. Will you? And call me when you get back.”

So I did. And guess what happened!!! I took the walk. I saw some white and purple flowers and noticed other garden beauties too. I got home and called my friend. She asked me if I was ready to get back to it. And in truth, I was.

My Creative Block was GONE! And writing came with more ease and I liked the results.

If you aren’t a naturally obsessive writer like some of us, but see the value of blogging for business (or pure self-expression) know that becoming committed to it and enthusiastic about writing can be learned–provided you are willing. And use some tools to support you such as:

A community of like-minded people (I can recommend a great writing support group and facilitator!)

A calendar with dates you keep with yourself to write for writing sake (and take the best ideas farther!)

Practice. Practice. Practice. (You needn’t publish what you don’t want)

Read. Read. Read. (At least an hour a week the blogs of others you admire and consider…)

Commenting in a constructive and pay it forward style. (This has been known to inspire people to reciprocate!)

Use “the canvas” that inspires ease: maybe you compose emails well or write differently directly in the WordPress Post Window? Who said you have to write in a Word Doc first? (Do though save your piece to your hard drive and not just on the cloud)

Set the scene. Establish the environment. Dress the part. One client of mind laughed they might start wearing dress clothes to write for their business blog, even though they worked at home.

Try anything once to see if it frees your writing voice and stick with what works for you.

Writing and Reading and Interacting with other Writers is bound to affect your opinion of writing for business and pleasure, as well as develop a skill and an artistry in you and your own writing. Over time your skill and confidence will shift so notice and celebrate the breakthroughs.

Think of it as the equivalent of teaching yourself how to walk (fall down and get up again) or tie your shoes (bunny ears worked eventually) or learning how to print then write “cursive.”

Many talents aren’t second nature but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them so. WordPress makes blogging possible on your schedule be it planned out or in the moment.

So let’s reframe what we started with:

Chores. Serve to keep our creative energy and productivity flowing well and mastered can save us time and set us free to play that much sooner.

Blogging. It is at its most basic an opportunity to express yourself: casually, candidly, professionally, playfully, and virtually from wherever you may be wanting to capture a relevant moment.

SEO. Think of it like being on a scavenger hunt or geo-caching with a GPS device that makes it easier to find the prize. The prize being a happy client and a happy service provider or product “sold.” What are the magic words that used well get you found faster?

So knowing you have the platform, the best of motives, and the means, how about saying yes to the writer within?

 


 

 

 


Why I “really, really, really” love ~ admire ~ respect Paulo Coelho

There are three big reasons I “really, really, really” love this man Paulo Coelho, (who has 8.1 Mil FB fans for good reasons–and what about all the fans who don’t do FB).

Please take a moment to scan his bio…it is quite inspiring to me. Every time I read it.

One could say these things about him ( I do!):

1. He was a late bloomer who had some early rough patches in determining WHO he was and wanted to be.

2. He gives back, so much.

3. He does what he loves and it shows.

Are you?

I invite you to consider making whatever change it takes to be “being” your best self!

What is required to make it happen for you?

Do you have the right support to see it through the patches of resistance?

I believe as Deepak Chopra does (by definition in his book Creating Affluence (a longtime favorite of mine) that D is for Dharma and Dharma never feels like work.

One late bloomer to another, may you in divine time, fulfill your Dharma in this lifetime.

(To be doing what I do for a livelihood is quite simply a dream realized that I have imagined since 9 years old.)

May 2012 be the year you FINALLY learn to WRITE as Yourself.

When I was nine, I was given a Hallmark Diary. Pink Plaid. Locked with a small brass key. I was sure it was secure BUT then no one was actually interested in my nine year old ramblings (right?)

Fast forward to 14. I am a freshman in Honors English: My new teacher, a new teacher himself, walked in looking fresh from the film set of Dead Poet’s Society and scripted his name with theatrical flourish in yellow chalk on a “green” blackboard….”John Calvin Dotson.”

We were then directed to put away all books, take out a piece of paper, pick up a pen and write…

“What?” said a fellow classmate in a shocked tone.

“Write everything you can, as quickly as you can, that passes through you. No editing. Go. Five minutes.” (No further instructions were given; no one asked a w follow up question.)

And so we tucked in over paper and with pen and wrote as though our lives depended upon it. Time became timeless and five minutes passed quickly. What had we accomplished? We had emptied our heads onto paper, foregoing editing as we wrote, and could focus better for the next forty minutes of class; but something even more important was initiated that day.

Five days a week, all year long, we started class with this writing ritual referred to as a  “braindump.” We learned (or at least I did) how to align what we were “thinking” with our writing; and that has for me made all the difference.

My natural voice/tone/style has been a part of how I write what I write– for the last 33 years. So writing is “easy” for me. Editing on the other hand can take MANY HOURS.

At age 14, I was introduced to the concept: Writing and Editing are two distinct processes.

It is important to remember this when starting new writing projects. I propose the following as a best process to get to good content as quickly as one can that one can Write first. Write fast. Write when inspired. Let it marinate a “bit.” THEN move into editing and consider using an Editor other than yourself as well. Choose someone who will be diplomatically candid and help make your writing “better” without imposing their voice on you.

I like to think that as a group facilitator and teacher of writing/communication/self-expression, I teach first how to acknowledge the voice within seeking to express itself and then how to refine and edit the final message to be Authentic and Impactful and Effective. And this approach applies to business and marketing writing as well as personal writing.

When Writing is Hollow it is experienced that way. When Writing is Passionate and Enthusiastic it is experienced as such. As much as there is a barrier between you reading this blog post and me writing, I HOPE you feel the conviction I feel for this topic and theme.

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It was Spring of 2010. I was sitting in a Sunday service at Unity of Bellevue and the minister then, John MacLean was in his WONDERFUL theatrical style (for he had a TV Entertainment Past!) discussing  the difference between Religion and Spirituality. I can’t recall what he said about Religion at all. I do though remember very distinctly what he offered about Spirituality: “Spirituality Provokes”

Suddenly, I silently gasped and had the thought, “Yes, and Authentic Writing Provokes. That is it!” This is always the mantra that drives the way I mentor and coach and guide writers and business clients to write and market themselves was born.

Yes, I sound like a broken record BUT I sing a song I love to sing over and over.

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Two years of Tuesdays with the Writers Support Group for the Reticent Blogger has given birth to other events that keep me engaged creatively, professionally and are the highlights of my week.

The Writers Support Group for the Reticent Blogger (aka Writer)

The Writers Supporting Writers Group

And introducing the newest weekly offering:

Developing an Authentic Voice for Self-Expression: An Ongoing Series

Whether you desire to write and speak well for your business or yourself, I invite you to write and speak with a sense of Authenticity and Enthusiasm. Discovering your growing edges is where the work begins. The Critic would have you delay publishing something that isn’t quite finished or critique what you have published. The Editor would help you refine the message and encourage you to publish your thoughts. These “voices” in us have their roles but prior to getting their feedback, we must let our “Free Expression” loose.

If you aren’t comfortable with full self-expression, avoid writing for yourself or secretly wish you enjoyed writing, I “gently” challenge you to take on learning how to be collaborative with Your True Voice, Your Editor and Your Critic. Great Writing comes of this “dream team” when on the “same page.”

Helping people give their creativity and self-expression “roots and wings” is happily what I also call my work and dharma.

May the Confident Writer and Speaker in You be Released in 2012, Year of the Water Dragon!

Deborah Drake – Authentic Writing Provokes, Writing Mentor/Marketing Coach and Self-Publishing Enthusiast

It’s about finding TRUE enthusiasm. First yours. Then theirs.

Featured

Are you FABULOUS at what you DO and CARE about but hesitant to boldly express and market yourself?

I look forward to supporting you with…

Writing Coaching (Interested in enjoying writing for yourself?)…
Writing Services (Developmental Editing, Ghost Writing, Copyediting)…
Practical Marketing Coaching (Let’s determine what works for you!)…
Extremely Productive Brainstorming (will surprise you)…
Market Research (My favorite hobby!)…
Social Media Marketing Strategy…(It’s always about being relational)

It all starts with saying yes to an exploratory conversation.

Your Authentic Voice for Self-Expression will thank you for it.

To your thriving and success as defined by you.

SONY DSC

 

Deborah Drake ~ Catalyst, Writer, Editor
deb@deborahdrake.com
206.250.1855

Because Authentic Work represented by Authentic Writing and Self-Expression is Magnetic…

The good ideas that run away OR find me.

Writing is an activity that I personally do as easily as breathing.

And yet, there are those who “dread” the very idea of having to write a thank you note. I often wonder where the resistance to writing comes from each time I hear someone express having it.

And then there are the good ideas that we’ll have that run away like the Gingerbread Boy on a mission not to get caught. One trick to making writing an easier task for business and personal development that I use ALL the time is to be ready catch the idea, the phrase, the brilliant conversation overheard in the moment.

This doesn’t work so well if I am in the shower BUT even that can be worked around with a handy digital recorder.  (Some of my most creative ideas have come while washing my hair. I will admit that. How many can relate?)

The phrase CARPE DIEM comes to mind. Seize the day (or better still the moment.) Is there a napkin in the house?

Saturday mornings I take my tweenager to classes in downtown Seattle as she aspires to be an entertainer and her involvement in Youth Theater is a start. She begs for more training so assuming grades are kept strong and chores are done, we grant her wishes.

Opting to spend an hour or so at a cafe “observing life in action” while she learns Monologue and Improvisational Script Reading is a PERFECT opportunity to carpe diem and observe many a caper of daily life (not my own). At these times, I challenge myself to connect the dots creatively or find insights and wisdom to share with readers or clients.

Take today for example: After parking the car on the street and prepaying for the time as needed, I headed to the cafe that I spend the hour I have to myself.

A favorite writer of mine Doris Lessing, was a fan of sitting in cafes and capturing life around her. Her short stories, rich with emotional detail and human psyche themes, were often based on lives being played out in dialogue around her.

In one short story, she made even a traffic jam at a four way London corner seem like the most human of experiences, as the cars (not their drivers) argued with horn and turn signals and passive-aggressive maneuvers.

The Third Avenue corridor of Seattle is a busy one between the cars, the busses, and the less fortunate citizens of Seattle. Having needed to park a block and a half farther away than usual, I found myself walking in the transitional neighborhood between Belltown proper and Downtown proper. On the corner a block from my final destination, two were locked in an intense “conversation” of sorts.

A tall and overweight woman carrying many bags and dressed in a hodgepodge of winterwear was screaming like a banshee at a smaller and also plump and very weatherworn woman clinging to her rolling walker.

The air was thick enough to cut with a butter knife. It would be necessary to listen to this “monologue” for a good “long” minute as I and another woman had just missed the legal right to walk across tthe street. I know I could have dashed to avoid having to experience this moment of humanity BUT I opted to stay put and say a silent prayer of calm and resolution on behalf of these two beings who struck me as “related.”

I got the distinct impression it was actually a mother yelling at her daughter. The smaller woman seemed younger than the older.I breathed in the suffering I was experiencing outside of me as Tonglen Meditation would have me do, and imagined myself transmuting it into something neutral and accepting and positive.

My eyes caught the eyes of the woman beside me waiting for the light to turn green for legal crossing and we smiled weakly and sympathetically at one another. We said not a word though. And when the light turned green, we both stepped on and moved forward. I was still saying prayers of peace for the pair still locked in a passive-aggressive verbal battle. The young one was muttering she was sorry. The elder was screaming how tolerant and patient she was.

As a mother of a young woman in the making, this mean moment on a cold afternoon struck me as poignant and heartbreaking. It also leaves me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the health and well-being and comfort in my seemingly simple life and lifestyle.

Not only do I have peace of mind and body, I have a circle of support that seems to grow not shrink. I have a business that is growing doing work I choose. I appreciate all that I have, even the small sadnesses and heartbreaks of romantic love and new business lost from time to time. In truth, the amount of goodness I experience daily outweighs any sadness and disappointment.

A brief walk through a cold city can itself offer me a gift of awareness to appreciate  what is always before me. We really are surrounded by many things to write and reflect upon. The good ideas (not always happy though) find us and want to be shared, when we are willing.

May we take each opportunity to stretch our authentic voices and make a difference.

What’s the Story Morning Glory?

Say it with me people, “I welcome a fresh new writing challenge for January, because my business and I are worth it!”

Our community writing project is working and rather elegantly for some. With each month I see writing from people who are clearly enjoying their process. And I am enjoying you enjoying yourself. “Thank you sir (and madams) may I have some more.”

In November, those who committed, did in fact make valiant efforts to write daily 100 words or more, with the spirit of National Novel Writing Month like a wind beneath our wings.

In December, those of us who continued on opted to continue with daily writing, respond to writing prompts offered, make a point to stretch ourselves and set new and personal goals. How did you do?

Now comes January. Are you feeling even a twinge of resistance? I sure hope not. Truth is when altering behaviors for good, it is only natural to experience resistance that must be addressed.

Speaking for myself, I am missing some voices that we had in November and December who for one reason or another wandered off to ski, or move, or engage in the holidays with a vengeance, deal with life issues, travel some and “sabbaticals” are good when they are restorative. Here is hoping you are feeling restored and ready to take on some new and exciting challenges from yours truly.

Who among us now is ready to entertain this next writing challenge and commit to it with renewed intention? Your mission should you choose to accept it is:

For the month author at minimum four posts that feature you and your business from the perspective of lessons learned not only in this last year but in all the time you have been in business. Incorporate story and sharing of somethings you’ve not  yet shared.

Make these posts good fodder for an article to reprint and post online elsewhere beyond your site.

Get real and stay honest. How much transparency can you manage?

Begin to “imagine as if” your business goals and marketing plan not only exist but can be realized and that fresh content expressing your 2012 and beyond intentions exposes new readers/prospective clients to aspects of you and how you do business.

What goes in the Circle that represents your 2012 Goals/Plans/Intentions? Map it out graphically and start writing those stories.

This is not to say the daily musings and sightings of things odd and inane and down right ridiculous don’t belong in this month’s writing, but let’s intentionally turn our attention to some compelling and vivid writing about our businesses (if we have not already started).

As for the Blog Title, I can feel you all wondering so I will share with you what inspired me.

What’s The Story?

Last night my daughter and I watched a film and I remembering thinking, “I want to see that while it is in the theaters.” Point is I finally saw it Morning Glory (2010) with Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton as well as a stellar ensemble cast, quick and clever writing and some very memorable scenes illustrated comically the power of being vulnerable while being authentic and taking risks:

The Storyline

Becky (Rachel McAdams) is a hard-working morning TV show producer, or at least she was until she got fired. Desperate to get a job, she finally gets an interview with Jerry (Jeff Goldblum) – who is desperate to hire a producer for the struggling show “Daybreak”. Becky accepts the job and it proves to be more difficult than even she might be able to handle. She has to fire the sexist co-host, then try to convince egotistical news reporter, Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), to take the job, and then try and get him to actually do the job, properly. And she has to do this while falling for handsome Adam (Patrick Wilson), and trying to save the show from plummeting ratings. Will Becky be able to hold on to her dream job and her sanity?

That Scene I Can’t Forget
Becky is determined to get re-employed and after sending her resume FIVE times to probably everywhere (only in the movies eh?). She gets a call from Daybreak Morning Show’s Executive (Jeff Goldbum) who does a fine job being so Jeff Goldbum as he interviews her. Or rather at her interview, she gets nervous and rattles off way too much cheerful banter BUT at the very point she is about to give up hope that the job could be hers because even the Executive is dissing all aspects of the show: its ratings, its content, it’s budget, its staff etc.  she goes for broke, takes a stand and says, “I think this show needs a producer who BELIEVES in it and I am that person.” His response, some version well that is sad/embarrasing…and thanks for coming in. She storms out of the office only to have an embarrassing and important moment in the elevator with two other key characters. (I’ll let you check out the film and review it yourself from this point)

Have you ever reached that point of caring so much you go for broke and make a fool of yourself with a lot of heart?

Becky Fuller got offered the job before she left the building. She had a wild ride over the next six weeks and like all Hollywood movies after twists and turns and ups and downs, there is a lovely happy ending for all the main characters…Ah, the cinema!

It is her passion, her determination, her belief in her self, her out of the box thinking, her fly by the seat of her pants and survive way of handling crises and overwhelm and humanity that makes her my hero.

Made me glad I came to my own senses and said yest to myself and this business I do for a livelihood. And so I preach “authentic self-expression” in all forms and that is what I am AGAIN talking about.

January is about symbolically starting a Fresh Year, on a Fresh Canvas, keeping the Best of 2011, tossing the Rest, embracing 2012 and marketing and promoting ourselves with vivid vigor, tantalizing transparency and curiosity inspiring content. Weave yourself into your business writing. Weave business into your personal writings, as best you can.

It can not only be done. It can be done WELL. Are you game? If so, ante up and let me know who I get to watch for in the coming month!

Want to Write and Market Better? Start by turning the television off!

Authentic Marketing and Authentic Writing (aka Self-Expression) are very closely linked for me. Basic Marketing Intelligence affirms (through plenty of research) that people will buy for one of two main motivations: Pain or Pleasure.  To market via a voice and strategy that amplifies the pains in life gets my attention–long enough to turn me off.

While on a short business trip to Southern California (as in as I write this post) I am reminded of why I will not ever again have a television (large, small, flat or HD) or for that matter watch (and more importantly) why I do not watch/consume regular programming. And yes, I know I am putting a provocative stake in the ground for there are plenty of good reasons to “watch” television–selectively.

Let’s start with a look at “the perpetually available newsfeed.”

There is a lot of fear and pain and sadness and tragedy in most news that is reported. For every happy story reported there are many more shocking and upsetting stories to process.

It happens that the highly evolved Precor treadmill I am using in the fitness center has a small media screen as part of its design and it’s got CNN on. I set the timer for an hour and plan to walk four miles in place at an incline that challenges me and take in the news of the hour for a moment. Several things strike me “in blazing technicolor” as I increase my heart rate, break a sweat and engage in active watching and listening.

Lots of bad news to take in…Lots of vapid news to take in…Lots of shocking news to take in…depressing stats on the waning Super Power that the US is according to Pat Buchanan, who has recently authored “Suicide of a Super Power.” Is he still acting also as minister and man of God or is he all pomp and politician now?

And then there is the striking difference in presentation of women and men reporting the news. The women are simply overdone with eye makeup and lipstick and hair that is perfectly coiffed and wavers not. I find myself wondering what do they really look like before “the mask” is applied to accentuate lashes and cheek bones and lips and what exactly is done to control their hairstyle regardless of how they may move (but then they don’t move much.)

The men are clean cut and shaved and sharply dressed in suits and crisp shirts and smart ties and have great postures as the talking heads behind the dark shiny desks, and it is notable too that they do have flawless looking skin.

My experience of how both genders report the news is essentially the same: they are equally affected and inauthentic. They are reading the cues and teleprompter well and keeping eye contact and looking good and holding the best position they can. No unattractive side will be seen by the viewer. Ever.

And then there are the commercials. (Another blogpost entirely…) The only ones that make me smile are the two V8 commercials I see BECAUSE Jackie Chan, one of my favorite actors/director/celebrities DOES HIS OWN STUNTS and is a real person to me based on reading his biography and following his films and life since 1991. And I know that there are outtakes to those commercials too that show him slipping, falling, and brushing himself off as he laughs it off as well. His cinema “signature” of showing the outtakes has endeared me to him and his movies for years. That he shows his imperfections is symbolic to me.

I remain disenchanted with this technology called TV that is one of the great barometers of what is popular and what matters and what people want. For me, popular TV for the most part represents the lower common denominator and as one watches, their creativity and intelligence is put to sleep, not encouraged. And I do not want to “fall asleep” while I live in the world. I want to participate in it and create good stuff “from scratch.”  Most of all, I want to feel fully engaged in living and the choices I make.

So there is very little News or Comedy or Drama or Disney (my daughter’s drug of choice…LOL) or ABC Family or Reality TV that I can handle being in proximity to–let alone sit long enough to watch fully attentive. And it is less and less all the time. And I find that the less I watch, the more I think and create from a space of intelligence in myself that is Creative, Positively Provocative, Effective, High Impact, and Love-based.

So if you must address the Pain Factor, I suggest doing a really good job of digging in deep, writing up the worst scenarios and pain statements you can make yourself pen, and then with authenticity turn them on their head.

What you may create for a marketing campaign and website copy will be emotionally charged copy GROUNDED in your sincere desire to be a solution.

When it comes to writing and marketing ourselves in print or online or in person, to grow our business, it is experienced by me as a “cheap shot” when someone appeals strongly to my weak points (and who among us has but one Achilles Heel?)

So consider this fundamental philosophy for conducting any and all business activities: Champion the Nobler Goal with Compassion and Creatively So.  I propose it will make you more positively memorable and while it may take a little longer for business to develop, the positive results will be greater over time, the loyalty factor in clients naturally higher and the benefits experienced by both sides in transactions absolutely amplified and soul-satisfying.

And to think this rant was triggered by watching TV? Huh! I guess I best expose myself to popular media just enough to remind me of what NOT to do, so that I can refresh my sense of what is BEST to pursue (smile).

P.S. I dedicate this post to the marketing and writing clients (I may have or may have in the future) in search of their WHY and HOW and WHAT. You know you want to be a force of goodness in the world and I believe you can. If you are not in touch with that voice in you that would champion the positive approach to attracting ideal clients, I welcome being a guide to discovering that voice in you.