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.

********************************

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.

A Reflection on Walking Dogs & My Writing Life

I am a temporary “dog owner”: At least for the next ten days. I offered to help dear friends out and “volunteered” my daughter (who LOVES dogs) to watch a small, well-behaved and rambunctious Daschund named “Lily.” (My daughter is happy happy, for she loves “dogs and cats” that much.)

Lily, isn’t trouble or very high maintenance, but then again, it is like having a toddler in the house. When she has a need she makes it known and stays on point until it is met BECAUSE she is single-minded of purpose. She has lots of little needs to be met that are keeping Bronte from staying on point with homework which impacts me, and I find it “amusing.”

DachshundClick here to get Images & Dachshund PicturesPictures

Lily wants to play or be played with or take a short walk or nap on her terms. She snaps to attention from a sleeping state when someone walks by outside, growls or barks, causing a ripple through the room that was previously quiet or filled with the sound of a clacking keyboard.

Morning routine is quickly established by day two. Daughter up “on time” with the help of “alarm dog” Lily to lick her awake. Lily is fed first, Bronte feeds herself second, lunch is made and we head out the door to get Bronte to school and hopefully we are all walking. Cold, cold mornings we were running later than desired so I broke down and dove B to school then drove onto the park to walk “me and Lily” at Crossroads Community Park, a staple in my life.

I’ve been making laps at that park for nearly six years now and I never tire of the seasons being played out in the trees that leaf and bloom and molt and recycle their leaves and berries.

I call this community place the Park of Little White Dogs for so many of the dogs are little and white. Not all of them are but many are some shade of white. Apartment living means downsizing on the dog one can and may have, if they must have a dog.

The second morning I am walking Lily and I and this morning in a fog as thick as white smoke (not pea soup…far too cliche…and this fog isn’t green!) I am greeted more warmly than normal  by other fellow dog walkers. It is as if they see me as one of them.

I am talking aloud more when I am with Lily, because even though she doesn’t exactly talk back, she is taking in all I say with her eyes and ears. So as we take laps and greet dogs and their walkers, we are chatting up about little stuff. And I experience a mixed feeling.

As sweet as it is to have a dog to walk, a companion to talk to, I am also feeling frustrated that I can’t speed-walk like I am more accustomed. We MUST take moments to take in the smells in the grass, by the tree trunks and of course the other dogs. Do I really need to be so driven on my morning walk? Is it really a race? I’m overcome by the urge to slow down.

Once back from our morning outing, she initially bounces about the warm front room wanting to play some before curling up in her nest of blankets on the couch. She “powers down” for a few hours, not a care in the world, but always waking to gently bark when an outsider’s footsteps are picked up outside. Then it is back to sleep. What a life!

And what about me, after my morning walk (with or without a dog to keep me aware of the value of slowing down to take in the scenery)? I now have a calm in my entire body caused by walking away all the excess energy and want to do one thing only.

I’ll hunker down and get some writing done in an order pre-determined yesterday. I’ll do my best not to be distracted or procrastinate or give in to playing too much (smile). I’ll address one writing assignment at a time in the pursuit of less for greater impact.

My guru/teacher this week is an observant and engaged wee small black and tan daschund who requires of me the right kind of attention at the right time who always has a willingness to engage in play. Play and self-care is good for this writer’s soul and creativity.

If I can give to my writing its own daily walk and loving and playful attention, I just may get all the writing items on my bucket list done eventually and at the perfect moments.

 

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.

Are you loyal to your “practice”?

(Let us be like Cole Porter at his best!)

Saturday evening I ended up staying in. Original plans to visit a friend’s farm were revised, and thankfully the friend and farmer, was graciously understanding.  I do my best to be loyal to the commitments I make and while dates may change, my intentions are ultimately to be loyal to the plans made.

So Saturday evening was now to consist of dinner and a movie at home. Ever seen the movie “De-Lovely” starring Kevin Kline as Cole Porter and Ashley Judd as Linda Lee, his devoted and understanding wife? There is a large and fine cast of characters, the Cole Porter extended family I’ll call it.  The Porters had a long-term and loyal community, or so the film portrays. We should all be so blessed.

I’ve watched this movie many times: You can do that when you own the DVD. And in past viewings I have always admired the music and the vitality of Cole Porter, Kline’s portrayal of him and the retrospective approach to telling his musical story with the help of an Angel played by Jonathon Wright (whom I also LOVE!). This time though there was something different and special that struck me about the film I had not noted before.

There is a scene rather later in the movie wherein Cole Porter is living apart from Linda Lee who has returned to Paris and is taking time to determine what next for herself. Cole has been composing all night long after attending an opening of a new show, sans his muse. Morning comes and he is called to breakfast by a friend and house guest, but he opts to go for a horseback ride before breakfast. He takes a fall off that horse when the horse rears up over a hornets nest and falls on him, crushing both legs badly. In typical Hollywood style, Linda Lee returns promptly and rallies for Cole’s legs with the doctor and then with Cole over getting back to work. (Cross-checking revealed that Hollywood took some creative license in the Cole Porter timeline…imagine that…) But just take the scene at face value for the sake of the theme of this post. Please. And thanks!

Linda is the epitome of loyalty from the moment she binds herself to Cole in marriage, even knowing his idiosyncrasies. She loves all of him with a constancy and always with elegance and good breeding. She exemplifies tender, firm, loyal and love when it comes time to push him to self-reliance. “I can’t work the pedals,” he cries out in pain as she leaves his music room and encourages him to play the piano after bringing him home from the hospital. Outside the closed door to his study, she sobs as quietly as she can, as he shouts for help because he can’t work the pedals. And it would be years before Cole could work the pedals, but Linda Lee’s gentle insistence and support were always in the wings. And in the film, as in real life, Cole Porter would walk again and play again, though with less agility, but that was the least of Linda’s concerns. She wanted him to keep his spirit and reason for getting up each day, in tact.

There were several striking things that stayed with me this time.

1. Cole Porter wrote music that was forever sharing his inner thoughts and alluded to his personal life. And he wrote them as a man in the business of writing music and lyrics and playing for audiences small and large. What occurred in the songs was a reflection of what was going on his life. He was consistent in this way of being and creating music that remains compelling to me. He was masterful technically and also at sharing his heart’s pains and sorrows, couched in humor and tenderness. WHERE ever did you get the idea that YOU and your stories don’t belong in your writing?

2. Cole Porter had a devoted champion in Linda Lee who sometimes acquiesced to his eccentricities and others times put her foot down (though gently) when something needed changing for the overall betterment of his career. She was at times an anchor and others times a rudder, but always a “muse” that supported him in doing what he did best. She kept him focused and supported. And she had quite the network to expose him to. Do you have people on your team who believe in you and also tell you the truth about your writing and communications? Do they speak up? Do you take to heart what they offer? I’m not talking lip service here!

What struck me this time watching a film I enjoy for the music, the acting and the messages, is how AUTHENTIC Cole Porter was as a lyricist and artist and musician. He shared himself pretty much all the time through his songs.

Could you be like Cole Porter at his best in your writing and/or speaking to create connections that stick for the long term one way or another? Here is hoping that you are up to the task of being real in your self-expression to grow your business and client base WHILE also being a kind human being. That is a win-win!

May your writing and business communications always reflect your story, your heart and with as much transparency as is “just right.”

 

The Daily Affirmation for the Writer Within You

Today I am a relaxed and agile and effective communicator in all interactions. I cultivate a relaxation that steadies me as I channel both brilliant and clear speaking and writing simple and complex.

And for this I am appreciated.

Who benefits from this state of mind that you can cultivate on demand?

You and Others.

May your day of communication be a day of creative graceful exchanges.

Is Your Mission Clear to Those Who Want to Help You?

Is it?

I’ll start the dialogue I hope this post creates with my own attempt to be CLEAR and have a little fun in the process:

“Deborah Drake is on a Creative Writing Mission (be you writing for business or otherwise) : To get you to love doing your own writing and express yourself confidently and with authenticity and whole heart. Writing in this age of “the world being your oyster,” what will it take for you to chase out “for good” the disbelief that you can’t write as yourself and for yourself and attract GREAT readers and clients? Consider this writing coach like an assignment a la Peace Corps…she will teach you how to not only plant that garden and harvest the yield, but craft your own recipes in a cookbook you can then self-publish and market boldly with enthusiasm that lights up a room. Writing is good for the soul, good for business and therapeutic and to be able to authentically self-express who we are, what we do and what we care about in this age is PARAMOUNT. Can you?”

Now here is the challenge for you reader: Add yours in the comments so that we all who read here can see that you want us to understand who you are, what you do, what you seek to cause and what you care about. What will this do for you and us? Make it easier for us to identify opportunities that fit you. Those who know you want to understand how to help and recommend YOU! Trust me on this.

We MUST, MUST, MUST be able to both succinctly, colorfully and effectively express our mission, vision and purpose…okay, so we don’t “need to” to get work done and earn that living, but it makes doing business a whole lot more fun when we attract the clients that choose us because they “get us” even before they might meet us face to face.

Here is one example of some I love…and it’s not quite a brief bio or mission statement but it is in my opinion a home-run….Randal Hart I want my profile to be like yours when mine grows up!

http://biznik.com/members/randal-dehart-pmp-qpa/about

DO try this writing prompt at home and let yourself go. You’ll surprise yourself I bet.

Set a timer for five minutes (yes, all of five minutes and no more initially). Kitchen timer or your mobile phone or what ever timing device is easiest and at hand. Ready, Set, Write…and don’t over think it. That is why we get stuck people! We obstruct the flow of channelled brilliance when we stop and think, “Oh, does that sound good or make sense?”
Write what wants to be written for a change. Trust that it has pearls of wisdom to exploit! Write what comes naturally and then edit it to a piece that is finessed. Or ask a trusted advisor to assist.

The intention is to generate a statement that is bursting with truth and freshness…and I believe you can do just that!  (And help is always at hand when we ask for it.)

Authentic Writing Provokes…Every Time.

Courageous Writing Can Be Learned

Today’s Writers Circle of 20 plus individuals got asked a question by facilitator me that for some seemed almost difficult to answer intuitively and  instinctively (which was okay too).  Everyone though offered up their best answer:

How courageous is your writing presently?

We had a fair number of 7-8’s, a handful of 6’s, some 4’s and even a few 9’s and one 11-12.

What exactly is Courageous Writing on one’s blog (for starters)?

Do you “think” you write courageously?

What might doing so look like?

And if you have yet to,  what would it take for you to do so?

When I was little, really young, writing privately in Hallmark diaries that locked (securely…right?) I was no holds barred. This continues to this day in those journals I don’t “publish.” And then there is what I create and  “publish” on my business site. But there is a bit of me, deep thoughts and all that seep into my business communiques in all forms.

Are you at all comfortable with letting yourself in to your business writing?

And how much is too much? Would you recognize your growing edge?

That “edge” is where what I call courageous writing occurs.

Communicating my competencies beside my vulnerabilities: It is a time to be discerning.

And it can be learned. With support it comes easier.

I invite you to take on being ever more courageous as you share your expertise and share your stories and if you need support it is so close!

 

To blog or not to blog IS always the question

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?

Must Love Dogs…or Cute Kids…or Both?

“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.