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.

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?

 


 

 

 


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.

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.

Do I Want to Get An Extra Hour Out Of Every Day?

There is a list below offering a myriad of ways to gain back an hour of time. Hey. You could use part of that hour to write for pleasure or business development!!!

And I agree with most of the list..but do I work at all of them all of the time?  Not always and this blog post is about a particular suggestion made that I am going to springboard from…for the sake of making a point!

I LOVE #13. “Eliminate activities which make little contribution to the best results for your life.”

Where you and writing are concerned what activities make the least contribution to the best writing you can do?

In other words, what actitivies and beliefs do you need to shed?

Let’s start here: Thinking you can’t write isn’t helpful. If you send email, you are a writer. You may not be as imaginative or spontaneous or graceful a writer as you’d like to be but if you can convey information, write poetry, an occasional short story, an informational article, or leave a great comment on someone else’s piece–you can write.

If your beef with yourself is about writing “better” or more freely or with more ease, there is always help to found. One need simply ask for it. Sometimes getting to the point of asking for constructive help is where the creative journey begins. Are you willing to ask and then do the work?

“Creative Writing” is put on a mighty high pedestal by many. Often far above Business Writing and Technical Writing. Truth is all of these forms of writing are important. Where would we be without strong technical writers for manuals and directions for putting together IKEA bookshelves (okay, that was a jab at those directions). What would we do if business copy lacked personality? Yawn?

Learning the art of storytelling for the page is what I am talking about! It can be hard work if we doubt our abilities. It could be fun if we committed to practicing every opportunity we had. And that is where I come in.

I’ve met people who tell me with conviction they are not creative. And then I tell them, that can’t possibly be true. Yet they believe they are not creative or skillful at writing. I take on being a stand for their creativity and the belief we all have access to creativity anytime. Writing rules can be learned. Being creative can be cultivated. It gets easier with practice. Writing practice is no different than a gym work out in principle.

My mission professionally and spiritually is simple to me: to educate, inform and inspire writers to love writing and write with heartfelt confidence from an authentic voice.

Getting people to like their own writing is sometimes difficult work and if I could I’d call your elementary school teacher (or the first one) who told you that you weren’t a good writer and give them a piece of my mind…I just might.

Why do we take that misplaced and possibly well intended comment to heart? We all are impacted by early statements made “unconsciously” in ways we don’t imagine at the tender age of seven or nine or fourteen. Another Truth for me: Unwinding and reprogramming ourselves as adults is quite simply more work than cultivating a state of creative openness from childhood. Granted we need patient parents and teachers to keep us on track as we learn the basics as young writers and readers, but can you imagine growing up with the conscious and sub-conscious message that YOU are a creative developing person and your ideas are welcome?

How would that make you feel? And how might that manifest as the future working adult you become, be you self-employed or working in a larger company?

And as for getting an extra hour out of each day, do I want to?

I’ll start tomorrow. Or maybe I will choose to stay up a little late when it gets quieter in my head and outside as well and I find creativity flows through me with more ease.

And in the case you are interested in recapturing an hour for the activity of your choice….

Get An Extra Hour Out Of Every Day

DECEMBER 15, 2008

How can you get an extra hour from each day? This is a basic challenge for all of us. We’ve come up with many practical ways to secure one more precious hour from each day. (Remember that each of these tips is probably adaptable to your particular situation.)

  1. Make up and follow a detailed, daily schedule.
  2. Get up earlier.
  3. Do less passive reading, TV watching and the like.
  4. Avoid allowing others to waste your time.
  5. If you commute to work, use the time to study or plan.
  6. Organize your work; do it systematically.
  7. Make creative use of lunchtime.
  8. Delegate authority if possible.
  9. Spend less time on unimportant phone calls.
  10. Think first; then do the job.
  11. Do instead of dream.
  12. Work hardest when you’re mentally most alert.
  13. Eliminate activities which make little contribution to the best results for your life.
  14. Always do the toughest jobs first.
  15. Before each major act, ask: Is this REALLY necessary?
  16. Choose interesting and constructive literature for spare-moment reading.
  17. Learn how to sleep. Sleep soundly, then work refreshed.
  18. Skip desserts.
  19. Stop smoking.
  20. Write notes or letters while waiting for others.
  21. Always carry an envelope with paper in it, stamps and a few postcards.
  22. Combine tasks which are done in the same area.
  23. Be prompt for all appointments.
  24. Lay out your clothes the night before.
  25. Relax. Ready yourself for the important jobs in life.
  26. Concentrate on the specific task you’re doing.
  27. Make constructive use of those five or ten-minute waiting periods. Carry with you magazine article clippings on helpful subjects.
  28. Always carry a pencil and paper to capture important-to-you ideas.
  29. Learn to do other “unnecessary things” while watching TV or listening to the radio.
  30. Call on specialists to accomplish work you cannot do efficiently.
  31. Learn to read more rapidly.
  32. Nap an hour after dinner. Then take a shower. Begin the evening hours relaxed and refreshed.
  33. Avoid making a “production” out of small tasks.
  34. Avoid interruptions.
  35. Tackle only one job at a time.
  36. Search out job shortcuts.
  37. Know your limitations.
  38. Work to your top capacity.

A Writing Coach's Credo

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.

Be Impeccable with Your Words

For the past month, the Sunday morning talks at the Unity service I attend have centered around
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and it has continuously struck me that applying the simplicity of the Four Agreements to one’s writing is a natural extension of living them in one’s daily life.

Specifically the Four Agreements are:

Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Don’t Make Assumptions.
Always Do Your Best.

And there is also a Fifth to consider:

Challenge Your Assumptions.

Over the course of the next five or so entries, be prepared to (hopefully) be inspired to apply these sublimely simple suggestions to your writing, AND see how challenging it might also be.

And, if you take on the experiment of writing with these in mind, I suggest your writing will be alive and prompt more reader interaction, comments and you’ll experience deeper satisfaction as you write from your truest voice of the moment.

Are you game?

Love your story, it is so beautifully written. Thank you for putting it to paper, the internet, twitter and your blog.

Is this a GREAT quote or what?

It is a comment from a reader of this “World Famous” blog…perhaps you know her story?

http://glutenfreegirl.com/about/

Shauna James Ahern is a resident of Vashon, WA; making her a local for those of us in the Greater Puget Sound.

Among her media accolades are the following:

1 of 50 best food blogs in the world (The London Times, UK)

1 of Gourmet.com’s favorite food sites in the world

1 of 20 best blogs by and for women in the world (Sunday Telegraph, UK)

1 of the best food blogs in the world, as named by BonAppetit.com, December 2008 (This list was linked to by The New York Times, as well)

Best Food Blog with a Theme in the World, 2005 Food Blog Awards

Notice a theme here?

Local Girl gets Globally Known for Writing about her real life experience and lives to tell about it. Sharing shows caring I say. And she started a wave that continues to resound in the world of food blogging and wellness where gluten intolerance is concerned. The point is she shared herself through the magical and immediate medium of “blogging.”

She wrote her story from a place of passion and conviction and quiet enthusiasm and then it became her livelihood.

Have faith that if you write from that place in you, what you want to support you as your livelihood CAN and WILL.

Our great moments of crises be they about identity or health or relationship or professional life ARE opportunities.

Current communication technologies allow for us to reach more than we may ever know and some who will let us know we touched their lives.

My invitation to all who would hesitate to blog or write of their life and work and learnings is this:

Reconsider.

Stretch yourself to be forthcoming.

Try transparency.

Keep it real.

It may attract you any number of things. Customers, peers, friends, ambassadors, and unknown opportunities to contribute to someone’s well-being.

What would you say in response if you received a comment like this from a reader?