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

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 Short Ode To Spring's Latest Attempt To Arrive

I am the next bloom on the cherry tree about to burst wide open, the next new leaf about to unfold its green self, and the song about to erupt from the robin red breasted and boldly singing to source of its Gratitude.

May your writing this coming week erupt from that place in you that believes wholeheartedly in what you are doing and being in the world.

There are people in need of you and your offerings. They simply need know what your offer is.

My offer is to assist you get comfortable with being perhaps more forthcoming and transparent about who you are, what you are up to, what you are a resource for and authentically expressing yourself so that the people who want and need you, have an easier time finding you.

All “writing rules” aside, what would you add to your writing body of work?