Archive for On Writing Better

Success Secrets of a Writing Career:
WOOT & WOOF

AuthorAttitude Nina Amir 226x300 Success Secrets of a Writing Career: <br>WOOT & WOOFSome say success for a writing career is a question of attitude. You simply put on your super-hero cape and think positively… I say ‘hogwash!’ Thinking doesn’t drive results.

There is no secret ‘law of attraction’ for achieving a writing career. A success mindset helps you tap into energy, but unless you get into action, all you’ve got are dreams.

Dreams come easy for writers, too easy. Take any writing assignment, either for yourself, your own business, blog, or ebook, or one for a paying client. Chances are, you’ll spend as much time dreaming about the piece as you will actually writing it.

Recently I read a good post about “The 5 Qualities You Need to Successfully Self-Publish Your Book,” by Nina Amir on The Future of Ink blog. She suggests adopting an “author attitude” of WOOT, from The Author Training Manual.

This clever acronym suggests five attitudes for successful writers: Read More→

How to Make Yourself Blog When You Just Don’t Feel Like Blogging

bigstock boom 400058381 300x216 How to Make Yourself Blog When You Just Dont Feel Like BloggingHere’s a tip for how to make yourself write a blog post when you’re totally uninspired. Use other people’s inspiration to motivate you.

For example, take a look at what you’re reading on the Web right now. If it’s good enough to catch your interest, maybe you can use that spark to create something new for your readers?

Here’s how I went from barely awake blog procrastination to publishing this morning.

You can tell a lot about a person just by reading the titles of the web pages they’ve got open. Right now I’m reading posts on Harvard Business Review:

  1. “How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want to”
  2. “The Daily Routines of Geniuses”
  3. “Stop Trying to Control People or Make Them Happy”

And one on Hubspot: “12 Inspirational Writing Tips from History’s Greatest Authors.” Read More→

Better Blog Writing: Getting Hooked by Your Own Hook

MagneticHeadlines 300x225 Better Blog Writing: Getting Hooked by Your Own HookIt must have been the coffee. But there I was at 5 a.m. looking for a “hook,” a magnetic headline that would draw readers into my client’s blog like bees to honey. The client needed a post that day, and I needed to write and edit what she’d given me quickly. After all, my morning tennis partners were waiting for me.

Eureka! I cried as I found a cleverly compelling hook, saved my post as a draft and ran off to the tennis courts. Only, when I returned to the office two hours later, my client had a left a message, “Uh, …it’s great except for the headline and lead. Call me back.”

I blame it on the coffee. The hook was indeed inspiring, only it had little to do with the message my client was trying to convey. But a little caffeine and dopamine in the brain can fool you into thinking your writing’s great – and never mind it’s missing the point. Read More→

Creative Work, Blogging, Writing and Resistance

bigstock D White People Antivirus Pro 43001323 300x218 Creative Work, Blogging, Writing and ResistanceEver get stuck? Everyone encounters resistance when it comes to blogging, writing, and creative work. It’s so easy to give in, isn’t it? When it comes to doing work – putting words on the page… or electrons on a screen – you can’t escape getting stuck.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a scientist, blogger, CEO or rock star. Work requires you to actually do something. When you sit down to do it (or stand up, whatever), you experience stuckness – a state of mental morass punctuated by mind chatter and an inability to move. Read More→

Bloggers Block? How to Get Your Creative Writing Mojo Back

Bloggers Block 239x300 Bloggers Block? How to Get Your Creative Writing Mojo BackEver get stuck with blogger’s block? Can’t get a spark of creativity going? Fingers just lay there on the keyboard like wet noodles… How can you get your creative writing going again?

Finding yourself in the horror of a creation-less void is never good. Your mind empties of anything that seems worthy of being said, and you feel helpless.

Writer’s and blogger’s block is a completely natural event experienced by writers, usually as a side-effect of writing for a deadline. Everyone has experienced it, and it’s not uncommon to panic a bit when it happens.

Here are some suggestions from a writer who’s been around the block…

Read Read More→

Content Marketing Adventures in Mexico: Stuck on My Own Roof

IMG 0428 300x225 Content Marketing Adventures in Mexico: Stuck on My Own RoofI’ve got a Mardi Gras parade dancing down my street right now, in my sleepy little village of Ajijic, near Guadalajara in Mexico. It happens three or four times a year, always because of religious fiestas: the whole village dresses in costumes on floats with music blaring as loud as possible.

It’s so loud it’s hard to think. I couldn’t finish my content marketing project for a client, so to get a good view, I went up on my roof to watch. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

And it was great… until I wanted to come down. I realized that dropping over one roof top ledge to another is easy enough. Not so when you’ve got to go back up and over the ledge and it’s just out of reach. Read More→

Expert Ebooks: Relax and Write

Suit and Tie Writing 225x300 Expert Ebooks: Relax and WriteIf you want to write well, you’ve got to strip down and get real: write relaxed. Nobody wants to read an expert ebook if your words are wearing a three-piece suit and a tightly buttoned shirt and tie.

Too many executives who want to write an expert ebook are in love with syllables, syntax and sycophants. When you write words to impress, you don’t write well. You don’t impress.

Instead, relax and write. Take off the tie, relax and write as authentically as possible using words any high school student can understand. You’ll impress many more people and get your message heard by those who actually need your wisdom.

Highly educated readers can sniff out academic or business jargon and won’t be impressed but simply annoyed. Even geniuses like things spelled out for them in clear language. Leave them some room to think about big ideas, not wade through your big words.

I’m not suggesting “dumbing down.” It actually takes intelligence to write clearly so that anyone can understand.

Less educated readers like being invited to understand complexities with easily accessible words and sentences. Don’t leave them out by using insider terms, acronyms, and cryptic allusions.

In the work I do with executive coaches and consultants, they often become so entrenched in industry-specific business jargon, they aren’t clear to a global audience of working people. When seasoned professionals want to write their book, what may seem common sense to them isn’t clear to the world at large.

This is where an experienced editor and writing coach can help. Often, the pre-work to writing an ebook hasn’t been done.

What I call the “pre-work” to writing an expert ebook is becoming clear not only about the desired message, but clear about who you’re are writing for:

  • Who are your readers?
  • What problem or pain can you fix?
  • How will you change your readers’ lives for the better?
  • What’s in it for them?
  • What’s your message and what do you want them to do?

If you’d like to learn more, I’ve prepared a 10-question worksheet that will help you get started writing your expert ebook. You can get it (free) by going to www.Ebooks4Experts.com and requesting it.

2 Writing Tips for Expert Ebooks from TED Talks

TED 300x129 2 Writing Tips for Expert Ebooks from TED TalksI’m a big fan of the 20-minute video talks from experts on TED.com.

Just think about this: If more people wrote expert ebooks like these riveting presentations, their books would be easier to read and deliver more memorable information. In this post, I suggest a couple of writing tips culled from these great presentations.

In case you’re not familiar with TED.com, here’s the skinny. Originally focusing on technology, entertainment and design—hence, the initials—TED Talks feature remarkable experts in diverse fields with revolutionary ideas.

TED Talks are truly inspiring. As some of the most viewed speakers in the world, they showcase their high-level presentation skills—a seamless blend of intelligence, entertainment and persuasion.  These speakers provide jaw-dropping stories you’ll be talking about for weeks.

TED’s growing global audience is testimony to the success of their mission, “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Since June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online. Read More→

Easy to Make Ebook and Blog Writing Mistakes

Writing Pen 300x200 Easy to Make Ebook and Blog Writing Mistakes

Here’s why it’s so easy to make these common ebook and blog writing mistakes:

Many small business professionals with a business blog are keenly interested in getting their message out there, and don’t care so much in writing “properly.”

Younger people, in particular, like to write like they talk. Speech can be a great way to convey personality. It’s more like jazz rather than a sonata.

When people use a lot of verbal expressions in online content, however, their readers have to work harder to understand the message.

Blog writing with a conversational tone is good for connecting with people, for sure. You should, however, make a concerted effort to follow grammar and writing rules that make your blog easier to read. Read More→

Expert Ebooks: Getting Reader Research Right

Research Readers 300x225 Expert Ebooks: Getting Reader Research RightI’ve been sharing about how to start your expert ebook project right, by being clear about who your readers are and what they most want to know.

How should you go about reader research? For example, if you wanted to know how seniors are using the Internet, you could look at the Pew Research site.

How else can you research your readers so that you get this important first step right: How do you focus your expert ebook content on readers’ frustrations and challenges by discovering what those are?

The truth is it doesn’t matter how much of an expert you are or how much you know about your field. You still need to research beyond what you already know or assume.

Don’t skip researching your readers simply because you already have 20-30 years of working with people like them. I don’t care if you’ve got a Nobel Prize in Economics.

Do you think Daniel Kahnemann rests on his ground-breaking work in Behavioral Economics? No, he does not. He is continually researching and discovering more about how  theories apply to real people in the real world. His bestselling book Thinking Fast and Slow is written (and priced) for readers, not academics. Read More→