Posts Tagged ‘writing’

I, Like You, Hate To Write

June 26, 2019

Most writers don’t really like to write. Sure, we wax eloquent about the power of the written word but we also have tons of other things we’d rather do – go hiking, shop for a shirt, or even just alphabetize the pantry. Plus every blank page is a new opportunity for paralysis and failure, so that’s awesome too! So we procrastinate. I do, too. Here are a few tricks I’ve come up with to help me turn delay… into delightful!

  1. Be clear on what the deliverable is, precisely. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer size and magnitude of a topic, but it’s almost always the case that the final deliverable is more limited and focused than you imagined. Be clear on what the client wants then deliver only that (display excess only in the speed and quality of your work).
  2. Break your writing deliverable into smaller bits. If you have 800 words due in a week, set your goal to write 200 words a day for 4 days, then reserve the final three days for editing. That way you’re only panicked about 200 words rather than 800. Big difference.
  3. PROTIP: Writing is re-writing. Don’t try to make it awesome in the first draft – just get something, anything down on paper, with the knowledge that you’ll go back and edit for clarity, brevity, and impact. No one has to see your first draft but yourself, so give yourself permission to be awful.
  4. Make writing pleasant. Choose a time of day to write when you’re most relaxed and productive (for me, it’s early morning while the day is young, the air is cool, and the coffee is fresh); find a place that is quiet and free of distractions; pour yourself a refreshing beverage, open a bag of pretzels or pistachios (if your premium time is later in the day, perhaps even a bracingly bitter IPA); and choose an inspiring Pandora radio station or some other music hosting site.

I don’t ever want to sugarcoat the process of writing and suggest it’s easier than it is. But by applying just a few strategies like these you can overcome inertia and get that writing job done.

ACTION ITEM: Add these new approaches to the mix when writing

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Table Read

June 21, 2019

I mentioned in one of my very recent posts that I’d auditioned for a minor role in a local film production (working title, “Shutdown”, part of the “Through The Lens” film series here in Nevada County). Here I am (second from left in the black ball cap) reading lines with the other actors. I think I did okay (still have the job ;-), but it was pretty intimidating to be working in the presence of gifted, real-life actors. If there’s anything I learned it’s that the more you rehearse the better you get – more relaxed, more nuanced, more convincing. I think the three lessons for anybody hopping up in front of the camera are 1. rehearse, 2. rehearse again, then 3. rehearse a bunch more

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ACTION ITEM: Take a risk today. Stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid… to be a little afraid.

Snow Bikes

March 5, 2019

I collect vintage Honda motorcycles and sometimes have to leave them outside, under cover. But this latest storm blew the covers off and topped the bikes in a fluffy blanket. Brrrrr!Snow Bike

ACTION ITEM: Stay warm

Suggestion Boxed In

February 6, 2018

Oh. Well then. Never mind.

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ACTION ITEM: As Mr. Rogers would say, look for the helpers

Choose Big Numbers or One Story, But Maybe Not Both

August 30, 2017

Singularity Effect vs. Psychic Numbing. Really interesting Vox article about our collective inability to feel empathy for addressing a problem when the number of characters in the story grows from one to two to 20 million. Make the numbers big and you lose a significant amount of engagement. Choose to communicate data or an anecdote – probably best to avoid trying both.

ACTION ITEM: Can you break your story, such as a use case, down into more relatable numbers, perhaps a personal anecdote told from the perspective of an individual? Or can you offer the solution to a smaller subset of a larger challenge so it seems more relatable – and achievable?

 

Officially Tired of Summer

August 23, 2017

Every year, right about this time, I am officially and thoroughly done with summer. I do not like heat, sun, sweat, or sand – yeah, I’m a real delight at the beach 😉

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ACTION ITEM: I work hard – really hard – throughout the summer to see the brighter side of my least-favorite season. Such as cool mornings, outside on the deck, with a cup of coffee.

Brian Hamilton on Working With Bill Rolland

June 30, 2017

Brian Hamilton, Editor of The Union newspaper (online at www.theunion.com), on the experience of being interviewed by Bill Rolland, especially setting the speaker at ease.

Hutnuggers

June 28, 2017

I get that skinny jeans are popular with the youngish set, especially in colors found nowhere in nature. But what I don’t get is 1. how do you not come down with DVT every time you squeeze into a pair and 2. fergawdsakes, how do you squeeze into a pair? Serious question – do you wet them first, hope they expand a bit, then blow-dry snug? Please – I really want to know.

That About Nails It

June 12, 2017

 Coffee last Thursday with documentary filmmaker Mike Bloebaum who used to work with such legends as Irwin Rosten and Nicolas Noxon. Like me, he approaches every project with amazing enthusiasm and devotion – but the moment it’s over it’s completely forgotten, almost like it didn’t happen. Bloebaum says that Noxon called it “temporary enthusiasm”, which is a perfect description of every day of every job I’ve ever done.

In Which I Manage To Embarrass Not Only Myself But My Wife Also Too As Well

June 9, 2017

Lisa was able to join me recently on a job near Walnut Creek, CA. – later we joined friends for dinner downtown. While waiting for them to arrive, we relaxed in the lounge with a cocktail. She ordered a Cosmo while I asked for an Old Fashioned. The bartender insisted I try using boogers in my drink. Boogers. Now I’m pretty open minded, and when it comes to cocktails, always ready to try something new. But dude, seriously, boogers? BOOGERS? Not happening. Uh-uh, no way/no how, never, never, never…

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(bartender shows me bottle) Oh. Never mind.

 


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