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Stuck With Writing? Ease Yourself Off the Ledge With The Simple Tips

Phyllis Capanna writing tips

Jenny sat on the couch staring out the window at the falling snow, her fingers resting idly on the keyboard of her laptop, which was warm and humming slightly. Jenny shook her head and turned to gaze at the document on her screen. She sighed. Never had a piece of writing been quite this stubborn. It had all seemed so straightforward–and exciting!–in her head before she sat down to write. She yawned. Could she possibly justify calling it quits without doing a single thing on this article?

There’s almost nothing as quietly mortifying as hitting that big, fat blank wall inside your head while writing something that had sounded like a great idea–right before you started writing it.

There are some good reasons why you, like Jenny,  might be staring at the blank page. For one thing, while you initial idea may be a good one, there’s a chance you haven’t thought it all the way through. What point are you intending to make? What do you want your reader to feel or do after reading our piece?

Second, you may be falling prey to a common pitfall: Trying to write a finished piece your first time through. The reason this doesn’t work is these are two different kinds of writing. Get-it-down writing quickly sketches your ideas–maybe in the wrong order, maybe not clearly described, and quite possibly misspelled. The task here is to capture the ideas.

Constructing writing is where you actually build your piece. You look at the order in which you want to present your ideas, the metaphors or teaching stories you want to use, the voice and tone, the point of view. This is where you decide which tools to use to present your ideas. And these may have spelling errors, too.

If you confuse the two, you will be searching for the exact right phrase or metaphor before you’ve gotten down the whole idea and made decisions about tone and language. Part of you will know it’s too early to commit to a certain wording, but part of you wants to cut down on errors. Once you learn to trust the get-it-down stage, and stop worrying about mistakes at this point, you will find yourself doing much less staring at a stubborn piece of writing.

Here are some quick tips to get you out of your writing rut, and, depending on your style of creating, the order can vary.

6 Tips For Getting Unstuck While Writing Your First Draft

  1. Write the most obvious thing first. Just put it down. You know how it is: You’re thinking this one thought or phrase, and you keep pushing it aside because you know or think you know, there’s a much better way to say it, a brilliant way…. Stop pushing it away and writing it down.

2. Ask questions on the page. As you’re going along, if you get to a stuck place where you don’t know what to say, ask a question. “How do people in Antartica celebrate Christmas, Jenny?” “What happened next?” “What do you think about that, Jenny?”

3. Don’t get caught up in transitional sentences, introductory sentences, summation sentences and all of that stuff. Don’t worry about the order or what goes with what at this stage. Just get it down.

4. Use an outline or a mind map if your piece is bigger, or you’re having trouble making it cohesive. This can also be useful if you’re stuck for how to make parts of it make sense, or if you’re wavering on your main idea. Switch over to sticky notes and a big piece of cardboard or a whiteboard, and jot down your main ideas, then play around with them spatially and see how they relate to each other. Keep playing around with them until you see something you didn’t see before, or until your original idea is validated.

5. Talk out loud or tell a friend about your piece. Sometimes you find yourself saying things in words that you couldn’t access through the pen or fingers alone. And if you tell a friend, you let a little bit of air and light into your topic. This can help you understand it in a broader context than the space between your ears (where all your ideas make perfect sense!)

Takeaway: It’s much easier to edit than it is to write a perfect first draft. The most important thing is to get something down on paper.

Personally, I like to plan my pieces. If I can’t answer the question, “What is my main point or message?” then I won’t be able to wrap up my piece or have direction in stuck places. Most of the time when I’m stuck, it’s either this or I’m trying to be fancy when plain will do.

Action Step: Take a piece of writing you are stuck on, and ask yourself, what are my main points? What do I want the reader to walk away with? What do I have to do, say, show, tell to get them there?

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How to Give Hugs On Social Media: Responding to Tragedy

responding to tragedy on social media

The timing couldn’t be worse: You’re just about to hit Share to publish your latest blog post touting “Tips for Wellness” on social media when a notification interrupts you with breaking news of a mass tragedy. Responding to tragedy on social media was not in your public relations plan for this week.

What to do?

The options are:

1. Share anyway, because…life goes on and maybe no one will notice the timing.

2. Wait on it and do nothing

3. Craft a statement responding to the tragedy and post that on your page instead of, or in addition to, your blog post.

If you decide on option #3, how exactly would you respond to the tragedy on social media?

As a business, it’s probably a good idea to develop a policy or guiding principles to help you navigate how you present your public face with regard to world events. And this is an excellent time to revisit your core values, as well as your vision and mission.

These are the guiding principles I use. And I think it’s also important to share that I am constantly reviewing and refining these, as my comfort level changes with who I am, what my business is, what my role is in regard to the public, and who I am communicating with.

This will be a little theoretical, so if you’re in a hurry, here’s the take-away:

When deciding how to address world events publicly in your business, ask yourself these questions before you post what you’re thinking of posting: “Do I have something constructive to add that is consistent with my business values and the services I offer? What are the intended result(s) for my audience from reading this? Have I given my audience something constructive to take away?”

In Responding to Tragedy on Social Media, Client-Centered Is Still True North

Clients’ needs are still the right focal point for organizing your communications, even when the stress of current events calls you to drop your guard and show your humanity for the sake of creating more beauty, gentleness and peace in the world.

From this starting point, these are some ideas to consider when developing your own policy for responding to crisis events publicly.

Be the Town Square

After a tragedy, we crave connection sometimes to an intense degree.

I still remember the nurse who hugged me after telling me I was pregnant, and said, “It’s okay to cry or shout or something!” as I stood there in stunned, numbed silence.

How did she know to do that? She was just being herself. It’s okay to do that in our response to tragedy, too. By responding with warmth, by reaching out and encouraging others to express themselves, and by modeling compassion, we become a place where coming together can happen. That’s what those long comment threads on Facebook are, aren’t they? The social media equivalent of people pouring out of their houses and hugging in the town square.

Be Generous

In hard times, it’s useful to simply ask yourself, “What might my clients need right now?”

This might lead you to share strategies you yourself use to deal with stress and its fall-outs. You can offer your unique take, hopeful or redemptive story of overcoming or surviving, or simply model to your people the sensitivity and compassion that everyone craves during these times.

You may have to dig deep and ask yourself some hard questions. What business values are violated or challenged by world events, and what is your official response to them? What personal philosophy or beliefs help you cope when others are struggling? What beliefs, values or ideas do you see are causing others added pain that you can point out and help to heal or reframe? How is it possible for someone to go on living, learning, serving, caring for themselves and working toward their dreams in the face of such uncertainty and fear? Any answers you can give to these questions will at least serve to show your clients you are grappling with the same things they are.

Be Constructive

Everyone feels the need to do something constructive and helpful after a crisis but are often at a loss for ideas. This is where you lead by example and invite your clients to join you.

Brendon Burchard’s heartfelt response after the Las Vegas tragedy served as his personal reflections, encouragement and acknowledgement of his followers, and he used the occassion to inaugurate a yearlong practice of writing a Love Letter every Sunday. You can read the entire Love Letter #1 here. 

So, to all those who have remained positive, hopeful, and faithful despite it all, this is a love letter to you.

To those who remember to seek first to understand, this is a love letter to you.

To those who practice those simple but great acts of kindness, this is a love letter to you.

To those who care enough to hold your opinion until you have carefully studied, this is a love letter to you.

To the volunteers, the loving parents, the servant leaders, this is a love letter to you.

We appreciate you.

And we need you now more than ever.

To all, trust this:

The future holds good things for you, and you are stronger than you think.

Remember that most people are very good and kind and working hard for their families.

Take time to appreciate the positive, to speak the positive, to share hopeful dreams, to cheer on others, to embrace those you love, to be thankful.

Listen to that hope in your soul that is asking you to have reverence for life, and to be an even more thoughtful and loving human now.

We can choose to feel anger and perpetuate negativity and hate. Or we can choose to seek peace, to inspire others by remaining positive, to always live through love and service to a higher cause.

I leave Las Vegas inspired because I met so many hopeful fans in the airport. They said they know there is darkness. And so they want to be a light.

And so let us be luminous now, conscious now, tender now.

Be Human

You could think of vulnerability as the special sauce in the nurse’s decision to hug me. What happened in that brief moment is that she breached the professional divide to reach out, human to human. This willingness to be vulnerable and real is, I believe, the one thing that separates the generic from the truly masterful communication during stressful times.

SARK’s response to the Las Vegas shootings exemplifies this. For her followers it was exponentially more poignant, because they know that she recently was married and then widowed in the space of a few months.

“Whatever your expressions are, or aren’t, is okay. Just know that you can and do imagine, and that your imagination is a tremendous gift. It moves beyond thoughts and prayers and joins with the people experiencing whatever the thing is. Your imagination also connects you to action, and action creates new things.

If we all take new actions, we will cause change. It may not arrive soon enough to be satisfying, or even in our lifetime, but it will arrive. So let your prayers, thoughts and energy move you to do something you haven’t done before, and don’t assess that it’s “not enough.” The only not enough is no-thing.

DO SOMETHING.

REPEAT.

We all live in a moving illusion that everything and everyone will stay the same, and be safe, all while we absolutely know that at some point that they will not.”

Brief is okay, too

It’s also okay to be brief and warm. On day 2 of the California wildfires, I simply posted, “My heart goes out to all those affected by the wildfires in California.”

Responding to Tragedy on Social Media Presents Us With an Opportunity to Lead

As owners of wellness-related businesses, we really should have a response to these tragic events. Our business–and our reason for being in business–is highly relevant to bringing healing and health to those who need it. Events like these create an opportunity for us to be leaders, as our customers and friends look for solace and meaning in the aftermath.

It’s never a wrong time to show kindness, be generous, reveal your sensitivity, and be a humanizing factor in your clients’ news feeds and inboxes, and you don’t have to wait for upsetting world events to start. You can do that now.

Warmly,

Phyllis

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Blogging As Easy As After School With the Top Down

blogging holistic entrepreneur

Biology Lab: The Bane of My High School Existence

Remember single-celled organisms? My world shifted a little the day in 10th grade biology when I learned that there are creatures that survive with just one cell. As I sat laboring over my lab notes in that weird, notebook with the shiny pages, my #2 pencil creasing the page, I couldn’t help but notice how much work that single-celled organism was causing me.

And that seemed to capture everything about life that I hated. There I was writing up a bio lab, when I was yearning with my whole body to be out on the open road with the top down, going who-knows-where, fast.

It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s someone else’s priority, it’s onerous.

Maybe that was the birth of my entrepreneurial streak, hating to be told what to do. I don’t know about you, but if it isn’t my idea, I chafe a little.

And if it isn’t my idea but it’s required for my business and I don’t know how, which means I have a new thing to learn how to do, that’s going to take valuable time and I can possibly fail at repeatedly until I master it, I can develop a bad attitude.

Blogging: The Biology Lab of Entrepreneurship

I’ve listened as dozens of busy entrepreneurs bemoan the necessity of blogging. They talk about it as if it’s some arcane process that requires hours of doing what they hate the most: staring at a blank page.

If you’re like me, you don’t have hours, and you aren’t all that keen on learning a new skill on a Sunday afternoon after a week of keeping a business running. Maybe you even work on Sundays.

“I’ve got to put something on my website,” you say. “It’s embarrassing!” Yes, it is a shame to be one of those people who has a lot to offer the right clients and not one word of your brilliance reflected on that empty section called, “Blog.”

You’re right, you gotta put something there. What you want there are helpful, pertinent, smart, short essays that show potential clients who you are and how you can help them. And perhaps most importantly, you want these potential clients to be moved to reach out to you from the short, smart, useful essay they just read.

Take heart! It can be simple. I guarantee you are over-complicating it. So put away your #2 pencil and that annoying little lab notebook, and listen up.

Takeaway: Once you master this simple blog post format , your can use it every time you write.

 

Why Consistency is a Win-Win-Win

Using the same format every time is NOT cheating. It’s smart, and here’s why:

  1. Consistency builds trust with your potential clients. When you use the same format consistently, your readers know what’s coming next, which makes it easy for them to navigate your ideas and to feel that they know you.
    2. Search engines favor sites that update 
    regularly over static ones, so your readers have a better chance of finding you.

3. When you use the same format each time,  you master it. That saves you time and makes you more skillful.

So, How Do You Do It?

  1. Take a problem/need/desire/situation your ideal client faces that moves them to seek your help or expertise. Create a topic from that. See last week’s post for examples of this.

2. Create an emotional connection by including a story that illustrates the impact or importance of this problem to your client. You can use a famous story, a client story, a personal story or a made up composite story.

3. Give at most 3 tips/tricks/techniques/caveats/reframes that your client can use that provide an immediate if tiny shift.

4. Highlight a takeaway message. (Your reader can skip to this and still get benefit from your post.)

5. Inspire your reader to take 1 action that will make a difference. This can be a small step contained in one of your tips tools in #3.

6. Include a call to action, the next step for your reader to take to stay connected with you. Sign up for a newsletter, download a free guide, make a comment, connect with social media, share or forward to a friend, enroll in a class, make an appointment.

That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Try it now. Pick a topic and write just the answers to the above steps. Sketch it out. Don’t worry about complete sentences at this point.

One More Thought

What if someone had written your introductory paragraphs, tips, tricks, caveats and reframes, and had worded the 6 blog post parts in 10 different ways, so you could mix and match, fill in the blanks and have your posts easily written in less than half the time it takes you now?

Yep, you guessed it, I have! And I’m excited to share them with you. They will be published in December, just in time to give yourself a giant gift for the holidays. If you’d like to be among the first to have access to my Ridiculously Simple Blog Post Templates, please join my tribe. You’ll receive my Ridiculously Simple Tips newsletter, as well as info courses, masterclasses and everything else I create to help you connect with your people more easily. By following this link, you’ll receive my Ridiculously Simple Guide to Writing for Your People when you sign up!

Now go put the top down!

Phyllis

[a 40 minute blog post.]

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

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A Simple Formula for Posting Regular Blog Posts Without Overwhelm

[Part 3 in the Series: Get Started With Blogging for holistic practitioners, entrepreneurs and healers. Read Part 1. and Part 2.]

The Infinite Unknown of Blog Posts

Are you struggling with how big, complex and unending it seems to create and publish blog posts? I know how it is. For years I would get to that day of the week and realize with a sense of dread, “Oh no! I have to come up with a blog post!” And the inevitable, “What am I going to write about?”

If you love to write, you try stream of consciousness, hoping that something coalesces, but you’re still not sure what will connect with your intended audience. I hated not knowing what to write so much that I would miss my own deadline, which only made my blog even less appealing and useful to my readers. And if you don’t love to write, you’ll skip all the writing and go right to avoidance.

Avoiding doesn’t work. Neither does stream of consciousness mixed with hope. Not even very advanced, pure hope.

What does work is having a plan. (I’ve been taking you through this process in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, so read up on them to be up so this part makes sense to you.)

How Often To Post?

I suggest committing to one blog post every other week. Consistency actually matters more than frequency. If you want to do one every week, fine, but don’t commit to it until you know that you can spend 1 hour or less on writing the post. And if you follow my method, you will get there, probably within a couple of weeks.

For the record, 1 post every other week for the year comes out to 26 blog posts. Voila! No longer infinite and endless.

Here’s how to complete that first step:

From your list of problems, create a list of topics.

Stretch your list to 26 topics.

Examples

  1. Problem your ideal client has: Afraid to meet new people after life-changing breakup.
  • Topic: How to overcome your fear and enjoy meeting new people again.

2. Problem your ideal client has: Migraines interfering with taking care of baby.

  • Topic: Tips for minimizing your migraine’s impact on mothering.
Pro Tip #1

Don’t worry about getting the exact wording right now. Just do enough that you’ll know what you mean and can retrieve the info from your brain when the time comes to write it.

Shorthand example

  1. Problem: Afraid to meet new people. Topic: Meeting new people.

2. Problem: Migraines screw up mothering. Topic: Migraines and mothering

Pro Tip #2

When you do it this way, you can easily see that some topics can be 2- or 3-part blog posts.

Next steps

The very next thing to do is to make sure you download the Topic Teaser Worksheet, because it also walks you through creating tips and super-tips for success for each of the problems you’ve identified. And with that, you’ll be over half the way toward creating blog posts easily and efficiently that connect with your readers, add value, and encourage engagement.

Bonus
The 1st 3 people to download the Topic Teaser get a free half hour with me, and together we’ll get you to 26 topics.

[a 33 minute blog post]

Next: Anatomy of a Blog Post

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How To Master the Most Important Blog Topics

blog topics holistic entrepreneurs

[Part 2 in the Series: Get Started With Blogging for holistic entrepreneurs. Read Part 1. ]

What are blog topics holistic entrepreneurs can always win with?

By far, the most frequentyly asked question holistic entrepreneurs ask when they’re getting started with blogging, is, “What should I write about?” It can be so discouraging to repeatedly face the empty page, where the dreaded, mythical blog posts you should be churning out with superhuman regularity refuse to materialize.

Like anything that hangs over our heads under the “should” category, this un-done task drains our energy, leaving us feeling uneasy: What if we’re missing something essential for our business?

Even worse, we have so much to offer, we don’t know where to begin. How do we organize our information? What if we misrepresent or over-simplify something that’s more art than science? How do we know what we say will really connect with our readers and attract the right people to our business?

What you want, and what we all need for our businesses to flow smoothly and to avoid spending hours creating blog posts, is a simple system for generating relevant, powerful blog topics that appeal to your ideal clients. We want to attract these clients to our practice by showing them, first and foremost, that we get them and that we can help.

Client Problems, Needs and Desires are the Key to Clarity

The blog topics holistic entrepreneurs can always write about are endless once you learn to think about it clearly. The simplest way I’ve found to generate this list is also a great way to be organized and clear with your blogging. And that’s to use client problems, needs and desires as your central organizing idea-set. Everything else you write about comes from this central focus.

Because, trust me, they don’t care what you do nearly as much as you or I do. They just want to feel better, do better, and be better.

In fact, I am seeing someone right now whose methods I don’t understand at all. But he’s helped me heal my thyroid, and that’s what I went to him for. Admittedly, I was looking for someone outside the dominant medical model, and he’s known to be that, but as for understanding or even naming what he does, it’s not uppermost in my list of needs.

Blog topics holistic entrepreneurs

So How Do We Do This?

Last week I asked you to make a list of typical client problems. What you can do now, and from now on is to keep a running list, so that every time you have a conversation with a client or potential client, you go to your list and make sure you have noted the problems that came up that you can solve.

Be sure to include typical things your clients say, including things that may not seem entirely related to what you help them with. These can be important clues to extended problems: The things that happen in your client’s life as a result of their primary problems. For example, say Client A has back pain. So that’s one problem. How does this affect her life? Well, for one, she shies away from spending time with her toddler grandson, because he’s a handful, and she can’t easily keep up with him. That’s Problem #2. Now suppose that when you talk with her, or someone like her, and they reference their back pain, they always make some kind of remark about getting old.

So now we have 3 possible takes on 1 primary problem: Back pain itself; back pain impacting important relationships, roles and activities; and back pain and how it affects self-image and plays into fear of aging ungracefully.

Do you see now how many blog topics holistic entrepreneurs can tease out of one issue their clients struggle with by spending a little time digging into it?

Get your free copy of my Topic Teaser Worksheet 

If you spend some time with this, focusing on your ideal clients’ problems, needs and desires, you will have made a great start with your blogging topics.

Tips for Success

  • Get really granular with your clients’ problems: If they have this problem (Problem A), then what ELSE is a problem for them? (Problem B). Put yourself in their shoes. How does this make them feel, about life, about work, relationships and money, about themselves?
  • Make sure you keep it in their terms, not yours. You may know their meridians are imbalanced, but all they know is they can’t stop eating potato chips and gaining weight. (And to refer to Tip #1: If they have weight gain from uncontrolled eating, do they also have a wardrobe that doesn’t fit, an out of control grocery bill, discomfort in their own skin, low self esteem, anxiety?)

The Takeaway

It’s not about you. It’s about them. And once you start thinking in terms of their problems, needs and desires, you will have an endless supply of topics for short articles.

One Thing You Can Do Right Now

Start that list! And to make it even juicier, and move you closer to writing a great post, take 10 minutes and jot down your 3 biggest tips, interventions or recommendations for each problem you listed above. 2 tips are fine, too. (Like this post.) Hint: Reframes count as tips.

That’s it. You’re halfway there!

You’re in luck!

The Ridiculously Simple Blogging Course is on sale now!

(for the Ridiculously low price of $97 $47!)

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3 Steps To Empowered Blogging for Holistic Entrepreneurs

blogging for holistic entrepreneurs

Empowered Blogging for Holistic Entrepreneurs Is a Mindset Game

It happened again the other day. Another talented holistic entrepreneur sighed heavily, hung her head a little and confided, “I really should start blogging.”  I cringed at her tone of resignation mixed with guilt-tripping and self flagellation. Why is blogging, for holistic entrepreneurs, such a dreaded business task?

The contrast between her attitude about blogging and her general approach to her business couldn’t have been more stark.

In general her work ethic includes loving to take on challenges, especially when they involve learning something new that will bring more value to her clients and customers.

She loves to serve.

She loves to get out there and meet and greet, even if she’s an introvert. The one thing she can easily talk about is her passion.

So, how did it happen that blogging turned into a dreaded task that my friend was feeling so avoidant of? I wondered. Since I knew that she was perfectly capable of mastering blogging, I went to mindset to find some answers.

Belief #1 : Blogging is a necessary evil.

When I really listen to people who have the hang dog, “I really should start blogging” thing going on, I notice immediately the same expression and body language people use for doing homework or taxes. In other words, it’s seen as a necessary evil.

Let’s break that down.

First, is it necessary?

You may be such a face to face person that you don’t need to write things down, and your practice is full. If that’s the case, don’t mess with success. Let yourself off the hook, and stop the guilt tripping right now. It’s never smart to do something you’re not 100% behind. It just doesn’t make sense to invest the time.

But if you find yourself with a lack of anything to put into people’s hands or wish to refer people to a site that has lots of info and depth, where they can get more value and information, and if you want people from all over the world to be able to find you, then you probably should consider something more than a bare bones website.

The decision is personal, and there is no wrong way to do it.

Next question: Is it evil?

Well, obviously not. But, what’s behind that attitude, the necessary evil attitude? What makes something a task that is either harmful or of wrong intent? A lot of people have an inherent distrust of anthing they read on the Internet, and conversely can’t see a way to come off as sincere with their own content. After all, isn’t it just glorified selling? And why should people believe you?

Belief #2: Blogging is glorified selling.

Here’s a reframe that can make all the difference: Blogging and marketing in general become a lot easier and more congruent with who you are as a person when they’re seen as a service. If you believe in what you do, blogging is a way to let more people know about how they might benefit from your work. That’s it. You leave good information on the table and give people a way to get more, if they choose to, and you’ve made a difference.

Belief #3: Blogging is way too public.

The second thing I hear beneath the surface when I listen to holistic entrepreneurs agonize over the blogging they’re not doing is a fear of being seen and heard in public. And here’s the truth: While it does take courage to write and –gulp– publish on the world wide web, the weird reality is that no one really notices your stuff until they meet you in person or find you on social media or are looking for what you’re writing about. The good news: If they’re looking for what you write about, they might be a good fit as a client. At the very least, they’ll benefit from your thoughts and remember you as a helpful resource.

Remember: “Have to” is not a good way to do anything, including blogging. AND Fear of being seen and heard is not a good reason to avoid blogging. In fact, blogging is a great way to break though that fear and get used to positioning yourself as an expert.

Which brings us to

Belief #4: I will suck at it.

And here’s one more thing I’ve noticed about holistic entrepreneurs who are procrastinating about blogging. They are invariable very comfortable expressing themselves one on one. Which means they enjoy connecting and conversing with people. And they’re uncomfortable and a bit bewildered by the altered dynamics of connecting and conversing with people online. They are so used to picking up cues from the other person and so used to responding to those cues in the moment.

But blogging and other online marketing requiries a whole other skill set. And the idea of accidentally blowing it as they learn this new skill set sends some holistic entrepreneurs into a tailspin of fearful anticipation: “I just know I’m going to suck at it!”

And that tends to bring up another trauma that most people have experienced: The dreaded essay writing assignment in high school. We unconsciously picture the annoying red pencil marks and critical teacher comments that inevitably follow.

Getting ourselves out of the mindset of being critiqued can go a long way toward helping us get started with writing on the web. And the place to start with that is within.

3 Steps to Empowered Blogging

So here’s how to make it easy, if you decide you want to have an online presence. If you want to get your information out there as reference for your existing clients, referrers and others, and if you’re passionate about what you do and the difference you came here to make.

  • Stop using the word “blog.” Start reframing it as posting short, helpful articles to your website. Really, it will make a difference, especially if the word itself is a trigger for you. If it makes you cringe, don’t say it.
  • Reframe this type of communication as a service that you provide your yet-to-be clients. Think of them like the pamphlets you’d find in the waiting room of a physical office.
  • If the idea of positioning yourself as an expert gives you the willies, reframe that, too. Think of how many greeting cards there are. Or candy bars, or health practitioners or grocery stores. Somewhere there are people who need to hear your message and who are looking right now for what you give. Making it easier for them to find you should be a pleasure and a joy, as you anticipate serving them with the skills and heart you bring.

One more step, if you’re game.

For more inspiration and grounded guidance, download my free Ridiculously Simple Guide to Writing for Your People , which goes into a little more detail, but not enough to overwhelm.

Until next time, be good to yourself and enjoy the moment!

 

 

 

 

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Every once in a while I try something new. Not often enough, maybe.

Anyway, I did. And I’m glad I did. Because I love getting freebies, like tastes of h’or deuvres or samples in the grocery store.

So I hope you check out this plethora, this cornucopia of gifts put together by some pretty cool people. The giveaway is for “spiritual entrepreneurs,” but who doesn’t like guided meditations, free sessions, workbooks, etc., especially when you have something creative percolating in your life?

So try these out and see if you don’t find you’ve treated yourself to some self care, right in the middle of the day.

Oh, and I have a product in there, too, the Ridiculously Simple Guide to Writing for Your People is out! So if you struggle with blogging, email newsletters, social media and writing in general, and you need to for your holistic business, check it out, on Page 7. This guide will simplify and demystify the process, so you never have to (blog) again.

Till next time,

 

Top 6 Writing and Publishing Books to Inspire You to Say Yes

Yes to what? Actually, to anything. Anything you love that you want to do, make or be. Yep, anything.

What could be more inspiring than reading about people circumventing corporate control and publishing political and social treatises at their kitchen table? Writing through illness, divorce, boredom and grief to a renewed spirit and fresh outlook? Breaking through clutter, stagnation and poverty to learn how to nurture yourself and your creative spirit on a whole new level? Learning how you–yes, you–right now today could publish your own ebook without spending a cent?

These are about writing, yes. But don’t let that stop you if you are allergic to the topic and the act. Because they are also about having a dream, empowering yourself to be heard, following through on a vision and becoming the best version of yourself, while celebrating your humanity and discovering your interdependence with all of life.

And who doesn’t need a dose of that right about now?

[Note: This page contains affiliate links, which means, if you purchase via one of these links I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.]

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

This is the book that blew it open for me, decades ago, when I was working a ridiculous and sublime temp job and had (weirdly) too much time on my hands. Every element in the story is now gone–the temp job, Wordsworth Bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the desperate search for myself (still seaching but no longer desperate)–except for the writing that I do daily, which is in a very direct way how I came to be writing this post. It’s a workbook and a work-out. If you’re at all interested in how daily writing can transform your life, even if you’re not a writer, read this book.

How To Make Market and Sell Your Ebook–All For Free by Jason Matthews

This is the book that inspired me to publish my own books. It’s the contemporary version of the Publish It Yourself Handbook, below. The book made self-publishing at very, very low cost seem not only appealing but doable and pretty darned smart, too. Why does it matter? Because publishing yourself helps you discover at a deep level who you are as a writer as you navigate each decision and choice, forcing you to come face to face with your purposes in writing and your goals for your book. And that right there is gold, especially for the newbie.

If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland

First published in 1938, this classic will seduce you with its clarity and boldness about writing, authenticity and living. As Ueland says in the text, “whenever I say ‘writing’ in this book, I also mean anything that you love and want to do or make.” There are priceless passages from her writing classes, including a story of a woman who wrote her way out of cold by just showing up and writing despite being sick. I wish I’d known Brenda Ueland. She was a wild woman.

Publish It Yourself: Literary Tradition and How-To (Fourth Revised Edition)

The Publish It Yourself Handbook set me a blaze in the early 1980s when I first came across it. Historical context is necessary to appreciate this book, which may seem tame in comparison to the options available to writers today for self-publishing without leaving your home. But if you’re interested in understanding the long history of literay tradition and gaining a new respect for the power of the written word, read this book. It was the first time I seriously considered a) becoming a publisher and b) buying a printing press.

Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg

The sequel, if you will, to Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind continues the author’s journey of self-discovery seated on a Zen cushion with a pen in her hand (and, I presume, ink on her fingers.) Writing as meditation practice as life. A perfect companion to the Artist’s Way, which also uses a daily practice of writing as its foundation.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Goldberg’s Rules of Writing Practice have a lot in common with the rules of improvisation: don’t think, make mistakes, don’t read back, keep the hand moving, etc. If you follow this method, you will free your writing like nothing else I know. Basically, when you keep you pen on the page, as Goldberg directs, you have two choices: bore yourself to death, or let it rip. Usually, out of desperation, we do the latter. And the results are rich. Find your writing power with this excellent guide.

4 Books About Creativity and 1 From Our Supply of Very Old, Silly Books

I’m trying something new this week, since so many juicy books about creativity have come across my path that my pile of must-reads is in danger of toppling over. Be aware: I’m recommending a bunch of books I haven’t read yet, as well as one I have. But I think you’ll agree they look intriguing. After we’ve both read them, I’d love to compare notes.

[Note: There are affiliate links in this article. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.]

It all started with The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type by Lauren Sapala. I can’t reconstruct the search thread that lead me to it, but when I found it I was thunderstruck. A, that someone could specialize that precisely made the geek in me instantly sit up and take notice. B, that I am an INFJ writer and that is a thing. I went to Ms. Sapala’s web site, and, indeed, she is a writing coach for INFJs. Reading just a little of her info opened my eyes to the idea that the process of creating that is normal to me that I thought was universal, is not.

You ESTPs out there: Is there a creativity book for you, too? Or are a preponderance of writers and creatives INFJs and ENFJs?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I found another, an also-read on Amazon, Blessed Are the Weird: A Manifesto for Creatives, by Jacob Nordby.

The Amazon write-up begins, “The world wants its soul back…” and continues, “This book is for highly sensitive people who have felt out of place in the modern world. It provides a narrative that describes how they fit into a lineage of creatives throughout history, and how their gifts are needed during this precise era of “new renaissance” on Earth.”

With 27,909 followers of Facebook, I think Mr. Nordby might be onto something. Seems I’m a latecomer to the party, but, dang, what a good party! (They talk about embracing your weirdness.) As I often couple the word “soul” with anything about creativity I find myself thinking about, I’ve probably found a kindred spirit here. It’s queued up on my Kindle.

Slight sidetrack: On the theme of personality type, a friend, astrologer Jennie Sheldon White posted this excellent article, which lead me to take an online personality test, which lead to my finding Personality Hacker, and I’m a happy camper with their Car Model. Check it out if you’re interested in personality typing that has a personal growth edge. I’m truly tempted by their INFJ Starter Kit. Why??

Earlier in the summer I attended a talk by poet and novelist Eileen Myles. I fell in love with her diaristic, impressionistic, blunt and bold style. (It helps me to know she’s a Sagittarius to understand her unique and pointed expression. Also her abrupt about-faces in life and in love.) When I was given a copy of Cool For You as a gift from my nearly psychic niece, Mariel Capanna, herself a remarkable artist, I dove in and haven’t quite surfaced. Having heard Myles read her work in that inimitable Cambridge/Boston accent that disarmed me from the moment I arrived as a college freshman, I can hear her voice as I read. I love her sensibility. She is a living creative whose process becomes her art, and it’s fascinating to watch.

Myles’ new book, Afterglow, a Dog Memoir, which chronicles the long decline and death of her beloved dog, will be out in September.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne, is on my list because of some great quotes I got from the book via Goodreads, when I was putting together my Happily Creative webinar. Most of the reviews reference his emphasis on dealing with resistance as a sort of daemon, but the quote I ended up using was about daily practice: “This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings.”

Lastly, I want to mention that in our house there’s an overgrowth of very old books, some of which get read out of curiosity to find out whether they’re worth putting on a bookshelf in one of our antique cottages that we rent out to summer vacationers. By far the star of greatest dubiousness this summer has been The Radio Boys on the Mexican Border by Gerald Breckenridge. Notwithstanding the bizarre echoes of current day memes, such as derogatory cultural stereotypes about Latin Americans, this was a groaner of a read for many other reasons. A group of privileged white boys, passive voice throughout, recapping the plot just about every chapter, and not a surprise to be had.

Written in 1922 when radio telephony was a new and exciting technology, The Radio Boys on the Mesican Border is one of a series of poorly written books about privileged white boys. Yippee! The good news is, when something’s so bad that it gets the two of us giggling at our own unison groans and singing out the word “chum!” each time it appears in the text, it’s worth the time spent on it. There is no link to this one; if you want our copy, it’s yours.