Your Right to Be Wrong

For a long time I used to think being “right” was a big deal. I had to say the right thing at the right time, know the right people, read the right books, live in the right neighborhood…

I did all this not because I wanted to, but because I thought it was a prerequisite for success.

If you want other people to respect you, then you have to look and sound a certain way, right? Makes sense, if conformity is all you’ve ever been taught.

What no one tells you is the price you must pay for this. Yes, conformity gains you a certain type of approval from others, but it comes at the cost of losing your sense of self.

You have to systematically search out everything that’s a little bit “off” about you and bury it as deep as you can. You know that you can’t get rid of it — it’s a part of you, after all — but maybe you can hide it so deep that no one will ever see it, so that a world that only respects the “right” will never realize how “wrong” you really are.

Maybe, just maybe, you can fool everyone until you’re in a position of power and no one’s opinion matters anymore. Then you can be free. Right?

Umm… no. Continue reading “Your Right to Be Wrong”

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50 Ways to Become a Better Blogger

Do you want to become a better blogger? Silly question, eh.

In that case, I’ve got some great news. The best way to become a better blogger is to blog. And to keep blogging.

If this blogging thing is difficult and frustrating, then you must force yourself to do it, and do it, and do it, until you get better at it.

As bloggers we have to produce words daily – even when we don’t feel like it. Even replying to comments or e-mails is a good way to enhance one’s creativity.

Then there are a number of thing we can do to become better at this blogging thing. Quite a few of them… Continue reading “50 Ways to Become a Better Blogger”

Are You a Blogger or Just Blogging?

Here’s a harsh truth for you: blogging is a bit like sports. Anyone can do it, but few can do it at a professional level.

And while hardly anybody with an ounce of sanity who takes up tennis or golf thinks they’ll eventually turn pro at it, just about everyone who starts a blog, or is secretly writing a novel, all of them are dreaming of hitting it big somehow.

This is a brave new world: anyone can do it, just push a button and you’re out there. Suddenly everybody is blogging, and they all wish this was what they’d be doing as a job.

But there’s a big difference between blogging and being a blogger.

Read on to find out.

Continue reading “Are You a Blogger or Just Blogging?”

What’s Your Purpose?

When you sit down to write a blog post, what’s your purpose?

Are you just trying to fill space so your blog doesn’t go more than 24 hours without being updated?

Are you interested in promoting a product, or convincing your reader to buy something?

Are you trying to express yourself through your blog, and make a meaningful statement?

Are you trying to educate your readers on a topic?

Are you trying to provoke discussion?

When you write a blog post, you need to know why you’re writing. Every one of the reasons for writing above (with the possible exception of the first one) is legitimate.

Why is it important to have a purpose for your blog writing? There are at least three reasons: Continue reading “What’s Your Purpose?”

The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language

 

If you think about it, writing is just like building a house. You need the right tools, the right equipment, the right set of skills.

You need to first have a design, to follow a blueprint. Then you build your house. Brick by brick. Word by word.

And there are certain words that hold more sway over us than others. You might be surprised to find that these “power words” don’t seem … well, all that powerful.

This speaks to just how efficient they are. Simple language is an often overlooked aspect of writing words that matter.

I also believe that it’s important to know WHY these words are powerful, and how they influence the person who is reading them, so as to best use them.

Continue reading “The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language”

Write Like Yourself

Let’s face it: most people can’t write their way out of a paper bag. Further, most bloggers are boring, most journalists are so heavily edited that any personality they’ve added to a story has long since been weaned out by the editorial process.

I want to let you in on a secret, though: it’s not really that people are boring, but that too many have been taught that you shouldn’t write the same way you talk. I blame our educational system, actually, with those 5th grade teachers who drilled us on adverbs, pronouns and the minutia of grammar, coupled with too many boring, tedious academic books that we all suffered through while in college.

Instead, I suggest to you that the best way to write clear, coherent, engaging and enjoyable content is to write the way you speak, to recognize your spoken voice and pour it out onto the virtual page of your computer screen and weblog. Continue reading “Write Like Yourself”

Information Overload: Avoid It Like The Plague

We live in the information age. And it’s being dumped on us by the truckload. Three pounds of stuff in the mailbox a day. Hundreds of TV channels, streaming services, etc. to binge on. 623 e-mail messages selling male enhancement pills.

And that’s only a fraction of the information that bombards us. There are billboards along the highway, news broadcasts on the radio, newspapers, bills, books, seminars, random conversations at lunch time, business meetings, it never ends.

This information overload is felt even when you walk into the supermarket cereal aisle and have to choose from about 200 boxes screaming with bright colors and promises of low fat and high fiber, when all you want is lots of sugar and a cool little plastic prize or something like that.

Kinda of makes you dizzy, right? Continue reading “Information Overload: Avoid It Like The Plague”

Blogger’s Block? Here’s How to Beat it

Too many of your posts start with an apology for not having been around of late? The joy you first brought to blogging now a distant memory?

Looks like a case of blogger’s block. Don’t worry… there is a cure.

It’s largely a matter of making friends with your creative mind. The reason so many of us find this difficult is that our education has trained us to respond to problems only with linear, rational, conscious thought.

Willpower, discipline, and good old-fashioned work may squeeze another blog post out of you but to produce words effortlessly, to connect with the joy and optimism and inspiration which makes it all worthwhile, to be as good as you can be, you need to know how to nurture abstraction and your hard-working subconscious.

First off, stop focusing on your block and start thinking about establishing flow. Flow is that delectable condition where all we writers have to do is turn up at the page and get ‘em down. Below are nine tried-and-tested methods – four daily practices, five writing practices – for keeping in flow, not just for the next blog post but for the rest of your writing life. Continue reading “Blogger’s Block? Here’s How to Beat it”

This Long-Forgotten Technique Will Vastly Improve Your Blog

If you’ve been blogging for at least a few months, you’ve probably noticed by now that most of your success as a blogger comes from being able to sit down and punch those damn keys.

That is it.

Writing blog posts, editing them, selecting images, pitching guest posts, answering comments, and all the other tasks that require you to punch some keys on a keyboard or tap your fingers on a touchscreen.

And this thing does not change. In fact, the most successful bloggers just want it a bit more than just about everyone else, so they put a bit more time and effort into punching the damn keys.

But there’s another element to your success that you may have be neglecting with all that work and focus.

Every once in awhile, you might consider stepping out of the house and doing your best to find another human being.

I know this is a bizarre, arcane practice, but bear with me. Continue reading “This Long-Forgotten Technique Will Vastly Improve Your Blog”