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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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?”

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”

Want More Comments on Your Posts? Do This!

We all tend to focus on catchy headlines and gripping titles. That split-second interest grabber is important.

But how you end your post depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what do you want the reader to do – the so-called call to action. When it comes to prompting reader interaction, how you wrap up your blog posts or articles may make all the difference between a few comments and an explosion of discussion.

Think about it: What urges a reader to write his comments? What gets him to talk about your post? What happens when the show’s over? Continue reading “Want More Comments on Your Posts? Do This!”

Reciprocity

Imagine you’d just decide to send out a lot of Christmas cards early in the month of December — to complete strangers.

What would happen?

Nothing? Maybe a few confused phone calls or letters?

Most likely you’d receive a great deal of Christmas cards in return, from people who don’t even know you.

A university professor actually performed this exact experiment back in 1976, and although he expected to get some responses, he was actually amazed by the number of return cards he received. Continue reading “Reciprocity”