February 4, 2017

When I write...

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."

Kurt Vonnegut

I read this quote the other day while reading Tools of Titans (Great Book by the way) by Tim Ferris, and it stuck with me.

Just in the past couple of weeks I have talked to other bloggers (current and on sabbatical) who have said the same things...

I don't have the time to write.

People won't want to read about what I say.

I go blank when I stare at my screen.

Sound familiar??

Often I feel the same way as Kurt Vonnegut. He does a good job of capturing that frustration in one quote.

But, there is hope. Vonnegut, in a 1980 issue of Transactions on Professional Communications, talked about a few things we can do to ensure quality writing and how to "write with style."

Here are his thoughts with my commentary...

1. Find a subject you care about
If you do not like what you are researching, reading, coloring, drawing, making, writing about etc...it's going to get old quick. Find something you are passionate about and learn as much as you can about it and then...SHARE.

2. Keep it simple
The harder you make it, the less likely you are going to like it and the more likely other folks won't be able to use it. I am a fan of simple.

3. Sound like yourself
If you are a Southerner, it is ok to sound like one. But, it is also more than that. Don't try to sound like someone you are not. If it is not you, if it is not your passion, people will figure you and your readers will recognize the deception easily.

4. Say what you mean
Don't beat around the bush, say what you mean and do not worry about the fact that someone does not agree with you. Disagreement is natural and as long as it doesn't become hate-filled or personal, then it will be ok in the long run.

To add to this I would also include:

Read constantly
I read all of the time. Many times I have multiple books going. I know, I know sounds impossible for someone with focus problems like me but it is true. Good books have a way of maintaining my focus. It is like kryptonite for my adult ADD.

Pocket is my friend. I am constantly saving articles and videos to my Pocket site to not only read but share...despite what others say, I like to share. BTW, there is a great short clip on my video page that gives you the basics of Pocket.

Keep a journal or your phone near you to jot down ideas
Right now there is a tangerine Scout Book next to my bed. If I think of an idea, I jot it down. Sometimes the next day it makes no sense but at least most of the time I am able to recall the reason for jotting it down.

I am also a big fan of Field Notes and Moleskins and anything else that resembles a notebook. I have even made some out of beer...I mean Coca Cola cartons.

Oh, and if you do not use Google Keep, you are missing out! It is a great tool by Google that allows you to take notes, itemize thoughts, even add pictures...endless note-taking possibilities.

Don't worry about how many people read it.
The fact that you share it (the hard part) makes it worthwhile.

I always get that nervous feeling when I hit Publish. Don't you??

That's ok. It lets you know you are still alive.

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