To write or not to write?

Image

The other day, I reread some of my blog posts. I am not one to do this. I find it counterproductive. But I was told sometimes if you want to improve, you have to see where you went wrong.

I started from the beginning and worked my way to newer posts. I have found my voice has changed. The style has changed. And my breakdown has changed.

I notice I sound a little more mature. Granted I am not giving the sage advice of Socrates, but I don’t sound as childish as when I started. It must have something to do with the fact I am letting people read my writing. I did the same thing with my journal and it sounds as boyish now as it did LONG ago.

Where I was once a little stiff, I now see, I am a little more relaxed. As I read some of them, I thought to myself, I can’t believe I wrote that. I see I am a little more open than when I began. I’m still not pouring my heart out or revealing too much of myself, but I can see the start of it.

My paragraphs are no longer mini novels. I see I am breaking them down to 2 to 3 manageable sentences. Getting the point across in as few words as possible. Making the reading quicker and easier.

While these new attributes are good for my writing in general, I am not sure how it will benefit my clients or career.

I know, I still need to work on my CTA (call to action). I have tried in my blog post, by asking questions, but its not strong enough to drive my followers to comment.

The change of subjects was beneficial to my blog too. Branching out to write about different things has also helped increase my followers. I’ve noticed that my running topics amasses more likes and a few comments here and there. Which makes me feel bad about my writing series.

Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

I have veered away from my schedule though. I have not written on some of the topics I want to. I think its because I got so excited about having the followers increase from my running series.

I cannot believe how easier it is to free write on here now either. I use to struggle with what I wanted to say, and now, I just let my fingers do the typing.

Well, I am proud to say in the last 3 months and especially in the last month, my writing has changed. I feel it has improved. I can say I have hit my goal of 1,000 words a day. Hell, I would say its almost 5,000.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

I haven’t been blogging much of late. Because lately, I have not been in the mood to write. Awhile back I got block, lately its been lack of motivation. I read write. If you have nothing to say, write. If you think you’ve written enough, write some more. 

Yeah, well fuck you. 

Since I got my block and took a few days off, my mind has kind of been on a downward spiral. I know a lot of it has to do with not acquiring clients as fast as I would like. This means I have to watch my pennies, or maybe even get a part time job. 

The part time job doesn’t bother me. Paying your bills and eating are a part of life. Plus I rather enjoy eating. Makes me feel good. 

Hell, even the lack of clients doesn’t bother me. Its the inactivity I am going through that’s killing me. Yes, I am writing to find my voice, improve my portfolio, and just to get some issues off my chest, but I am not as active as I once was. 

I run every other day, and on the off days I walk. I have to do ROM (range of motion) exercises everyday for my shoulders. I keep my house clean. But all of this does not compare to the 8 to 10 hours a day I use to spend working for someone else. 

I spend many hours doing research, homework, and working on the portfolio, which I use to spend working. Now, I am either sitting, or laying down during those times. Luckily, after a year of this, I have not started to gain any unwanted weight. 

I did have a mandatory writing assignment I had to complete today, my IceBreaker for my English class this semester.

Here it is:

My name is Troy. I am not on a dating site, so I don’t see the point in these things. I won’t read any of your profiles. 

Here is the response from my professor: 

Dear Troy,

Please do introduce yourself to me and your classmates, just as you would if we met in person.  It is helpful to building a community of learners!

I would also like to know how this course can best serve you, personally and professionally.

Cheers,

Dr. Manning

Here was my response:

I am an introvert, so our initial contact would go about how my first post sounds. Since I am being asked to elaborate, here you go.

I live in Illinois, I am 35 years old. I am a copywriter.

I have many hobbies, as do all of you. I like and dislike many things, as do all of you. I want to better myself, as do all of you. I want to do something that will have an impact on the community as a whole, as do all of you.

Do you see a pattern here?

We all complain, love, and think we are different or unique and we’re not. We were all made from the same mold. Some people just show more of a different aspect of something we all have.

Personally or professionally, I want to learn how to BREAK the rules of writing. I am sick and tired of hearing you have to write like this, you have to write like that. I am calling BS. If I want to write, no one should tell me how I should structure it.

I do know one thing. Writing like any other work of Art is all about getting a reaction. Whether good or bad, Art is about reactions.

The personally or professionally comment about “breaking” the rules has been on my mind a lot lately. I think I have mentioned it in a previous blog, but I am not sure. I believe we all need to break free from the restraints that weigh on us, and find our own way. Whether in writing, running, golf, or gardening. 

Happy writing everyone. 

Pen Pal

I want a pen pal.

Not knowing where to get an address from, I did what I usually do when I want to research something, I Googled it. 

Over 6 million hits. 

I refined my search to “hand written” pen pals. 3,125 hits. 

That’s all?

So over 6 million websites are geared towards pen pals online!? WTF????

There are varied reasons to start a penpalship, yes, I’m coining this term. But I never realized how many people would forgo the act of actually sitting down with pen and paper to write to someone. 

I won’t discredit an online pen pal, but how are you going to build any patience if you always gravitate towards the instant gratification of online technology. Having to wait for the “snail” mail to deliver the letter is part of the anticipation of a pen pal. 

Unplugging from all of this technology and getting in touch with yourself and with someone else is a great way to build up social skills. Also it is a great way to make another friend in another part of the world. 

One of the many perks of having a pen pal, it allows you to learn another culture. What’s do you have in common? What’s different? What do they eat? What’s their work day like?

Writing a letter, helps improve motor skills and increases brain pathways. It also helps hone reading and writing skills. This in turns leads to better communication skills. 

With better communication skills, it also helps with language skills. It helps to increase the thesaurus  that is already hardwired inside your head. If you don’t use it, you lose it. 

Also, if they are in another country, it maybe helpful in learning a new language. Its scientifically proven those that speak two or more languages and more intelligent. And what bette way to learn a new language than from a native friend from another country.

One of the best reasons to have a pen pal, is you will be able to talk about some things you do not feel comfortable telling anyone else. Most pen pals remain just that, a pen pal. 

Finally , getting a letter in the mail is the whole point of a pen pal. If you want to receive some mail in your inbox, why not subscribe to a few newsletters. 

Yes, most of the fore mentioned points can be done with a pen pal online, but some can’t. You will need to sit down with a pen and paper to achieve these. Nothing correcting your misspelled words, punctuation, and grammatical errors except your built in computer. 

I can see the merit in both types of pen pals, but to have a truly unique experience with them, try sitting down to pen and paper and writing it out. 

The last point I am going to mention is that it helps with your handwriting. As with anything, the more you practice, the more efficient you become. 

Happy writing everyone. 

 

To write or not to write?

Image

Musicians have the 12 Days of Christmas, we writers have the 21 Days of Christmas. 

How come writers get to have 21 days?

When a musician achieve rockstar status, they have people to help promote them. Writers are a different breed. We have to continually promote ourselves. Unlike musicians, bad PR for a writer could spell a death sentence.

Steve Roller, founder of The Copywriter Cafe, at http://www.copywritercafe.com, decided to share some advise he has learned over the years to help increase our business. On Dec. 6th, Steve started to give 1 activity a day to help build marketing skills. He keeps the cost low, helps improve our writing skills, and teaches how to make an impression on your prospective clients. He will give his last tip on Dec. 26.

Steve’s plans are to write an ebook, outlining everything he’s covered so far. He will include sample scripts, letter templates, questions to ask, positioning tips, and pricing guidelines. 

He has asked us to try one or two ideas to generate some quick copywriting business and cash flow. Some of these tips are as simple as writing a letter or how many times to make contact to ensure a hot lead. Others require some thought and ingenuity. Most of the tips are designed to push the threshold of our comfort zones. 

I have worked on almost everyone of his tips so far. 

And I am here to tell you, they work. For the potential clients I have reached out to, almost 1/3 have responded. That is a 138% increase in my normal response rate. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have implemented advise from Steve and seen my bottom line go up. 

With as much I have read, listened, and watched of other great copywriters, Steve is my go to man. Not only is Steve my mentor, he is a all around good guy. 

Happy writing everyone and Merry Christmas.

To write or not to write?

It seems a long time since I have written on writing. I think its because I have started to use this site for more than just writing about writing. I have decided to start writing within the niches I hope to write copy for. I even created a schedule for which days I will be blogging about which topics. 

Sunday — school
Monday — golf
Tuesday — writing
Wednesday — gardening
Thursday — misc
Friday — running/fitness
Saturday — holiday decorating

The writing group I am in approved of my decision to branch out from my mundane rituals. Its nice to know I have the support of so many people. They assured me I will find my voice faster if I put my work out there on a daily basis.

I have many reasons for writing this blog. To find my voice is just one. Conquering my fear of people reading my work, the fear of talking about myself, and getting my work recognized are a few more. The list is long. 

I have mentioned my voice over the last few posts. It is the sole purpose most of us write in the first place. We get tired of hearing that nagging repetitious drone in our head. Writing is one way to silence it. To relieve it of its concern. To give life to it. 

The hardest critic anyone has is themselves. Nothing we ever do is good enough. At least according to ourselves. I feel this way about my writing. It has always been a source of pride and disappointment to me. I feel pride in my work, because I know how to follow the rules. And disappointment, because no one has really taught me how to break them to improve. 

I would say my biggest fear is writing about myself. Having to put personal feelings in there. I believe this is closely linked with having people read it. Even when I am in a relationship, I find it hard to discuss some things. To write about and let people read them, well, that’s enough to make me piss myself. 

Not that I am anyway ashamed of who I am, I just find the thought of talking about myself counterintuitive and a little self righteous. Most people have their own concerns to worry about, why bother with someone else’s. Then it dawned on me, maybe to get some perspective in our own lives. 

I have my blog site attached to all of my sites, professional and personal. If I refer a potential client to a site, I know at least they will be able to find my blog page. When I write in my blog, it is nothing like what I do for work. There are some aspects of writing that cross over, but there are others that are completely different. 

Recognition is a key element in the kind of writing I would like to do to get paid. Well, all writing is about recognition. For copy, it would be nice to know that my writing speaks for itself. A client is talking with someone at a convention and the other person has heard that their company has increased revenue by 110%. They ask my client how, and he says, its my copywriter. Here, let me give you his email address. Boom, another client. 

They joys of the niches I want to write for, it that there are so many companies, I won’t have to worry about crossover or interfering with any business. Most of the companies that I want to write for are geological separate, so it won’t hinder anyone’s business. 

These are my concerns and hopes.

Happy writing everyone.

Tis the Season

I write, because I am a writer. I try to help companies increase revenue, exposure, and their prestige. I focus on the holiday decorating companies. This is a fairly untapped niche for any writer that I know. When I first decided on writing for these companies, I asked a group in Facebook I’m in if it was a good niche. I was surprised by the overwhelming support I got from them. Everyone said it was a niche no one had ever thought to write for. I am going to share some of the things I plan to write for them. I have yet to land any clients, but Friday, I did have 3 companies call me back inquiring about my services. Enjoy.

5 Holiday Tips for a Winter Wonderland

The  joy of the holidays is upon us. Spending time with family and friends, giving the perfect gift to a loved one, and re-creating the essence of  Christmas with your decor brings a sense of warmth to the soul we can only feel this time of year.

Christmas should be spent by a yule-logged fire with family and friends, remembering Christmases pasts. Laughter, company, and the smell of evergreens should be the only things keeping a smile on your face.

Follow a few simple steps and you can relax, knowing you have created a holiday wonderland in and around your own home. Simple steps that use a little  creativity. With a little help from your family your house could be the most talked-about this holiday season.

1) Select a simple holiday theme. Bring the holidays to the inside as well as out.

2) Go big! “Less is more” does not apply around the holidays.

3) Use 2 to 3 colors for maximum effect. Silver, blue and white, or red, green, and gold are the most common.

4) Make sure your entrance is inviting. A wreath, garland, and bow will draw any eye to your home.

5) Rearrange your furniture to find a  focal point for your decorations, ideally your Christmas tree or fireplace.

If you follow these simple steps, maybe Ebenezer Scrooge will knock on your door to join the merriment.

Want the perfect bow on your presents? What should you do when a strand of lights go out? Is your table looking drab this holiday season? If you want tips on these and more, please stay tuned, and all your holiday decorating questions will be answered.

To write or not to write?

Surprise, I keep a journal, because men don’t call it a diary.

I read a post about writing 1000 words a day. Ha, I find this funny. 1000 words a day. I wish that was all I wrote a day. The journal entry alone is probably 1000. Than there are papers for school, blog posts, and rewrites. I say rewrites because in order to improve in my craft, I will read something and if I don’t like it, I will rewrite it. It could be an article, an ad, a flyer for a furniture store. I also write by hand. I use to hate writing by hand, but after years of practicing my cursive, I have come to enjoy it. It is therapeutic and studies have shown, people who write are more intelligent. 

Even though the studies say cursive writers are more intelligent, a few days back, I went through the dreaded “writer’s block”. I have a few techniques I employee when this happens, and they usually work. This time, they didn’t. When I mentioned this in my groups, everyone was very helpful in trying to help me out. I tried to do some of the exercises they recommended, all to no avail. Most I had already heard before and had tried them before I made the comment. I wasn’t sure why, but the block went on for a whole 3 days. I was just glad, that I had all my homework finished before it started. I take online classes, so all of my homework is writing. 

So what worked.

Doing Nothing. 

I mean, absolutely nothing. I put the pen down, closed the laptop, turned off the desktop, and did nothing. I guess after 14 months of writing, researching, and reading everything I could on many different topics, my mind said, “ENOUGH DUDE. I want a break.” I would start writing whenever I had an idea, at a music festival, hanging out with friends, or on a date. It didn’t matter to me. My idea was gold, and I didn’t want to lose it. Sometimes, you just have to shut it all off. I even have a pad and pen on my night stand for when I wake up, if my dreams are a little bizarre. Those are some golden treats to reread later on. They make no sense, but perfect sense. Plus I have been able to use a few of the lines that I have written in some of my work. 

Anyway, I’ve read 1000 words a day, and I do more than that. I’ve also come across the dreaded block. What have I learned? Shit happens. Everyone I talked with said they’ve also gone through it. Again, I cannot emphasize this, I am not alone. I have a very supportive group of friends and colleagues to help through my down times. What more could you ask for?

Happy writing everyone.