My friend Tom thinks I should create a how-to product on “writing for the paralyzed and confused.” He’s a very creative and articulate guy, but writing kills him. Knocking out two pages can take him hours. And when he’s done, he second-guesses himself for a couple more hours about whether it’s any good.
Since I don’t have a spare month right now to create a complete information product for you, here’s a blog post to get you started. A step-by-step guide you can use to write as many blog posts as you need, without tears, frustration, or brain damage.
I’m a writer. I spent over three decades unaware of this essential truth, but I’m ready to atone for my ignorance.
For some reason, it never mattered that I’d been reading at least a book a week since my eyes could string the syllables together.
I could never be a writer.
Have you ever watched a baseball player on deck to bat next? You’ll notice that batters often place a weighted ring around the bat while doing warm-up swings.
Why? When the player steps up to the plate, the bat feels relatively lighter. This helps the batter swing faster when a hot fastball comes blazing down the middle.
It doesn’t matter that the bat isn’t really lighter. From a psychological standpoint (which is where world-class athletes leave average players behind), the batter feels like he has a stronger, faster swing. That mental edge makes a difference.
Remember your fifth grade “What I did on my summer vacation” paper, where you used the words “pool,” “baseball” and “bike” 100 times apiece? And your English teacher dutifully marked your paper up with her red pen. Redundant. Don’t repeat yourself. Choose a new word.
Bloggers sometimes get so fearful about repeating ourselves that our message can get completely lost. The truth is, after fifth grade is over, there are times when you want to repeat yourself to make sure your point comes across. Here’s how you can tell if your content could benefit from a little strategic repetition.
The final character to get to know in the Lateral Action universe is Marla. Compared with Lou and Jack, she’s like Yoda.
Next week we’ll start publishing a lot of foundational text content that will help you make sense of where we’re coming from. The characters are the stars of an ongoing story that will develop alongside the tips, tricks, instruction and opinion that drive Lateral Action.
But let’s get back to Marla:
Want to be a better writer? Read. That’s a given. The more you read and comprehend what others have written, the more you can discern the good from the bad or various techniques that packed a punch.
But what should you read?
Should you read textbooks and manuals for some how-to tips? Should you read fiction and creative works to pick up better storytelling tricks? Should you read more poetry to learn timbre and pentameter?
I read product packaging… and you should too.
Jack’s email inbox is a mess, and so is his desk.
Jack’s action items are in disarray.
Jack has no five-year vision.
And yet… Jack just got promoted.
But will he bother to keep the corporate gig?
Check out this second video from Lateral Action to find out more about Jack, and what fuels his smirking revenge.
If you missed the first Lateral Action video, watch Lou Needs a Clue first.
If you’re going to write a headline, you want the headline to attract. And one of the many elements of attraction is ‘curiosity.’
The more curious your headline, the more you have a chance of the reader stopping long enough to get interested. But hey, in the desire to write a really curious headline, we inevitably risk overdoing the headline.
So let’s analyze a headline for an example: