Is F.E.A.R. Holding You Back?

image of F.E.A.R.

I’ve written in the past about the nasty effects of fear – how it can lead to procrastination, creative blocks, and unremarkable content. It’s our sense of fear that derails success more often than actual failed attempts at success.

Looking deeper into the topic, however, I’ve discovered that often it’s not actual fear we’re dealing with. It’s something much more ridiculous.

It’s not fear that holds you back.

It’s F.E.A.R.

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How to Write Your Ass Off

image of mysterious figure

My name is not Johnny B. Truant.

This isn’t meant to be any kind of a coming out. Based on my informal survey (so informal that no questions have been asked), most people rightly assume the moniker is too preposterous to be real anyway.

I could tell you the name I was born with, but there wouldn’t be any point. That’s not the person you know.

Everything written in the blogosphere was written by Johnny. Everything said in an interview or a course was spoken by Johnny.

Johnny built the business I have today. Without Johnny, that business doesn’t exist.

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10 New Ideas for Getting Inspired to Write

image of golden retriever in sunglasses

Years ago, I had a golden retriever named Louie who loved pillaging trash cans.

I tried yelling at him whenever he stuck his nose in the can. I tried different models of trash cans with hard-to-open lids. I tried putting the trash can inside a cabinet.

But it didn’t matter. Louie was a trash can fiend, and he wouldn’t be denied.

It got to be such a problem that I eventually called a dog trainer friend for advice.

She told me to put mousetraps in the trash cans.

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Beyond Motivation:
Getting to What Really Drives You

image of carrot dangled as motivation

What drives you to write?

To earn some green-backs and keep the wolves from the door? To earn praise? Create a community?

Or maybe you’re convinced your story will help someone else? Or that you can help other people find important information?

Are you compelled to write because you’ll settle for nothing less than changing the world?

You know how to get to Carnegie Hall, right?

Motivation, man, motivation.

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Why You Shouldn’t Write for Other Writers

image of Hugh MacLeod cartoon: The world will always conspire to make you less than you are

There’s a scene in “Mad Men”, the TV drama about a 1960s advertising agency.

One of the junior copywriters is showing the Creative Director an ad he’s just written. The ad is clever, flowery, and poetic.

The Creative Director cuts the copywriter down in five short, stern words:

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The Two Vital Attributes of Quality Content

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

~ William Morris, poet and designer

Imagine the household you would have if you got rid of every item that was neither useful or beautiful.

Gone would be the plastic doodad with no known purpose, the ugly frame your great-aunt gave you, the Special Free Offer™ you never opened, the collection of someday-useful peanut butter jars . . .

Every room would be so much more pleasant to be in, and every tool so much easier to find.

What if you applied the same rule to the content you wrote? Every email, sales letter, blog post, and comment you wrote would have to be useful or beautiful. Or both.

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