My Writing Journey – Start Early! (12/01/2016)

I hope that you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I had.

Have any of you started you Christmas shopping yet?  I already have.  I started early.

Starting early is not just important for this time of year.  It is also  important when you’re writing.  The earlier you start, the better.  If you’re young and still in school, write regularly and get a head start.  If you’re in college, that’s still okay.  The younger you start, the better.  Start early.

If you’re older and you have made the decision to start writing, that is still okay.  The whole idea is to have as much time as possible to write.  In doing this, you will have a lot of material to work with.

For me, I started early.  I have been writing since fourth grade.  I have been keeping a journal since high school and one a daily one regularly since college.

So have you started yet?  Start early, and get an edge on the competition.

What will be covered next week?  That’s a surprise!  Stay tuned!

I’ll see you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Know When to Say No (11/17/2016)

Have you ever been in a dilemma?  There are three different activities that you can go to.  They are all on the same night and at the same time.  Which one do you pick?

In this case, you need to know when to say no.  What is the most important?  Choose that one over the other two.

The same thing can be applied to writing.  Write when you can, but don’t get burned out.  Find a time when it works the best for you.  If you can’t find the time anywhere, that might be a good day to take off.  Although that’s a difficult option, perhaps you need a day to refresh yourself.

Learning to say no in certain situations is a very important thing to learn as a leader.  You can’t say yes to everything.  This will slow you down.  Say no to the matters that make sense and yes to what’s important.  This will save you a lot of stress when you’re making important decisions.

Saying no can sometimes be beneficial when you’re looking for something better.  If you have an opportunity, you must refuse it if you are going after the better opportunity.

So try it sometimes.  Know when to say so and you’ll find yourself learning to say yes at all the right times.

What’s next week?  Only time will tell.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Don’t Go Alone! (11/03/2016)

Have you ever tried to do something alone?  It could be dieting, exercising, or anything else.  It’s an uphill battle, and if you’re going at it by yourself, your odds are not very good.

Don’t go alone.  If you’re dieting, join a friend who is also dieting.  If you’re exercising, join a friend who is doing the same.  This will establish some accountability, and you’ll be able to work on your goal.

Are you working on a blog post for a website?  Find other people who are doing the same, and they can encourage you.  Don’t do it alone.  Your momentum will be a lot better if you have your friends to encourage you.

For me, I attend ideation once a week.  Everyone there is encouraged to continue on their idea.  Those who keep going will keep getting encouraged.  For me, it’s like an idea gym.  The ideas that work out the most turn into successful businesses.  I don’t go alone and neither should you.

So the next time you’re doing something alone, try to see if there’s someone else that you can share the experience with.  For us, we’re all sharing this journey together so we don’t have to be alone.  It’s better this way and you have a much better chance to succeed.

What will there be next week?  Since I’m busy with conference planning for Toastmasters, I won’t be attending ideation so I’ll try to think of something special.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Mistakes are Good (10/27/2016)

Have you ever made a mistake?

If you answered yes, then good.  You’re a human.

If you answered no, then you’re either conceited, a liar, or some kind of machine.

Mistakes are good.  Yes, you heard me.  I did just say that.

But why?  Think about it.  When you’re working towards a finished product, mistakes are necessary to get to the next step.  If you are fixated on having a finished product on your first draft, you will not make any progress.  Make a mistake and move on.  Get something out there.  It’s better to have a mistake then to have no product at all.

If you look at the most successful people in history, a lot of them made numerous failures.  They failed a lot before they become very successful.  Success is built on many failures, so you will be making a few mistakes before you get there.

I can vouch for my own mistakes.  On a lot of my entries, I can’t tell you how many times that I found a mistake that I had to correct after I posted it.  The important thing is that it got posted.  The mistakes can be corrected later.  Preferably as soon as possible when you detect them.  So I make mistakes and I revise them later.  Are my mistakes intentional?  Absolutely not!  For most people, no one really intends to make a mistake.  It just happens.  And when you do in writing, you go back and correct them.

So the next time someone asks you about a mistake, tell them that mistakes are good.  Although they’re not really that desirable, they’re an opportunity to improve.  Many successful people have made mistakes, and now it’s your turn.  Make that mistake if you can.  And if it doesn’t happen, good job!  But if it does (and it usually does), don’t be too hard on yourself.  Mistakes are building blocks to success and each one of them will help you get there.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – The Tools You Need to Succeed (10/20/2016)

Do you have a toolbox?  What I like about toolboxes is that they contain all the tools that you need to get the job done.

But I’m not just talking about your standard toolbox.  There are toolboxes for drawing, toolboxes for designing websites, toolboxes for editing videos, and virtually every other one that you can think of.  There’s one for each job.  Not just carpentry, construction, or do it yourself projects at home.

If you don’t have a toolbox, get one, and put in all the tools that you need to get the job done.

Don’t have one yet?  That’s okay if you don’t.  After getting some ideas from my toolbox, you’ll be able to create your own toolbox!

First of all, to make a toolbox, you need to know the kind of job that you’re doing.  After that, you need to gather the “tools” that you need to get that job done.  Working on a blog post?  You’ll need all of the useful “tools” that you need to get the job done.  For this toolbox, you will need some good ideas.  Always look for new ideas because they’re out there.  Keep a notebook.  My notebook is the primary thing that I keep in my toolbox.  Keep a folder to file your ideas.  Since I attend Ideation every week, you could say that I have a toolbox of sorts.  I carry a bag around with a notebook, a folder, and a couple of pens.  In having this with me, I can write down a blog idea and compose it later.

Try it yourself.  What job do you have to finish?  What tools do you need to finish that job?  Round up those tools and put together your own toolbox.  The sooner you do, the more successful you’ll be.

What am I doing next week?  You’ll just have to wait.  I’ll still be here.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Keep it Simple (10/13/2016)

When you want to deliver a valuable and important message to someone, don’t over-complicate it.  Just keep it simple.

For composing a blog, you want your introduction to be straight and to the point.  Don’t be complex and don’t beat around the bush.  If your content is too overwhelming, you will lose your audience in the first sentence or two.  If the audience can follow it, then you have an effective message.

For Ideation yesterday, simplicity wasn’t really what I was working on .  While it is the end result, it wasn’t the chief focus.  I was working on categories yesterday, which is a continuation of my mapping.  When the mapping is all finished, I will share the results with you.  And that is another lesson in itself.

If your message is complicated already, break it down.  Reduce it to smaller, simpler bite-sized pieces that we can all digest.  It may take time to do this, but remember.  You may understand your message well, but this needs to be repackaged and tailored to your audience.

It’s that simple.  Have a simple message and you’ll have an audience that understands.

Next week, I will cover some more topics that can be helpful as you go through your writing journey.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Springboards Lead to New Beginnings (10/06/2016)

When you’re writing, you need a starting point.  Where do you begin?

You may have found some ideas from your competition, but now you need a way to start.  How do you begin?  One way is to use a springboard, a useful device that can get you into the topic that you want to talk about.

In Ideation just yesterday,  I started creating springboards to bring clarity to what I wanted each writing prompt to accomplish.  Do I want to solve a conflict?  Do I want to write from a different character’s point of view?  Do I want to follow up on a story that I already written?  This springboard provides instructions and it clarifies the kind of message that I want to present.

For instance, in my Think & Write “The Fight“, for example,  I would use this springboard:

Desperate for money, you are in a wrestling ring with a champion. You must survive 10 minutes to win the money you need. Describe your experience.

In another Think & Write “Dreaming While Awake“, I would use this springboard:

Your child or someone you know has a special magical talent. What is this talent and what do they do with it?

In over 100 of my Think & Writes, I have provided springboards for everyone of them.  For these exercises, there is a starting point for each person to pick up and start writing their own stories.  And if you try this, it really helps with writer’s block.  Writing for me has become a daily habit that I never cease from doing.

So when you’re blogging, think of good starting points.  Use your springboard and jump right into an awesome post idea!

What’s next?  Meet back next week and I’ll tell you.  It’s part of the suspense.  I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun now, would I?

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Set Yourself Apart From Your Competition (9/29/2016)

In the world of writing, there is no such thing as a monopoly.  Competition is everywhere.  There are writers that are doing exactly what you’re doing only they’re a lot better at doing it.  The layout of their site is more attractive.  They have a lot more visitors.  Their explanations are a lot better than yours.

And do you know what?  That is perfectly fine.  Competition is a good thing, and if you understand your competition good enough, you can learn to set yourself apart from them.

There are many writers, but only one you.  Nobody else can write the way that you write so learn that uniqueness and execute it.  When you start to do this, you begin to build a personal brand that sets yourself apart from everyone else.  The more unique it is, the more it stands out, the better.

How do I learn that uniqueness?  This is not something that you learn overnight.  Rather, this is something that is developed over time.  write everyday and read everyday.  Have your words reflect the personality that you portray.  Are you direct? Overly opinionated?  Reflect that in your writing.  Are you soft-spoken or quiet?  Make that confession in your writing.  As you begin to build your website, you will begin to learn the different facets of your own uniqueness.

Now for the other important matter.  If you want to be successful with your writing and with your website, you need to find out what your competition is doing.  Go to their site and read what they’re writing.  Don’t copy their posts word-for-word but go to their site to learn what they are doing.  Are there any topics that they covered that you forgot to cover?  This is where you want to take good notes.  They may have written a post about this or that, but here’s the good part where you have the advantage.  You can write that post a lot better than they can.  They have already published that post, but you haven’t published yours yet.  Maybe you have a different perspective on what they covered.  A new idea to add to what they covered or a totally different opinion.  Maybe their punctuation was off (It shouldn’t be, if they have a good blog).  So go and do that.  Read and learn about your competition.  Their ideas will help you to better your own.  And if you’re starving for ideas, go to their blog. What you have is an all you can eat buffet of ideas.  Feast on them and add your own unique ingredients to make them better.

What I covered in Ideation was mapping and springboards.  I looked at my competition to see what writing exercises they already had.  While I have already done some of them, most of the ideas were pretty new.  Help yourself to your competition’s smorgasbord and spice it up.  Change the recipe and now it’s your own.

Next week, I will go into more depth about your competition and exactly what you need to look for when you are making your visits to their sites.  Getting the right information is important, as is the execution if you want to have a good blog.  Stay tuned.  It’s starting to get good.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – What do you Offer? (9/22/2016)

What do you offer?  This will be the primary thing that you will be focusing on when you’re writing your blog.

When you go to a store, you usually know what that store offers before you go there.  A sporting good store will provide products that you need for outdoor activities.  A clothing store obviously provides clothing and a grocery store provides food and domestic products that you need for your home.

But what does your blog provide?  If I were to visit your blog, what “products” would I find there?

From the inventory that I began a week ago, I was able to boil this down a little bit myself.  My blog provides writing exercises for defeating writer’s block and a creative journal for those who are here for the entertainment (if you are that audience, Me & My Muse is right next door!)

I am also working on a third product.  This one.  The goal of My Writing Journey is to provide an informative and insightful learning experience for everyone who aspires to write, or make a blog about writing.  It’s for all audiences and experience levels.  While Me & My Muse is a lot of fun to write for me, I feel like this product provides more appeal to a wider audience.  How many people want to read about an imaginary character that I dialogue with?  Am I detecting some nods?  That is the very thing that My Writing Journey is here to address.  This product is just for you, with you in mind.  Don’t understand something?  Don’t worry.  I might be at the same point that you are.  We can learn this together, but I’m always determined to find an answer.  If I am an expert on a particular subject, I will take special care to make sure that everyone is on the same page before proceeding on.

So those are the products that I have.  This is what you start with.  What have you currently created? What products do you offer and can they be monetized?  What do you want to create in the future?

I would focus on what you already have before creating brand new products.  Establish these products first and get very proficient at producing them.  Then work on the new products.

What do you have to offer?  Remember.  The home page is the first thing that the reader is going to see, so you better have a “product” list up front.  10 seconds is all you get and then they’re on another page.  Consider what you already have, the products that you offer, whether you can monetize them, and if you want to create some new products down the road.

It is also important to note your competition, which is what I will address next time.  Who is your competition? What can be learned from them?

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Less is More (9/15/2016)

How much are you trying to tackle?  Is a 1000 word entry really needed to grab the attention of your audience?

Less is more.

When you’re in the planning stage of your blog, you need to determine how much time you need to complete each service.  During my ideation session this week, I was introduced to a different version of the inventory.  It was based on priority and it honed the focus on fewer categories.

When you’re working with a lot of ideas, it actually makes a lot of sense to find the related ones and pair them together.  This unifies your concepts.  And although it gives you less to work with, it provides more impact.  The clutter is reduced and you have a more clear and concise message.

Now you may be sentimental to some of your ideas that might be very dear to you.  Don’t cut them out entirely, but reduce them where you can.  You need to know where to cut, and make those cuts there.

Less is more.  Ask yourself: what do I already have?  What do I need to add? What steps are needed?  It’s not necessary if your consumer is spending too much work just to get to your message.

Remember.  You are trying to achieve the minimal viable product (MVP).  This is the minimal product required to meet the needs of the customer.  It’s like working on a puzzle and only adding the pieces needed to solve it.  If the pieces are all arranged in a way where the puzzle is easy to solve, this is what we want.  With a simple and concise message, the concept is the same.  Easy to solve and easy to understand.

With the inventory that was made for me, I have what is currently created.  What do I offer to this?  Is it monetizable or not?

So less is more.  The less you have, the more concise your message is, the better.

Next week, I will go over inventories and what offerings you need to have an effective blog.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – The Key Words Will Unlock the Door to Your Audience (9/8/2016)

What are you looking for?  You need to know the answer to this better than your audience, because this is exactly what your audience is looking for.

Think about it.  When you want to find something important, you get on the internet and find what you’re looking for on your desktop, laptop, or phone.

When you are searching for something, you type in those key words to find what your are looking for.  The trick to doing this right is having the most frequently used key words sprinkled in your blog.

Using my case, for example, what are writers looking for?  Writing prompts and writing ideas are at the top of the list.  If they want to defeat writer’s block, they will look for these particular key words.

If they want to hone their craft, they will look for writing style.  For inspiration or samples, they will look for plot devices, stream of consciousness, plot, setting, simile, and metaphor. For how-to’s, they will search how to get published and self publishing.  In being a part of a support system, they might search blog community.  For entertainment, they will search short stories and creative journals  (HINT:  For an amazing creative journal, check this one out!  https://kylelwalker.com/me-my-muse/).  Or aspiring writers that may want to follow someone’s journey would search for writing journals, writing milestones, and writing achievements (This segment is a good example.  With My Writing Journey, I will cover every bit of my writing journey!)

And if any of your are aspiring writers, every one of those key words will be covered sooner or later.  Came here for writer’s block?  Go next door to Think & Write.  They’ll help you out.

For ideation yesterday, it was just me and Katryn.  Not much was accomplished, but I did manage to connect my WordPress to tumblr  (have a tumblr?  Check it out!)

This example works with anything that you’re looking for.  Are you looking for cooking?  Are looking for fishing or beauty tips?  You need all the right key words associated with those interests.  And to figure out which ones are the best, go here to Google Trends.  Once here, search one, two, or more key phrases and see if they rate high.  If not, don’t use them!  The right key words will unlock the door to your audience.  And you will start getting one if you use them often enough.

That about wraps up this week.  What will I cover next week?  Find out next time on My Writing Journey!

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Stand Out (9/1/2016)

Have you ever tried to be like someone else?  Have you ever tried to copy their style or the way that they wrote or talked?

If you have, then stop it.  There’s nothing wrong with looking up to someone.  The problem is not being able to develop your own uniqueness.

Think about it.  If you keep copying someone, you’re copying their unique style.  For inspiration, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But at some point, the growth has to begin.  The growth that leads on the road to developing your own unique style.  And it is with this style, it helps you to stand out from everyone else.

At yesterday’s ideation, I was asked to work on the positioning for my website, and to find some things that stand out.  This is important to your brand identity.  Especially if you are a writer.  What are you good at doing?  What can you do the best?  Focus on these aspects as they are the ones that will help you to stand out the most.

Now you also want to stand out with your search results.  Is your approach a unique solution to solving a difficult problem?  Boil that down into a search phrase.  Try not to be too specific, as this will not generate too many searches.  The words that you want to use are the words that everyone else is looking for.  Writing prompts, for instance, would be a very good example.

So there you go.  Stop trying to be someone else and start being yourself.  When you are your own unique self, this is where you start standing out.  Be yourself and keep focusing on that.  Because when you do, this will begin the road to something amazing.

That’s one leg down, but the journey is far from finished.

See you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – Use the Right Words (8/25/2016)

Welcome back, everyone.  while PR tactics will not be discussed today, the focus has shifted to writing.

From yesterday’s ideation session at incuba8 Labs, Caryn had some useful tools for gauging your target audience.  When it all comes down to it, you want to use the right words.  With the right words, you reach your key audience.

One useful tool that she showed me was this brainstorming sheet.  We did an exercise that looked at six different items: Priority, Audience, Motivation, Offering, Uniqueness, and Value Created.  For just that day, we focused on audience, motivation, and offering.

When you’re targeting an audience, you want to find out the reason why they want to come.  For instance, why did you visit my site and read this post?  In targeting an audience, that is very important.

For an audience, you also need to find out what you need to attract them.  Each audience is different, so this will come with researching what your audience is.  You want to keep the uniqueness but you want to find out what attracts them.  The priorities can be sorted out later, but we key focus must be addressed.  Who is the audience?

For any audience, there is going to be different trends.  To address these trends, you need to research what can be done well.  What resources can be used?  What steps should you take?  What is the time frame?  All of these things need to be considered in your research.

The other tool that Caryn showed me was Google Trends, something that you can definitely benefit from if you want to determine the trends of your audience.

Next week, we will discuss search trends in more detail.  For writing or anything that you’re trying to accomplish, trends are important.  In understanding these trends, you can best target the audience.

I’ll see you next week!

Your friend in writing,

Kyle

My Writing Journey – It Begins!

It’s official.  My PR Journey is being put on hold for now.

Why?  Because a new and exciting will continue where it left off.  My Writing Journey will encompass my entire writing journey, and will include all writings, including PR Writing, should I ever return to that.

In getting this off the ground, here are the guidelines.  There will be a post usually every Thursday regarding what I have learned about writing and marketing this site.  And yes.  Occasionally, there will be some insight from me about writing and my thoughts on the whole process.

So keep your eye out for it, because it’s starting soon!