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

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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 – 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