Loading...

Follow Wally Bock's Writing Edge on Feedspot


Valid
or
Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook

You’re a businessperson. You may not think of yourself as a writer, but you know that writing well can boost your results and your career. Naturally, you want to do better. Every week I point you to articles and blog posts that I think will teach you something or spark an idea or two. The posts are about the intertwined tasks of reading and writing. Some weeks there are more pointers than others.

This week I’m pointing you to posts on writing an author bio, easy ways to create graphics for your blog, and Henry Miller’s advice on writing.

From Mish Slade: How To Write An Amazing Author Bio

“When you wrote your Amazon book page, how much thought did you put into the author bio? Did you quickly throw together some random sentences just so you could finish the page and hit ‘publish’?”

From Frances Caballo: Create Social Media Images with Canva and Pablo

“Despite this quirk of mine, I am always drawn to social media images. In fact, I more often gloss over (or not read at all) wordy posts on Facebook and instead jump ahead to the beautiful pictures, funny memes, and short, meaningful quote graphics.”

From Maria Popova: Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing and His Daily Creative Routine

“After David Ogilvy’s wildly popular 10 tips on writing and a selection of advice from modernity’s greatest writers, here comes some from the prolific writer and painter Henry Miller (December 26, 1891–June 7, 1980)”

Sources I Check Regularly

I find the posts and articles that I share with you on The Writing Edge in many places. But there are a few that provide insightful pieces again and again. Here they are.

Alliance of Independent Authors

Ann Handley

Frances Caballo

Jane Friedman

IngramSpark

Jerry Jenkins

Joel Friedlander

Joanna Penn

Kindlepreneur

Michele De Felippo

Penny Sansevieri

Daphne Gray-Grant

Becky Robinson’s Weaving Influence

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Stephen King says that if you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do: read a lot and write a lot. This is about the “read a lot” part. I include reading lists and book reviews that will help you do business more effectively and write better for business.

In this post, I point you to reviews of Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance — and What We Can Do About It, The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work that Wows and Jobs That Last, The Power of Company Culture: How any business can build a culture that improves productivity, performance and profits, and The GuruBook.

From Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Human + Machine: The Impact of AI on Business Transformation

“Last week I wrote about the impact of blockchain technologies on business transformation. I now want to turn my attention to the more immediate impact of AI on business, based on Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, a recently published book by Accenture executives Paul Daugherty and Jim Wilson.”

From Theodore Kinni: Are American Workers Dying for their Paychecks?

“Management guru Jeffrey Pfeffer argues that modern management practices are making employees sick”

From Kevin Eikenberry: The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work that Wows and Jobs That Last

“In 1982, two consultants at McKinsey & Co. published a book to little fanfare. One year later, a million copies had been sold, ‘everyone’ had heard of In Search of Excellence, and the world of business has never quite been the same. Now, 36 years later, Peters has published what he calls the sequel or ‘excellence II.’ It is vintage Tom Peters. It is important. It is worth reading, thinking about, acting on, and then doing it all again.”

From Skip Prichard: The Power of Company Culture

“In more posts than I can count, I have written, discussed, and interviewed authors on the importance of organizational culture. A powerful culture fuels an organization to achieve greatness. When a new book by Chris Dyer titled The Power of Company Culture: How any business can build a culture that improves productivity, performance and profits hit my desk, I was interested to see the author’s view of culture and his interpretation of the latest research. Chris didn’t disappoint. The book takes the reader on a thoughtful overview of culture and shows the practical steps to take to improve yours in record time.”

From Michael McKinney: The GuruBook

“Jonathan Løw created The GuruBook to change, refine, and enhance your thinking. He has curated ideas from 45 internationally–known doers and thinkers on the topics of entrepreneurship, innovation, and authentic leadership.”

Reading recommendations are a regular feature of this blog. Want more recommendations about what to read? Check out my Three Star Leadership blog, Michael McKinney’s LeadingBlog, and Skip Prichard’s Leadership Insights.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Most people think that writing is a solitary task. They imagine you sitting there at your laptop or with a yellow pad and a pen turning out a report, a blog post, or a book. But if you write much, you know that you’ve got people with you all the time. There are three people that live inside your head and make a difference in how well you write. One is your inner critic.

Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic is that voice in your head that tells you how you’re doing. For most of the people I work with, the inner critic tells you that your writing is pretty awful.

The inner critic says, “Who do you think you are?” Or “You can’t write a good book. Don’t even try.” Or “This stuff is awful! I hope no one sees it.” Your inner critic may use different words, but the idea is the same. It’s the inner critic that tells you that “Writing’s hard work, so you might as well not try. Besides, you’re not going to do well anyway.”

When your inner critic pops up, you need to do more than try to ignore it. You want to drive it away and send it to the outer reaches of a galaxy far, far away. Most writers I know who are plagued by a persistent inner critic have developed things that they say when that critic shows up. The one I like best is “Piss off! I’m writing here!”

That’s the most common kind of inner critic, but some people have an inner critic that tells them that “This is great work.” That’s the inner critic that tells you that “This is incredible stuff, we’ll never need revision, it is probably worthy of a Nobel prize.”

Dealing with that kind of inner critic is straightforward. Just take the stuff you’re working on and put it away for a while. “A while” can be an hour, or a day or two, or even a couple of months. Then go back and read what you wrote. When you do that, you’re more likely to notice everything that could be done better. You won’t have to say a word to your inner critic.

Those English Teachers

We owe a lot to our English teachers. They’re the ones who introduced us to literature and helped us learn to prepare and present our ideas. They still live in our heads, where their job is to tell us how we’re doing compared to their standards.

There’s one problem, though. The stuff you wrote for your English teacher was academic stuff. That means you probably learned only a single way to structure a piece of writing. It also means that you put far too much weight on the number of syllables, commas, and literary tricks that always tempt a business writer.

If you’re writing a business book, the best writing is conversational. It’s more like talking to a buddy and less like giving a lecture. Your English teacher doesn’t know that, so he or she keeps telling you that you’re doing it the wrong way. The only way you can overcome their energetic complaining is to remember what good business book writing looks like.

One of my clients did that by putting up a small sign in her writing cave that she could see while she worked. On the sign, it said “Would you say it that way to Tom?” Tom is her husband.

She told me that whenever she was tempted to use flowery language or a phrase like “I have long thought,” she would see that sign and think “If I said that, Tom would laugh.”

The Muse

It’s great to write on a day when your sails catch inspiration and you glide off smoothly, but that rarely happens. Amateurs are sure that great writing springs from inspiration. Great writers know that it’s more about getting to work.

Jack London once said that inspiration was not going to come to you, instead, you had to chase it down with a club. You get to inspiration through work. Good writers don’t wait for inspiration to work.

You’re more likely to get right to work if you end every writing session by planning precisely what you will write next. If that doesn’t work, and you’re stumped, my advice is, start writing. What usually happens is that you write a couple of paragraphs of useless stuff and then, suddenly, you hit your stride.

Bottom Line

Writing is not magic, it’s a craft. If you want to practice that craft and master it, you need to master your relations with those three people that live in your head.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You’re a businessperson. You may not think of yourself as a writer, but you know that writing well can boost your results and your career. Naturally, you want to do better. Every week I point you to articles and blog posts that I think will teach you something or spark an idea or two. The posts are about the intertwined tasks of reading and writing. Some weeks there are more pointers than others.

This week I’m pointing you to posts on writing rituals, questions to ask a self-publishing service provider, and how to behave like an author expert.

From Daphne Gray-Grant: Why you should resist the writing rituals of famous authors

“Clients of mine and others who aspire to write frequently seem to grasp at the habits of famous writers and seek to emulate them. It’s almost as if the aspiring writers believe there’s some magic formula that — if only they could figure it out — would propel them to New York Times bestseller status. Or, at least, help them finish their damn book (or blog post.)”

Book Suggestion: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

Wally’s Comment: As Daphne says, the rituals that work for other writers, even great ones, may not work for you. They’re certainly not magic. But they can provide you with ideas of things to try for yourself.

From The Alliance of Independent Authors: Production: 10 Questions to Ask Self-Publishing Service Provider

“This list of ten key questions will help you navigate the tricky task of choosing the self-publishing services that will help you self-publish your book and reach readers successfully.”

From Sarah Bolme: How to Be an Author Expert

“When you author a book on a particular subject, you become an expert on that subject. In marketing your books, you must accept this and proceed as an expert.”

Sources I Check Regularly

I find the posts and articles that I share with you on The Writing Edge in many places. But there are a few that provide insightful pieces again and again. Here they are.

Alliance of Independent Authors

Ann Handley

Frances Caballo

Jane Friedman

IngramSpark

Jerry Jenkins

Joel Friedlander

Joanna Penn

Kindlepreneur

Michele De Felippo

Penny Sansevieri

Daphne Gray-Grant

Becky Robinson’s Weaving Influence

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Stephen King says that if you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do: read a lot and write a lot. This is about the “read a lot” part. I include reading lists and book reviews that will help you do business more effectively and write better for business.

In this post, I point you to reviews of Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People to Love What They Do, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job, Crack the C-Suite Code: How Successful Leaders Make It to the Top, Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies, and The Go-Giver Influencer: A Little Story About A Most Persuasive Idea.

From Bob Morris: Alive at Work

“In this book, Daniel Cable shares what he has learned from neuroscience that can help leaders to increase the percentage of workers who are alive, ‘who love what they are asked to do.’ Consider this brief passage in the Introduction: ‘Here’s the best part: it may sound crazy, but finding ways to trigger employees’ seeking systems will do more than increase the enthusiasm, motivation, and innovation capabilities of your team. By improving people’s lives, your own work as a leader will become more meaningful, activate your own seeking system. Things will work better for you.’”

From Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith: How Women Can Succeed by Rethinking Old Habits

“Female professionals looking to their next promotion or job should identify the self-limiting behaviors that may stand in the way.”

From Wharton: What Makes a Successful CEO?

“People who aspire to reach the C-suite — and perhaps to become CEO — must deliver strong results along the way, show leadership ability and have the emotional intelligence to embrace the softer side of the business, such as relationship-building and employee welfare. Those are among the attributes that make for successful CEOs, according to Cassandra Frangos, a consultant with executive search firm Spencer Stuart and author of Crack the C-Suite Code: How Successful Leaders Make It to the Top.”

From Kevin Eikenberry: Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies

“Organizational culture is one of the most talked about and written about topics in leadership literature these days. There is good reason this is true: Peter Drucker’s famous line says it best – ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.'”

From Skip Prichard: How to Become a Person of Genuine Influence

“When Bob sent me the early draft of The Go-Giver Influencer: A Little Story About A Most Persuasive Idea, a new installment in the Go-Giver series, I read it that evening. It tells a powerful story and left me with several pages of notes to ponder. And I was honored that he asked me for an endorsement. Since that book is out this week, I reached out to Bob with some questions about his new book and his perspective on the topic of influence.”

Reading recommendations are a regular feature of this blog. Want more recommendations about what to read? Check out my Three Star Leadership blog, Michael McKinney’s LeadingBlog, and Skip Prichard’s Leadership Insights.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the great creative geniuses of all time. In his excellent biography of Leonardo, Walter Isaacson characterizes him as a genius that we can learn from. One of the most important things that we can learn is to get the most from our natural ability to come up with ideas.

Leonardo may have been one of history’s all-time great creative souls, but every human being is endowed with the ability to come up with good ideas. Leonardo offers us a model of how to use that natural ability more effectively.

Capture Those Ideas

If you want to make something of the ideas you get naturally, you must capture them. Otherwise, you forget them way too fast. Wherever he went, Leonardo carried a small notebook with him. He used it to capture his ideas.

You don’t necessarily need a notebook, anything that works for you is fine. You do need some way to capture the ideas you get. A notebook works. So do index cards. My personal tool of choice is a small digital voice recorder. Make sure you have one or two idea-capture tools with you all the time so that when an idea pops out of your head, you can grab hold of it.

Sharpen Your Observation Skills

Leonardo was one of the most acute observers in history. The good news for us is that observation is a skill. That means you can develop it.

Give yourself little observation exercises to help you get better. Observe a situation or a scene for a bit, then try to recall all the details. You may want to follow Leonardo’s example here and develop a shorthand that will help you turn your observations into more detailed thoughts later.

If you decide to observe something specific, like a woodpecker’s tongue for Leonardo, do a little planning first. That’s what he did. Leonardo made notes of specific things he wanted to observe and, sometimes, how to observe most effectively.

Learning to be a good observer will help you find even more ideas. Not only that, they’ll give you much more material to work with when you choose to develop an idea.

Play with Your Ideas

Whatever Leonardo was working on, either for a project or just out of curiosity, he spent time playing with his ideas. He made multiple sketches of the same scene and wrote his changing thoughts about various subjects. Getting an idea and capturing it is only the beginning. To get the most value you can from your ideas, you must develop them. Mostly, you do that by playing with them, tweaking them, changing them, and then doing it again.

Bottom Line

There’s no magic formula that will quickly turn you into Leonardo. In fact, there’s no magic formula that will slowly turn you into Leonardo. But you can get more out of the ideas you get if you follow the same process that he used. It won’t make you a genius, but it will make you a more effective leader and writer.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You’re a businessperson. You may not think of yourself as a writer, but you know that writing well can boost your results and your career. Naturally, you want to do better. Every week I point you to articles and blog posts that I think will teach you something or spark an idea or two. The posts are about the intertwined tasks of reading and writing. Some weeks there are more pointers than others.

This week I’m pointing you to posts on book marketing, power phrases, and a review of free tools for writers.

From Penny Sansevieri: The Best Book Marketing Tool You Probably Aren’t Using

“What if I told you there was an easy and effective way to network with big blogs and big industry names without ever having to leave your house? Maybe you’re thinking ‘oh, I’ll just follow them on Twitter’ and while that’s a good book promotion idea, it’s also passive. Good book marketing requires a more active approach. So, let’s explore how you can do that.”

From Deborah Grayson Riegel: 12 Phrases that Will Make Your Audience Put Down Their Cell Phones and Pay Attention to You

“No matter how topical, relevant or pressing your content is, you’re often fighting an uphill battle for the audience’s attention. Whether their distractions are an internal monologue (‘And just where am I supposed to find the time to teach the new guy how to use our Learning Management System? At midnight? Five in the morning?’) or an external dialogue (‘Those two sitting in the back row will not stop chatting, and I cannot concentrate!’), they need you as the speaker to help catch — and keep — their focus.”

Wally’s Comment: This article is aimed at speakers, but there’s a lot here that writers can use.

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Alexandra Cote: “Pros” and “Cons” of The Best 65 Free Tools for Freelancers

“Whether you’re a freelance designer, software developer, blogger, writer, or marketer, you’ll come across the need to use a diversity of tools to solve your problems. Most of these tools have paid versions too, but you should see for yourself if the extra features are worth paying for.”

Thanks to Dave Chesson for pointing me to this article.

Sources I Check Regularly

I find the posts and articles that I share with you on The Writing Edge in many places. But there are a few that provide insightful pieces again and again. Here they are.

Alliance of Independent Authors

Ann Handley

Frances Caballo

Jane Friedman

IngramSpark

Jerry Jenkins

Joel Friedlander

Joanna Penn

Kindlepreneur

Michele De Felippo

Penny Sansevieri

Daphne Gray-Grant

Becky Robinson’s Weaving Influence

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Stephen King says that if you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do: read a lot and write a lot. This is about the “read a lot” part. I include reading lists and book reviews that will help you do business more effectively and write better for business.

In this post, I point you to reviews of The CEO Next Door, That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) about Working Together, Get Better: Fifteen Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work, The Essentials of Theory U, and The Leader Habit: Master the Skills You Need to Lead in Just Minutes a Day.

From Bob Morris: The CEO Next Door

“The best business books are evidence-driven and that is certainly true of this one. The information, insights, and counsel that Elena Botelho and Kim Powell provide in abundance were generated by wide and deep research that involved about 17,000 leaders with 2,600 examined in much greater depth. Also, more than 9,000 executives at all levels of seniority have taken Seniority, a self-assessment on CEO Genome Behaviors and the current total has been increased to 17,000 and counting.”

Wally’s Comment: See my review of this book here.

From Deborah Unger: Minding the Gender Gap

“In her book on gender disparity in the workplace, journalist Joanne Lipman challenges men and women to overcome unconscious bias.”

From Wharton: The Workplace Culture Chasm: Why So Many Get It Wrong

“One of the biggest challenges in the business world today is developing a collaborative and productive workplace culture that can than boost performance. Organizations are beginning to discover that interpersonal relationships are key to a harmonious office where employees feel good about each other and their work. Todd Davis, whose title is chief people officer for FranklinCovey, has poured more than 30 years of experience in human resources and talent development into his new book, Get Better: Fifteen Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work.”

From Michael McKinney: The Essentials of Theory U

“WE LIVE IN A TIME of massive disruptions. It is a common reaction to this change to organize, reward, and promote, selfishness. Leaders and other change makers feel stuck—unable to redirect the course of events in any significant and constructive way. We are, in Otto Scharmer’s words, ‘collectively creating results that (almost) nobody wants.’”

From Skip Prichard: Develop the Leader Habit

“Martin Lanik is an organizational psychologist and the CEO of Pinsight®, a global leadership software-as-service company known for its disruptive HR technology. His new book, THE LEADER HABIT: Master the Skills You Need to Lead in Just Minutes a Day, shares the science behind how people develop habits and shows you how to develop key leadership skills through simple, daily exercises.”

Reading recommendations are a regular feature of this blog. Want more recommendations about what to read? Check out my Three Star Leadership blog, Michael McKinney’s LeadingBlog, and Skip Prichard’s Leadership Insights.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Phew! Your first draft is done, and it was hard work. It was hard work to do the planning necessary to get a good book idea together, and it was hard work to get everything out of your head and into a file in more or less the right order.

Take a minute to celebrate. Getting your first draft done is a big achievement, but it’s not the end of writing your book. Now it’s time for what everyone says great writing is: rewriting.

The First Draft Is the Worst Draft

No matter how good your first draft is, it’s a long way from that book you’ll be proud of. First-time authors I work with are usually stunned when they get further along in the process and look back at what they had in the first draft. So, it’s okay that you’re going to find things that surprise you in a bad way.

You’re going to do the revisions to create the second draft, identifying key themes, cleaning up your language, and adding research and stories.

Read Your Book Out Loud

The first step in the revision process is to figure out what you need to revise. The best way to do that is to read your book out loud from beginning to end. Yes, I know, it would be easier and faster to read it silently from your computer screen. Don’t do that.

Reading aloud has several advantages. The most important is that your mouth will catch things that your eyes will miss. The other important thing about reading aloud is that it forces you to slow down and concentrate on the words.

Before you start reading, make sure you have a variety of ways to mark things that you want to change. I usually use several colors of highlighters and a couple of different color pens. I capture the ideas I get while I’m reading my manuscript on a digital voice recorder.

Things to Watch For

Obviously, you want to mark grammar and wording changes that you catch while reading aloud. I suggest marking these in two different colors of ink. Use one for grammar or wording changes. Use a different one for ideas about what you could do with the material at this point.

Things to Highlight as You Go
• Promises, such as, “I’ll tell you,” “You’ll learn,” “In this chapter”
• References to other parts of the manuscript
• Statements of fact or research findings
• Quotations
• Proper names

You mark those things, so you can make sure that they are both correct and consistent. Keep your promises. Facts and quotes should be checked to make sure they are properly rendered and properly sourced. Given names and other proper nouns should be checked to make sure that they are properly spelled and spelled the same way every time.

Check the Transitions

When you’re done reading, go through the manuscript again, but this time, just look at the beginnings and ends of chapters. Chapter beginnings should tell the reader what he or she will find in the chapter. The end of chapters should help the reader transition to the next chapter.

Identify the “Red Threads”

“Red Threads” are what I call the important ideas that you want to run through the book, like a red thread in a tapestry. You probably knew some of them when you started the first draft. Since the writing process often leads to discovery, think about whether any red threads should be modified, removed, or added.

Now, Go Thou and Revise!

Your read-through and markup has given you a good analysis of what you have in a manuscript. Now, use those notes and highlights as your guide to create a second draft that’s way better than the first. You’re after a well-written draft with consistent themes that makes your key points concisely and eloquently.

One More Thing

The best business books are written conversationally, the way you would tell it to a friend. You don’t want to sound like you’re trying to be an author. You want to sound like a friend. So, take the advice of Elmore Leonard: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You’re a businessperson. You may not think of yourself as a writer, but you know that writing well can boost your results and your career. Naturally, you want to do better. Every week I point you to articles and blog posts that I think will teach you something or spark an idea or two. The posts are about the intertwined tasks of reading and writing. Some weeks there are more pointers than others.

This week I’m pointing you to posts on self-publishing resources, long-form storytelling, and editing resources.

From Michele DeFilippo: 10+ Resources for Self Publishing Indie Authors

“Authors often ask us for our favorite self-publishing resources and sources of information for writers. Over the years we’ve accumulated some favorites and in researching this article, came across a few new ones as well. Here’s our list of resources for indie authors. Let us know of your favorites and we’ll add them to the list.”

From Ann Handley: Why Marketers Are Embracing Long-Form Storytelling

“We marketers are always experimenting with new content formats and new vehicles. And lately, the trend is moving toward longer pieces and more fleshed-out, substantive ideas.”

From Val Breit: Editing for Frugal Self-Publishers

“So what can you do to have a professionally edited book without spending thousands of dollars? Here are the best frugal tips for getting a talented editor to polish your book for less money.”

Sources I Check Regularly

I find the posts and articles that I share with you on The Writing Edge in many places. But there are a few that provide insightful pieces again and again. Here they are.

Alliance of Independent Authors

Frances Caballo

Jane Friedman

IngramSpark

Jerry Jenkins

Joel Friedlander

Joanna Penn

Kindlepreneur

Problogger

Daphne Gray-Grant

Becky Robinson’s Weaving Influence

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview