The Hangout Factor: 16 Secrets for Leveraging Local Networking

If you don’t have a “real” job, keep reading.

Because one the biggest challenges of being a solo practitioner, entrepreneur, independent contractor or self-employed spare-room-tycoon .. is the loneliness.

It sucks.

You have no coworkers, save your dog. You have no employees, save your spouse. And you have few local customers, or if you DO, you don’t see them that often.


You have nobody that’s going to make you get up in the morning. You have nobody that’s going to hold you accountable if you show up 20 minutes late. And you work out of your “home office,” which may or may not double as your living room, garage, basement or linen closet.

DOUBLE bummer.

So, what’s the solution?

THREE WORDS: The Hangout Factor

It’s part marketing, part networking, part positioning, and ALL self-discipline.

As a writer, speaker, coach and entrepreneur, I’ve incorporated this strategy into my business for about seven years now. And I must say, it’s one of the smartest, most lucrative, and most FUN practices I’ve ever implemented.

Here’s what you do:

1. Identity Your Hangout. Find a local coffee shop, restaurant or public meeting place. Consider it your Annex. Choose one that has high traffic, great atmosphere, solid snacks/drinks, wifi and accessible outlets. Be sure to pick a place close to your neighborhood.

Be sure to pick a place that’s rich in creative stimuli. And, make sure your hangout resides in a somewhat centralized location where other businesspeople like yourself might frequent. Where do businesspeople “meet for coffee” in your neighborhood?

2. Plan your schedule. Early birds will show up when the store opens at six or seven, which is a great way to secure the same spot everyday. On the other hand, you may prefer mid-morning or lunch for the highest traffic. Me? I used to go super early in the morning, but now I prefer the afternoon when it’s quiet, yet steady.

Also, don’t overlook the possibility of hanging out during dinner or evening time. You probably won’t get the same type of crowd, so it all depends on what type of business you run and what type of people you hope to meet. What’s your best hangout time?

3. Be busy, yet available. Set up shop with your materials, laptop, iPhone etc. Know what you want to accomplish that day. Remember to stay on task – you’re there to work! Still, remember build in time for regular breaks. Wander around and see who else is there.

My speaker/coaching colleague Richard Avdoian, veteran practitioner of The Hangout Factor says, “Versus the hard-sell or always being the initiator conversation, you build ease and comfort that invites others to approach YOU.”

Now, remember, while productivity is important, part of the reason you implement The Hangout Factor is for networking purposes. So, set a boundary. Be approachable, yet discerning. Are you so busy at your hangout that people are hesitant to approach you? How many relationship opportunities are you missing by wearing headphones?

4. Come prepared. If you’re an artist, bring examples of your work. If you’re a salesperson, have order forms ready to go. If you’re an entrepreneur, have samples of your products in your bag. And of course, always have business cards and other tools in your networking arsenal at your disposal.

Now, that doesn’t mean parade your products around the store like a walking trade show booth. And there’s no reason to over self-promote. Just be ready. You never know. As Avdoian suggested to me when I first started my business, “Through slow, subtle exposure, you create a real presence, yet in a passive way.” Are you ready to pitch at a moment’s notice? What if someone asks for a copy of your book?

5. Reinforce your regularity. Let’s say you decide to hang out at Starbucks, every morning, from 8-11. Cool. So, whenever you meet a new friend at your hangout, always remind them, “Well, I’m usually here most mornings. Feel free to come over and say hey!” Also, when you see people outside of your hangout, let them know where you hang out. “Yeah, you can usually find me over at the Starbucks at Hanley & Wydown most mornings. Stop by some time…”

This makes your presence public, plus keeps you accountable with the knowledge that people will be keeping an eye out for you. The ultimate goal is to cause people to say, “Yeah, I hear he hangs out at that Starbucks a lot…” Who knows where you hang out? Are they going out of their way to come and see you? What if you’re not there that morning?

6. Maintain the right attitude. Lastly, be sure your behaviors don’t reflect the wrong kind of attitude. Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds of people practice The Hangout Factor unsuccessfully. It’s so obvious too. They sell too much. They talk too much. They don’t have fun. They don’t honor other people’s boundaries or respect their time.

Conversely, sometimes people do the opposite. They talk too little. They don’t approach anybody. They bury their nose in their work, headphones in place, creating a wall over which most people aren’t interesting in climbing. So, it’s about finding the right balance for you.

My suggestion: Just relax. Just be cool. It’s called a “hangout” for a reason. So, don’t telegraph neediness. Don’t be flaky. You don’t need to say hi to everybody. You don’t need to give a business card to every person that walks past your table. Just be cool. What do your behaviors broadcast about your attitude?

OK! Now that you’ve seen how The Hangout Factor works, here are ten reminders WHY this strategy is important to you as a solo-practitioner.

1. Visibility. Anonymity is bankruptcy. Anonymity is your greatest barrier to business success. It’s time to stop winking in the dark and start getting visible. And you can only be SO successful if you never leave the house.

So, going to Panera every morning, for example, is a great way to position yourself as a friendly person, a loyal customer, a hard worker and someone who values his community. Plus the French Toast Bagels are ree-diculous. Who knows YOU? What do they know you AS?

2. Daily Appointments. Ever since starting my business at the age of 22, I’ve spent anywhere from fifteen minutes to one hour every single day having a Daily Appointment with Myself. I’ve probably missed ten appointments in seven yeas. And, in my books and speeches, I cite this practice as the absolute, number one, 100% smartest daily practice I’ve ever done in my life, ever EVER.

So, I challenge you to use some of your time at your hangout for your Daily Appointment. How much time do you spend each day just thinking? Are you treating yourself as the most important person in the world?

3. Discipline. Not that you should regiment and routine your days TOO much, but The Hangout Factor will help train your entrepreneurial mind and body. This discipline will eventually become an inseparable part of you and translate into other domains of your life and business.

During the first few years of daily trips to my hangout, I slowly built a strong enough foundation of discipline that it eventually carried over to my writing, exercise and mediation routines. Now I start work at 4 AM every day, no problem. It’s amazing what forcing yourself to be at the same coffee shop at the same time every morning will do for you. What are your non-negotiables? What’s the one ritual you can’t do without?

4. Accountability. Because you don’t have a real job, establishing a specific, consistent hangout regimen will almost force you to show up. That’s always been my favorite part – the sense of purpose you feel. Like you actually have to BE somewhere, as opposed to going from your bed to your shower to your couch.

And if you miss a day, it’s not like the chef is going to storm out from behind the oven to yell at you for being absent. (Although that DID happen to me once.) Still, there IS something to be said about public accountability. It’s like painting yourself into a good corner. Who’s keeping you on task? Who’s kicking your butt?

5. Social Interaction. Once The Hangout Factor becomes a part of your regular schedule, a few immediate patterns start to show up. You meet the other regulars. You get to know the staff. You start seeing people you know pass through. And, you meet new people, too.

So the best part is, all of these encounters combined nourish the part of your self-employed soul that becomes deprived without human interaction.

See, we need connection. We need engagement. We need to touch other human beings. It’s healthy. It affirms your self-worth. It sustains your business. And this is kind of hard to do when you spend most days sitting in your living room, pounding away on your laptop, still wearing your Hello Kitty pajamas as the mid-afternoon sun starts to set. How late did you sleep yesterday? How many times did you leave the house last week?

6. Informing your work. Getting out of the house and into the world is crucial component to supporting, enriching, inspiring and informing your work.

You share ideas, when you bounce them off others for feedback.
You get ideas, as the raw material for your work is everywhere.
You round out ideas, as new experiences add fresh dimensions to existing thoughts.
You change your scenery, which alters your routines and patterns, which stimulates creativity.

Lastly, you become more relatable, infusing a spirit of humanness and ordinariness in your work; created by someone who, himself, is human and ordinary because spends time with OTHER ordinary humans in ordinary places doing ordinary things.

After all, it’s hard to run a business in a vacuum. And your Pit Bull, as sweet as she is, probably isn’t the best focus group for testing our your new company tagline. What inspires your work? How have you allowed your surroundings to fill in the holes of your ideas?

7. Curiosity. If you hang out at the same place – and sit in the same spot – every single day, after a few months, here’s what will happen. Other regulars (and probably some employees, too) will start to approach you out of a sheer curiosity about what you do, who you are, what your deal is. And you will happily tell them!

For example, when I’m at my hangout, I often spread dozens of colored content notecards across the table. This is my unique process for creating modules for upcoming books, speeches, coaching programs and NametagTV episodes. And what’s cool is that (1) everyone notices it, (2) many people watch it curiously, and (3) some people even come over and ask me about it.

See! You don’t need a nametag to be approachable. The Hangout Factor is about repeated impressions and stimulating interest. How are you creating a Point of Dissonance? Who’s coming up to just to find out what YOU’RE doing?

8. DUH! Think about it: If you planned on spending the next three hours checking email, working on proposals, designing a new website or doing simple online work, why stay at home? You may as well be public, be visible and be out there. It could only increase your chances.

That’s what’s great about Hangout Marketing. Remember, L.U.C.K. is an acronym for “Working Your Ass Off.” And if you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. In the words of my favorite songwriter, Glen Phillips, “There is nothing that doesn’t matter. Every word is a seed that scatters. Everything matters.” How many seeds did YOU scatter this week?

9. Intentional Discomfort. Your success as a small businessperson is a function of your willingness to BE – and the amount of time you spend IN – your zone of discomfort. That’s where the learning occurs. That’s where the good stuff happens.

The barrier is that too many of us overlook a strategy like The Hangout Factor because we’re afraid of being out of our element. We’re afraid of not being in control, not being “on stage,” like we would be in a conference room or normal office.

Well, here’s the reality: You can’t choreograph everything. You’ve GOT to embrace unpredictability. That’s what “sticking yourself out there” is all about. The challenge, then, is to intentionally put yourself in situations where you can practice being yourself. Enter into environments that almost FORCE you to practice being natural and human.

After all, that’s the kind of person customers want to do business with. Because people buy people first. How did you step out of your comfort zone yesterday? What five lessons did you learn from that experience?

10. Opportunity. Because you never know. Everybody is somebody’s somebody. So, think of The Hangout Factor as a simple solution for exponentially increasing your activity level. In my experience, I’ve secured coaching clients, made friends, even scored interviews with local media outlets because of the people I’ve met at my hangout.

Also, let us not forget the intangible value. The resulting opportunities you’re never aware of. Colleagues of mine who (also) don’t have real jobs have netted results in the neighborhood of $20,000 of new business, just from practicing this strategy! I wonder what would happen if you started doing it. How many friends did you make today? How many places are YOU in?

OK! Let’s recap two facets of The Hangout Factor.

FIRST, HOW TO DO IT: Identity Your Hangout. Plan your schedule. Be busy, yet available. Come prepared. Reinforce your regularity. Maintain the right attitude.

SECOND, WHY YOU DO IT: Visibility. Daily Appointments. Discipline. Accountability. Social Interaction. Informing your work. Curiosity. Activity Level. Intentional Discomfort. Opportunity.

Got it? Ready to start hanging out?

Cool. Good luck to ya. And if you need me, I’ll be at the Bread Company on Brentwood with a bunch of colored note cards and a bowl of French Onion Soup.

What’s YOUR hangout?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Out ATTRACT Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

How many sales have you lost because you weren’t approachable?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

13 Secrets for Developing Your Personal & Professional Awesomeness

1. Develop burning desire. You have to be on fire or else you will not succeed. You have to sustain an undousable flame in your belly or else you will not survive the cruelty that naturally gravitates to those who boldly venture out of their wussy little boxes. Are you on fire yet?

2. Develop deeper silences. That’s where you hear the good stuff. The stuff this noisy world doesn’t want you to hear. The stuff that tells you the truth about yourself, without fail. Have you done your meditation today?

3. Develop entrepreneurial skill. We’re all entrepreneurs, like it or not. So, it behooves you to become a master of common business practices like marketing, selling, networking and customer service; and not-so-common business practices like leverage, execution, time management and creativity. How many books did you read last month?

4. Develop great timing. Timing is everything. Not just in stand-up comedy or trapeze flying. In business, too. Timing can be the difference between a crash-and-burn website like and a life-changing-money-generating machine like Do you possess know-HOW; or know-WHEN?

5. Develop healthy environments. Ones that are conducive to creativity and favorable to fire starting. Environments that encourage questioning, model patient listening and foster dialogue and community. Would a MBA class on Corporate Culture use your company as a case study?

6. Develop intellectual gravity. By writing a lot. By reading a lot. By hanging out with smart people and asking them muchas preguntas. By observing a lot. By thinking a lot. By writing a lot. Did I say writing a lot?

7. Develop mature judgment. Which, essentially comes from (1) screwing up a lot when you’re NOT mature, (2) having the humility to learn lessons from those experiences, and (3) teaching those lessons to the world. What have you screwed up lately?

8. Develop microscopic vision. Focus is mobilizing. Focus is wealth. Focus wins ballgames. SO: Know who you (uniquely) are; know what you (unqiely) do; know for whom you (uniquely) do it; and know what five practical, unarguable benefits that (uniquely) result. What can you do in the first half of this day to demonstrate focus and unstoppable action?

9. Develop newsworthy content. An article about me was once featured in the USA Today among top stories about fear, death, despair, war, famine and ill-health. My headline read, “Man wears nametag for a friendlier society.” Wow. I guess friendliness is so rare that it’s become remarkable. How are you making the mundane memorable?

10. Develop options continually. The most dangerous answer is the one you’ve convinced yourself is the ONLY answer. Careful. Are you putting yourself into a position where you think you know all the answers?

11. Develop specialized knowledge. That way people (prospects, clients, the media, etc.) start coming to YOU. Not to Wikipedia. Not to Google. To YOU. Because you’re the specialist. You’re The Man. You’re the Go To Guy for this particular topic or industry. What specific topic have you written more articles about than anybody else?

12. Develop unique knowledge. Be known for knowing something. Be known for your questions. Publish the best blog in the world on the specific topic of (x). What does the media consistently come to you for an opinion about?

13. Develop your unpredictability. Be predictably unpredictable. Be a sleeper. Come out of nowhere. Don’t let ’em see ya comin’. Keep people guessing and constantly on their toes. And I don’t mean that fearful, oh-crap-here-comes-the-boss kind of way. Rather, a challenging and exciting presence that shifts the dialogue up when you walk into the room. How predictable are you?

Have you rededicated yourself to personal and professional development this year?

For the list called, “24 Ways to Out GROW Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Add any value to yourself today?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

3 Ways to Make Your Fear of Writing Melt Away Like a August Creamsicle


That’s how many pages are in War & Peace.

Making it one of the longest novels in the history of literature.

This little piece of trivia isn’t exactly obscure. Anyone with access to Google, Amazon or Wikipedia could figure that out in about seven seconds.

But what you might NOT have discovered in your Internet search about author Leo Tolstoy is that during the time it took him to write War & Peace…

…He had 12 children!!!


What’s YOUR excuse for not writing?

Now, I know.

Tolstoy probably wasn’t a great father.
Tolstoy had affairs with his two female serfs.
Tolstoy had an incredibly devoted, caring wife.
Tolstoy lost five of his youngest children to poor health.


Stop justifying. Stop making excuses. Stop getting defensive.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS: You’re not writing.

For example: What did you write today?

ANSWER: Not enough.

If you’re attributing your lack of wring to “lack of time,” then you’re only lying to yourself…

Because it’s not lack of TIME – it’s lack of COURAGE.

And that’s totally cool. Every writer goes through it, myself included.

Look, writing is a scary thing. One of the scariest. As my mentor Bill Jenkins says, “Good writing is like walking across a stage naked.”

And, as Tolstoy himself said, “You write only with your pen dipped in your own blood.”

Even as a professional writer myself, I still get zapped with impulses of creative fear on a daily basis.

And those little buggers hurt.

But “sticking yourself out there” isn’t just something you do in person or on your business card.

It’s something you do on The Page. That blank sheet of paper staring back at you.

So, today I’m going to share three exercises to help you enhance your creative courage.

NOTE: These practices come straight from my own writing experience, all of which have been revolutionary in my own career. They DO work, if you stick ‘em out.

1. Give yourself permission. Permission to write something totally irrational, weird, odd, silly or ridiculous. Permission to capture, express and say ANYTHING, no matter how outrageous, stupid or idiotic it sounds. You don’t have to publish it on your blog or share it with your spouse. You just need to write it.

By doing so, the idea will become public in your mind. This cleansing process will broaden your acceptance of otherwise crazy notions and lay a foundation of confidence in even the most absurd notions. Ultimately, by embracing your creative ridiculousness, you’ll surrender the need to appraise and evaluate everything you write.

EXERCISE: Learn to write Morning Pages.

Coined by one of my writing heroes, Julia Cameron, here’s how they work: You sit down, first thing in the morning, and just PUKE for three pages. No stopping. No editing. No thinking. Just writing. It’s stream of consciousness meditation. It’s a check-in with yourself.

“A psychological holding environment that becomes a gateway to your inner and higher selves,” Cameron says. And these “gripe sessions,” where you work out your grudges, become moments of free association and celebration.

If you’d like to learn more about this invaluable tool (WHICH, I’ve been doing daily for several years and TO which I attribute 90% of my creative success), email and I’ll send you an article that will change your writing practice forever.

REMEMBER: When you work out your mental shanks, you bring forth your creative gold.

2. Remove the threat of rejection. “Nobody will like my writing. Nobody will relate to my writing. Nobody will want to read my writing.”

Sadly, these excuses prevent many writers from EVER putting their work out there. So, I often ask my coaching clients the following:

“Well, what if it wasn’t YOUR writing?”

(At which point they look at me like I’m nuts.)

And I explain: “What I mean is, if your name wasn’t attached to your writing, would you be more likely to share it?”

90% of the time, they say yes.

By writing anonymously (or under a pseudonym), you take yourself out of the equation. You remove the threat of rejection. And this disassociation prevents you from becoming overly defensive when someone reacts negatively (or worse yet, not at all!) to your writing.

EXERCISE: Blog anonymously everyday for six months.

In 2004 when I noticed waning confidence in my writing abilities, I started an anonymous blog. My goal was to write simply for the sake writing. To get better. To have fun. No pressure. No expectations. And, to post ideas, stories and thoughts that I otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to take credit for on my regular blog. (That anonymous blog has since been deleted. Sorry.)

As a result, several cool things happened:

FIRST, I became a more confident writer, simply by writing every day.
SECOND, I became a more comfortable writer, sharing even my craziest thoughts, knowing that nobody knew it was me.
THIRD, I became a more desirable writer, as I slowly attracted readers, comments and support from complete strangers who connected with and enjoyed reading my work.

If you’d like to learn more about the psychology of writing anonymously, email and I’ll send you an article that will change your writing confidence forever.

REMEMBER: When you expect nothing, failure is impossible.

3. Find (the right) people to validate your writing. We writers crave validation. We THRIVE on it. We need people to say, “Great article!” or “I loved your book!” or “This post really got me thinking…” Otherwise, our writing is in vain. May as well be to a brick wall.

The challenge is, we need validation from unbiased sources. Not our parents. Not our friends. Not our partners. But rather, people who have no personal stake in our creative success.

EXERCISE: Today, spend fifteen minutes searching online for writing events in your local community. Pick two or three events to attend each month for the next twelve months. Think of this as your Validation Plan. Your goal is to surround yourself with other successful Creative Professionals who will offer honest, helpful feedback on your work.

Ultimately, whether you choose artists groups, publishing associations or writer’s guilds, just concentrate on finding other people who do what you do and ask them help you do what you do better. Period.

REMEMBER: Decide (wisely) whom you want to listen to.

– – –

Look. As a writer, fear comes with the territory.

Fear of failing.
Fear of being judged.
Fear of exposing your Truth to the world.

MY SUGGESTION: Deal with it. You’re a writer. It’s part of your job description. And if you’re not a writer, it still applies. If you’re a HUMAN, it’s part of your life description.

So, love it that fear. Because it means that you are awakening.
So, channel that fear. Into the words and onto the page.

Ultimately, if you can learn to give yourself permission, find a way to remove the threat of rejection and successfully seek out credible validation for your writing, your creative fears will slowly fade away.


Only if you stop lying to yourself.
Only if you stop making the excuse that you don’t “have time” time write.

REMEMBER: It’s not lack of time – it’s lack of courage.

Even Tolstoy, who had enough children to outfit his own football team, still MADE time to write War & Peace.

What did you write today?

For the list called, “9 Things Every Write Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Terrified to face the page?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program for writers would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 3

Past Posts
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.

Today’s Post
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.

My high school English teacher, mentor and close friend, William Jenkins, is the consummate example of this attribute.

He’s the kind of guy whose presence you value SO much, that when you’re with him, simply “absorbing who he is” is enough.

Whether you’ve taken his class at Parkway North, attended his church in Troy, MO; read any of his gazillion books or enjoyed his conversation, one thing’s for sure: You’re there to listen. You’re there to take notes. You’re there to observe Bill being Bill.

As his students like to call it, “We’ve enrolled in The Jenkins Experience.” Priceless.

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. Ask character questions. Honestly assess: “Are you spending time increasing your talent or increasing your character?” “Have you made it a practice to take full responsibility for your character?” and “What are you biggest character flaws?”

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Sure, you can take your work and your life and your health and your family seriously. But not yourself. Try a little self-deprecating humor once in a while. It grounds you and puts others at ease.

3. Find the common denominator. Make a list called, “10 People Whose Radius I Want To Sit In.” Next, for each person, write down his or her three leading attributes. Then, boil down your list down the Top Five Attributes. Finally, write each of those words on a sticky note and look at them every day for a year.

Who wants to sit in your radius?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Out ATTRACT Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

6 Ways to Make Your Writing More Relevant, Persuasive, Memorable and Creative

FACT: If you’re a writer and you’re using Oprah as an example of “effective personal branding,” you’re not a very creative writer.

Nobody can relate to Oprah.

In the history of the world, nobody ever has, nor ever will, be able to relate to Oprah.

I don’t care how “regular” she claims to be on her show. She simply has too much money, too much power and too many fans to be relatable to ordinary people like you and me.

I don’t care what her Wikipedia entry says. Oprah is not of this Earth. She is a cyborg from planet Zoltar, and she does not live in a world of reality. Therefore, your readers will not learn ANYTHING about personal branding from her.

Please excuse the rant. I have nothing personal against Oprah. I mean, I don’t watch her show or read her magazine, but I DO recognize and respect her stratospheric level of success as an entrepreneur.

But this isn’t about Oprah. I could just as easily have used Tiger Woods, Donald Trump, Lance Armstrong or Richard Branson as “examples of poor examples.”

This is about lazy writers who lack the originality to use unique, relatable and real-world material…

If you want to establish a unique voice as a writer, you need to pull material FROM, and cite examples USING multiple, eclectic and personal sources.

If you practice this approach regularly, the following six things will happen:

1. You’ll make your material and your voice more UNIQUELY YOURS. Fine. There’s nothing new under the sun. As a writer, you get that. The question then becomes: How can you give people new EYES instead of new landscapes?

Your goal is to provide your readers with a new lens, a new philosophy and a new approach to an old idea. Same skeleton, different skin.

TRY THIS: Writing a book about branding? Don’t cite Coca-Cola, Martha Stewart and Apple as an example. Instant Tune Out. Every writer has done that; every reader knows they’re among the best in the world.

Instead, use the eccentric owner of your local dry cleaners that everyone in your neighborhood LOVES. It would be more interesting, more inspiring and more believable.

2. You’ll make your material and your voice more RELEVANT. My mentor and Hall of Fame Speaker Jeffrey Gitomer said, “Your audience needs to think to themselves: I believe it, I can do it and I’d like to try it.”

That’s relevancy. That’s hitting home with your readers. The challenge is not alienating your audience by using impersonal, impossible and impractical examples.

TRY THIS: Writing a blog post about compassion? Don’t use Buddha or Jesus or The Dali Lama as your model. Instant Amateurism. Every writer has done that; every reader knows they’re the consummate examples in history.

Instead, quote the twenty-year veteran Special Ed teacher at your kid’s high school. It would be more digestible, more relatable and more human.

3. You’ll make your material and your voice more PERSUASIVE. Interpersonally, people stop listening to each other for many reasons. One of them is when the listener’s brain tells them, “Oh, you’ve heard this before.”

So, because writing is a form of conversation – or at least, it SHOULD be – the same rule applies. You need to keep readers guessing. Break their patterns. Violate their expectations. And you need to do this regularly, as the human attention span is about six seconds. (Which translates into about FOUR lines of written words.)

Therefore, when your examples, quotations and stories depict experiences and individuals that nobody saw coming, you capture their attention and interest, which makes you more persuasive. In the words of famed author Elmore Leonard, “If you want to be a good writer, leave out the parts people skip.”

TRY THIS: Writing about famous pearls of wisdom? Don’t quote Shakespeare, Rumi or Emerson. Instant Unoriginality. Every writer has done that; every reader knows they were the smartest people who ever lived.

Instead, use your mentor, your childhood baseball coach or, God forbid, quote YOURSELF! That sounds more personable, more valuable more brandable.

4. You’ll make your material and your voice more MEMORABLE. I read about five books a week. Naturally, I notice many writing patterns. And if I have to read the SAME damn Einstein quotation, the SAME simplistic car motor metaphor for leadership or that SAME stupid story about those two Zen monks on a bridge, I swear to God I’m going rip out that page of the book and use it to paper cut my cornea.

Examples like these are unoriginal, uncreative, and uninspiring. Either get a new story, or get ghostwriter.

TRY THIS: Writing about inspiration? Don’t tell the story about where you were when 9-11 happened. Instant Eye Roller. Every writer has done that and every reader is tired of reliving that horrid event.

Instead, tell a story about one of your Grandpa’s classic one-liners. Or that time your dog peed on the cat. Or an unforgettable childhood moment with your kindergarten teacher that continues to inspire you forty years later. That sounds more remarkable, repeatable and humorous.

5. You’ll make your material and your voice more WIDELY-APPEALING. In his book, The Invaluable Leader, my friend Dale Furtwengler suggests, “Gain an eclectic education. Expose your mind to things outside your normal areas of interest or discipline so you can connect with your readers quicker.”

Your challenge is to infuse your writing with the ideas you’ve learned through your eclectic education.

TRY THIS: Writing about marketing? Don’t regurgitate that same story about Budweiser or McDonald’s or Nordstrom’s. Instant Channel Changer. Every writer has done that and every reader has heard enough about those companies.

Instead, share marketing lessons you learned from attending church, running in a marathon or knitting a sweater. That sounds more engaging, interesting and appealing.

6. You’ll make your material and your voice more CREATIVE. Creativity is about making connections between unexpected or seemingly unrelated things. So, if your “hot” new ebook on management does nothing but york a bunch of Tom Peters and Peter Drucker quotations all over the page, I’m sorry, but, you are not a very creative writer.

For example, in my books and articles about growing bigger ears (listening), I often share quotations from my yoga instructor about non-anticipation.

In my video modules about approachability, I’ll incorporate ideas I learned from my hypnotherapist about relaxation.

And when I give workshops about the writing process, I always play unexpected songs by my heroes, Chris Whitley and Mark Sandman, two obscure (and deceased) artists.

TRY THIS: Writing a module about spousal communication? Don’t bore your readers with that obligatory “love is patient, love is kind” verse from 1 Corinthians. Instant snoozer. Every writer has done that and every reader who’s ever attended a wedding probably has that scripture memorized.

Instead, quote a memorable episode from Everybody Loves Raymond. That sounds more relatable, humorous and unexpected.

REMEMBER: The more specific, personal and unexpected your examples are; the more uniquely yours, relevant, persuasive, memorable, widely appealing and creative your writing will become.

In closing, I challenge you to meditate on the words of Kurt Vonnegut: “If you want to be a great writer, be a great date for your reader.”

Why are you still using Oprah as an example in your writing?

For the list called, “9 Ways to Out Write the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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The ONE Question Every Entrepreneur Must Ask

What did you used to build as a kid?

Lego houses? Popsicle stick sculptures? Bunk-bed spaceships?

In my family, we built forts. Give us a few blankets, a couple of chairs and an afternoon to kill, and my brother and I were SET.

Structurally, they didn’t always work out the way we planned.

Apparently stacking seven bar stools upside down on top of a porcelain elephant lacked the architectural integrity to withstand the force of two young boys hopped up on juice boxes and Pixie Sticks.

OK, so, we weren’t exactly engineers. But we had fun. Building forts was creative, adventurous and educational – even sometimes a little dangerous.

Of course, that was a long time ago. Now my brother and I are all grown up. Well, at least one of us is.

Anyway, it recently occurred to me that our desire to build is something we unintentionally forfeit as adulthood slowly suffocates our childlike creativity.

And so the challenge for growing entrepreneurs and businesspeople revolves around a simple, yet powerful question…

What are YOU building?

Hang on there, Speedy. Read that question again. Allow it to profoundly penetrate you.

What are YOU building?

When I conduct workshops for some of my smaller-sized clients, it’s fascinating to go around the room and ask this question to each person.

For example, last year during a training session with a group of State Farm recruiters, one audience member replied with, “I’m building an empire!”


How cool would it be to have a salesperson with that kind of attitude working for YOU?
How cool would it be to have that kind of attitude yourself?

SO, HERE’S THE CHALLENGE: Take some time this month to start thinking about how you might answer the crucial question, “What are you building?”

To get you started, here’s a list of thirteen entrepreneurial elements that I’ve personally built into my own businesses as a writer, speaker and coach. I encourage you to use these examples simply as template for your professional life, hoping that perhaps your childlike sense of adventure and creativity will sparked once again:

1. Build a following. Don’t sell a product – start a movement. Don’t make money – make history. Find your fans. Deliver value regularly. Thank them often. Sell to them occasionally. But only do this if you have inexhaustible passion. Only do this if you’re willing to stick yourself out there, every day, for a few years, before anything big happens. How many fans do you have? How are you (regularly) staying in front of them with a value message?

2. Build business organically. That means blogging. That means Tweeting. That means individual tethering, one fan and one conversation at a time. That means letting go of your ego’s need to “launch big” and just sort of show up on people’s radars. What’s your Weekly Internetworking Plan? How could you come out of nowhere?

3. Build in fun. Wait. Is there a point to doing ANYTHING unless it’s fun? No way man. Gotta play. Gotta smile. Gotta romp. Fun is fundamental. Fun is required. If you’re not having any fun, neither are your customers. And if your customers aren’t having any fun, they can easily Google some other guy who will make that happen. Are you someone that would be fun to be around in a tense situation? Does conflict dissolve around you?

4. Build intellectual capital. Mold your melon. Exploit your brain. Stop watching Law & Order and read a book for god’s sake! Then, write. You will learn more. Then, teach, you will learn even more. Intellectual capital is an asset, just like money and buildings. How much brain equity do you have? How much time did you spend exercising your mind yesterday?

5. Build it BIG. Bigger is beautifuller. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or hire a lot of people. BIG is state of mind, not a size. BIG is a way of life, not a description. Plus, small becomes big. Small prepares big. So, dream only big and you’ll become only big. Have you affirmed your bigness? Have you defined what “bigness” means to you?

6. Build new learnings. By creating an environment where learning stressed. By doubling the learning in every experience through reflection. By preserving your learning through writing. By practicing your learning through daily actions. Remember, learning leads to earning. What did you learn last month? Where did you record that wisdom? And how many people have you taught those lessons to yet?

7. Build permission assets. Because customers are in charge, not you. Because customers are working extra hard to ignore your marketing. Because customers are controlling how much attention they (choose) to give to you. Whatever business you think you’re in, you’re not in. Face it: You’re in the name accumulation business. How many subscribers do you have? How many people are anticipating your marketing?

8. Build personal mastery. Tiger Woods, The Beatles and Tony Robbins – what do they all have in common? 10,000 hours. That’s how much they practiced before they could rightly call themselves Masters. That’s the magic number, according to Outliers, Malcom’s latest book on the indicators of success. Now, if you do the math, that number adds up to about ten years. Ten years of practicing. Ten years of working your ass off. Ten years of getting up early. Ten years of impossible patience. Yikes. Hope you’re ready. Do you start each day practicing? How many hours will you practice today?

9. Build possibility tracks. It’s all about leverage. Killing two stones with one bird, whenever and wherever you can. All you have to do is ask yourself the following question, every day: “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” Potential is colossal. Recognize it. Embrace it. Exploit it. What else could this become? What type of business COULD you be in?

10. Build professional equity. No, not all that corporate/financial/real estate mumbo jumbo. I mean brand equity, as a function of your marketing efforts. Creative equity, as a function of your brain. Content equity, as a function of your body of work. Relationship equity, as a function of your personal and professional network. Reputation equity, as a function of what The Google says about you. How many different types of equity do you have? What new categories will you add this year?

11. Build profitable relationships. Profit meaning money. Profit meaning learning. Profit meaning attention. Profit meaning access. Profit meaning visibility. Profit meaning awareness. Profit meaning memorability. That’s how powerful relationships are. SO: The more friends you have, the more people you know – and the more people who know YOU – the more profit will soar. How are you using your listening skills to begin relationships? What’s your system for keeping your relationships alive? Where can you make the greatest contribution in those relationships?

12. Build your altar. This word comes from the Latin adolere. Which means, “To ritually burn.” Wow. Ever thought about your business in that way? I hope so. Because when it comes to building something, starting movement and creating some REAL change in the world, fire is the secret. Passion is the answer. So, let yourself burn. Smolder some gravel. Nurture internal fires. How’s your online altar? What have you set on fire today? And how many people have you invited to hold your hand to trot on hot coals together?

13. Build your boundaries. If you don’t set them, other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them. And then they will tell their friends to do the same. And it will be YOUR fault. Remember: Boundaries are saviors. Boundaries bring order. Boundaries create freedom. Who is currently violating your boundaries? How good are you at saying no? And what would it cost you NOT to stand up for your boundaries right now?

One question. Four words. Infinite possibilities.

What are you building?

For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

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How To Structure Your Day So You Become Unstoppable

If you want to learn a LOT about someone quickly, just ask that person to take you through her daily routine.

Nothing is more revealing.

GREAT EXAMPLE: During a recent coaching call, my client explained that her biggest challenge as an entrepreneur was translating her overflowing passion, energy and ideas into tangible things.

In short: Taking Action.

“Heidi, can you take me through a typical day for you?” I asked.

“Uh, I don’t really have one,” she said.

Well, there’s your first problem, I thought.

“I mean, I DO get up early so I can exercise and meditate before work,” she said.

“Fantastic. What else?”

“Well, after work I usually have dinner with my friends, then relax and do some reading before going to bed.”

“Cool. OK, now, tell me more about what you do in between those two things.”

“I don’t know … uh, I only have a few clients, and I work with them sort of whenever they need me. But most of the time I just play around on the Internet all day.”


I’m not going to finish that story, as you can imagine what I said to her next. You can also imagine what I wanted to say to her next, which I didn’t.

Instead, let’s extract the key lesson from this example…

How you spend your day – literally, hour by hour – will determine how much money you make, how happy you are, how healthy you are and how successful you become.

I’d always believed in this philosophy, ever since starting my company in 2002. But it was cemented into my head when I started reading John Maxwell, namely Today Matters and Make Today Count. To quote from the latter:

“The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. What you become is a result of what yo do today.”

That’s why I’m constantly shocked when my fellow writers and entrepreneurs – ESPECIALLY the ones who work from home – don’t have an immediate answer to the question, “What’s your daily routine?”

See, when you don’t have a REAL job, you almost have to force yourself to create a typical day. Otherwise you’ll go bat shite. Otherwise you’ll accomplish NOTHING. Otherwise your time will manage YOU.

Now, that’s not to say you should regiment and choreograph your every waking hour. The challenge is designing a typical day FOR YOU, which enforces (some) structure and predictability, while still leaving room for spontaneity and playfulness.

Let’s examine five “Daily Doses” that you can customize to best fit your personal and professional style. Each of these examples is a practice I’ve been incorporating into my daily routine for years, so I share them with you for one simple reason: THEY WORK.

1. Assess your daily needs. If you plan to implement a daily routine, make sure it revolves around your values, priorities and goals. Not around what all your colleagues are doing. Not around what some ten-year old book on Time Management told you to do. Around YOU. Take some time this week to list your answers to the following questions:

o When is your peak creative time?
o What motivates you to take action?
o What are your personal non-negotiables?
o What are your professional non-negotiables?
o What do you have to do a little of every day to get to your goal?
o If you only had two hours to work each day, what would you do?
o What is the maximum number of hours you can work in one day before you go crazy and your family is ready to kill you?
o What is the minimum number of hours you can work in one day that will (still) allow you to earn enough money to eat food that doesn’t begin with Mc?

THE DAILY DOSE: Not only are you the most important person in the world, you’re also the ONLY person in the world who values your time. How are you rededicating yourself to personal excellence daily?

2. Begin with practice. How much energy are you putting into your basic training? How long did you practice yesterday? Answer: Not enough. Practice isn’t something you just do for twenty minutes a day. Practice is EVERYTHING. It’s a noun, a verb and an adjective. It’s about the process, not the product. It’s about the journey, not the destination. It’s about deepening and enhancing, not achieving and bettering. So, regardless of when your prime creative time is, always start your day practicing. For example:

o If you’re a writer, honor those first waking thoughts. Get them down in your journal without judgment or evaluation.
o If you’re a consultant, start your day by preparing yourself to listen. Wake your ears up so they’re ready to receive your clients.
o If you’re a musician, buy a decent alarm clock that lets you wake up to a playlist on your own Ipod. Let the music penetrate your soul right away.

THE DAILY DOSE: Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes PROFIT. What are you practicing?

3. Get a hangout. The smartest thing I ever did in my first two years as a home-based entrepreneur (by which I mean “my PARENT’S home”), was force myself to be at the coffee shop every morning at 7:00. This routine made me get dressed, helped me feel like I had somewhere to go, and enabled me to (slowly) build a foundation of discipline. I call this practice “The Hangout Factor.” And if you’re the kind of person who can only sit in your living room in your pajamas for so long, here are six steps to incorporate this element into your daily routine:

o Identify. Where do businesspeople “meet for coffee” in your neighborhood? Go there. Be seen there.

o Plan. What’s your best hangout time? Could be morning, could be lunchtime or could be afternoon. Take your pick.

o Attitude. What do your hangout behaviors broadcast about your attitude? Don’t telegraph neediness. Don’t be a shameless self-promoter. Just be cool.

o Availability. How many relationship opportunities are you missing by wearing headphones? Be busy, but be approachable. You never know.

o Preparation. Are you ready to pitch at a moment’s notice? Have networking tools ready to go at your hangout.

o Regularity. How many people know where you always hang out? Become known for hanging out there. Be easy to find there.

THE DAILY DOSE: Your daily routine needs to involve activities that increase visibility, foster social interaction and reinforce discipline and accountability. What’s your hangout?

4. Meet up. Because you don’t have any coworkers, you almost have to go out of your way to have face-to-face contact with others. That’s why the Hangout Factor is so cool. And beyond that, lunches, networking events, coffee meetings and mastermind groups are also perfect venues to satisfy your craving for human interaction. What’s more, knowing that you’re going to meet your friend and fellow entrepreneur, Stacy, every Monday at 10:00 AM at Starbucks, for example, is an excellent measure of accountability. Just remember these two caveats:

o Set healthy boundaries. As a recovering lunch whore, I’ve learned firsthand the danger of saying yes to every random invite. You must train yourself to become welcoming, but choosey. Before accepting, always ask yourself: Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used? If it starts to become a problem, you could always charge a fee for your brain. That’s what I do.

o Activity isn’t results. Too many entrepreneurs trap themselves an unproductive routine of pointless meetings and lunches that do nothing but enable procrastination. So, before accepting, always ask yourself: Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal?

THE DAILY DOSE: Don’t eat lunch at the desk in your living room. Seek out people who share your self-employed pain and meet with them regularly. Just not too much. Who are you scheduled to meet for lunch this week?

5. Mix structure with spontaneity. Routine is healthy. Routine prevents insanity. Routine curtails procrastination. On the other hand: Spontaneity is necessary. Spontaneity sparks creativity. Spontaneity releases stress. Your challenge is to discover a healthy dose of both elements, aligning them with your values, priorities and passions. For a daily routine that keeps you on point with your goals, yet doesn’t inhibit your inner child from playing joyfully, consider these two practices:

o Ritualize your routine. Rituals are centering practices that tell your unconscious to get to work. They also heighten the feeling of importance in your work. So, let’s say that every morning, your practice begins when you sit down at your desk at 6:45 to write. Cool. Before plunging into the page, consider taking five minutes for a few breathing exercises, a short incantation or invoking of The Muse.

o Take Mini-Vacations. At random points during the day, take anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours to just play. No work. No nothing. Play your guitar, read a non-business book, walk your dog or meditate. Then, return with strength and freshness. #1 Best Lesson I Learned in 2008.

THE DAILY DOSE: Balance is bunk. Alignment is awesome. What kind of structure can you place around yourself to make sure you remember to do that consistently?

OK, fellow Spare Room Tycoons, let’s recap…

1. Assess your daily needs. How are you rededicating yourself to personal excellence daily?
2. Begin with practice. What are you practicing?
3. Get a hangout. Where can people usually find you?
4. Meet up. Who are you scheduled to meet for lunch this week?
5. Mix structure with spontaneity. What kind of structure can you place around yourself to make sure you remember to do that consistently?

REMEMBER: How you spend your day – literally, hour by hour – will determine how much money you make, how happy you are, how healthy you are and how successful you become.

So, stop playing on YouTube and go DO something!

How could you structure your day so you become unstoppable?

For the list called, “66 Questions to Prevent Your Time from Managing YOU,,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Just starting your company?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on growing in 2009!

The Only Networking Article You Need to Read This Year

In ONE word: Relax.
In TWO words: Be prepared.
In THREE words: Ask better questions.
It FOUR words: Any time, any place.
In FIVE words: Incorporate passion into the conversation.
In SIX words: Develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships.
In SEVEN words: Articulate what you do quickly and memorably.
In EIGHT words: Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen.
In NINE words: Encourage people to approach you by being The Observed.
In TEN words: Right place in right time means being in many places.

How would you rewrite this networking lesson for your business?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competitors,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Hire The Nametag Guy here!

Hooray! It’s 2009…


That’s the sound of a refreshing start to a new year.

Took a week off to relax so I could accomplish NOTHING. I feel great. Hope you do too.

Still, it’s great to be back .Just wanted to list a few announcements for some cool upcoming stuff:

1. Podcast. I did a fun, informative interview about creativity with Jim Kukral from Blend This Book. Jim’s a totally cool, smart dude. He’s got some great Internet marketing ideas for entrepreneurs and small biz folks.

2. PaisleyPlanet/PaisleyBlog. My dog finally got her website and blog up and running. I hounded her (no pun intended) for a long time, and although her busy schedule of sleeping, eating and wiggling was a bit interrupted, she finally came through.

3. Television. My friend David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top interviewed me for his latest episode, airing locally in St. Louis Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 AM CST on KDNL-ABC30. Also available online, video coming soon.

Also, here’s a few things to look for in 2009 from me…

*Stick Yourself Out There: My first hardcover book yet!
*Grow Bigger Ears: My first in a series of programs about listening.
*NametagTV Premium: My new subscription channel entrepreneurs who are serious about sticking themselves out there.

It’s gonna be a great year!

What three things will you do differently this year?

For the list called, “37 Things NOT to Do This Year,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

19 Unarguable Reasons to Make Writing Part of Your Life

Writing might be the single most important act anyone could practice.

For your business, for your brain, for your heart, for your soul, for your body and for your life. Writing is everything.

Now, I may be a little biased, as my occupation is a writer.

But that shouldn’t matter. Everyone should write. Everyone CAN write. Everyone must write.

Even if you’re not that good. Even if you never publish anything. Even if you don’t like what you produce. There are some things in life that are just too healthy and too important to avoid, like exercise and chocolate and sex.

Well, writing is one of those things. Writing is everything. So, I put together this list of the twenty-three elements inherent in ALL writing. Use this list as a guide to enhance your own writing practice. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer.

1. Writing “rights” things. Because it clarifies. Because it releases. Because it is filled with the spirit of God. Because it’s fueled with love and passion and raw emotion. Once your thoughts and emotions and pains and dreams exit your head and find a home one the page, they become public in your mind. Even if nobody ever reads it, the therapeutic, cleansing nature of writing is one of the healthiest ways to “right” something. What do you need to let out?

2. Writing rewards practice. The more you write, the better you get. The better you get, the more you want to write. This cycle goes on forever. I call it “The Circle of Write.” The challenge is, only works if you practice it. That means every day. EVERY day. Have you written today?

3. Writing Advice: Finish. If starting is the hardest part, finishing is a close second. So, face the fact that it’s never going to perfect. It’s never even going to be “done.” You’ll always want to add and subtract and improve and edit. Learn to let that go. It is what it is. Eventually there comes a time when you have to throw up your arms and declare, “The hay is in the barn.” What have you finished lately?

4. Writing brings clarity. You don’t know what you know or believe or feel about anything until you’ve written about it yet. You also haven’t mastered anything until you’ve written about it yet. Writing is your baseline. Make it the first place you go. How are you using the page to clarify your thoughts?

5. Writing intensifies impact. Got a big speech coming up? Having an important discussion with your kids tonight? Write it first. Just sit down and puke out everything that’s on your mind. That doesn’t mean, “prepare a script.” You don’t even have to keep the document if you don’t want. It’s about the process. The catharsis.

And I promise you, this exercise ALONE will immediately double the impact of your message. Your thoughts – now clarified and strengthened – will be etched upon your consciousness forever. And when the time is right, IF you learn to trust your inner resources, all you have to do is tap that reservoir of Truth and let the words flow. Have you written about it first?

6. Writing is alchemy. Famed alchemist Jean Dubuis remarked, “Alchemy is the art of manipulating life, and consciousness in matter, to help it evolve, or to solve problems of inner disharmonies.” That’s what writing does for you. It gives you permission to swish and swirl your ideas on the page, allowing the self-organizing system of creativity to generate an antidote. What are you turning your problems into?

7. Writing is listening. To your mind. To your heart. To your Muse. To your inner voice. To your gut. To the voices in your head. Think of yourself as a journalist. A note-taker. A court stenographer. Getting down whatever is dictated to you, trusting that what gets written is what WANTED to be written. Whom (or what) are you listening to?

8. Writing is medicine. The health benefits of writing have been proven time and time again. Best-selling books on the subject like Writing Down the Bones, The Artist’s Way, If You Want to Write, Writing to Heal and The Writing Diet cite dozens of these studies, none of which I can remember or feel like looking up. The point is: Writing is the great healer. I know this from my own practice as well as the lives of my clients, colleagues and loved ones. Writing is healthy. Period. How are you using writing as therapy?

9. Writing is non-negotiable. It’s right up there with exercise and meditation on my list of “Things I MUST Do Every Day.” It’s a non-negotiable because it’s beyond habit, beyond discipline. It’s something you just do. Without thinking. Without contemplating. It just happens. You can’t (NOT) do it; people couldn’t pay you (NOT) to do it, and you can’t imagine living without it. What are your non-negotiables?

10. Writing is power. Over your emotions. Over your competitors. Over your demons. Over your past. The pen is mightier – and better, and stronger and more effective – than the sword. Swords are for losers. Writing is for winners. Powerful people write. Period. How are you using writing to put yourself in a greater position of power?

11. Writing is prayer. The word “prayer” comes from the Latin precari, which means, “to ask earnestly or beg.” That’s exactly what you’re doing when you sit down to write. You earnestly ask the page – and yourself and your Muse and your heart – to speak to you. Hell, you’re just there to take notes anyway. So, you just pray, listen and capture. That’s writing in a nutshell. Three steps. The challenge is finding your own unique ritual to invoke those power sources.

Personally, I recite the following incantation every morning before I write ANYTHING: “I am completely stopping … I embrace this moment … I expect nothing … I am richly supported … I trust my resources … I am equal to this challenge … I am ready to write…” If you’d like to learn more about this process, read Ten Zen Seconds by world-famous Creativity Coach, Eric Maisel. How are you transforming your writing practice into a spiritual practice?

12. Writing is rewriting. Always honor and capture your first rising thoughts. They contain truth and beauty and innocence and power. Still, rewriting is an essential component to your practice. I suggest waiting at least 24 hours before doing so. Here’s why: (1) you ALLOW your subconscious to go to work while you’re doing other tasks, digging up new ideas that were impossible to access initially, (2) you RETURN to your writing fresh, enabling you to see things you missed the first time around, (3) you’re READY to trim, distill and whittle down your work to the essence, removing extraneous words and ideas, and (4) you EXIST in a different state of mind than before, permitting new perspective to flourish. What did you (re)-write today?

13. Writing is self-communication. You can’t LEAD others unless you lead yourself first. You can’t LISTEN to others unless you listen to yourself first. You can’t TEACH others unless you teach yourself first. You get the point: Start with yourself. Ask yourself first. Consult your gut. Trust your own judgment before anyone else’s. Self-communication. That’s what writing is. Have you talked to yourself on paper today?

14. Writing is waiting. That’s why most writers are absurdly patient. Sometimes, when a KILLER idea for a new story or module or character comes to you, you’re not always ready to write about that thing yet. So, you capture the essence of your idea, save it and store it. And then you just wait. That’s it. And what kind of sucks is, you have NO idea when that particular idea will be ready for cultivation. All you can do is wait for it to speak to you, on its own terms. As a writer (excuse me, as a LISTENER) your job is write what wants to be written, when it wants to be written. Writing is waiting. How patient are you willing to be?

15. Writing requires intimacy. That’s what scares a lot of people away from it. Writing, as I define it in my workshops and with my coaching clients is: “Sitting down every day, slicing open a vein and bleeding your Truth all over the page.” I know. Kind of intimidating, huh? But that’s the reality. At least, that’s the reality of GOOD writing. The challenge is being able to confront your Truth. The challenge is courageously becoming very, VERY familiar with yourself. How well are you willing to know yourself?

16. Writing requires steps. In my program, Write into Wealth, I teach writers about the ENTIRE writing process. Content Generation, Content Management and Content Delivery. Here’s a quick summary: (1) SCANNING – Listening, Noticing, Foddering, Freezing; (2) PLUCKING – Extracting, Yoinking, Grabbing; (3) GROWING – Assumption Recasting, Dimensioning, Breeding, Puking, Bathtubbing, Synthesizing, Tourniquetting; (4) ROUNDING – Chronologizing, Simmering, Kneading, Metabolizing, Etching, Incubating, Reservoiring. Now, those words might mean NOTHING to you. In fact, most of those steps aren’t real words – I invented them for my own program. But, just so you know, that’s a sample of the different steps in my writing process. Have you chronicled the different steps in yours?

17. Writing teaches everyone. Even the smartest guy in the room will learn something about himself, about others and about the world, if he simply sits down and releases his first burning thoughts. Writing is the great teacher, and it’s inside each one of us, waiting for class to start. What are you allowing to mentor you?

18. Writing transforms pain. Into love. Into stories. Into awakenings. Into lessons. Into learnings. Into gold. Into light. Into that which is positive and beautiful and good. Writing, besides being a great teacher, is also a great Alchemist. Using your pain as the base metal, mixing that with the spirit of the divine, then coming out with something shiny and gorgeous. What are you turning your problems into?

19. Writing untangles threads. Especially when you learn how to make Puke Lists. Vomiting out every single thought in your head in a bullet-point list treats all ideas with deep democracy. It allows the inherent geometry of an idea set to unfold on its own without your intervention. The challenge is, you’re kind of like the magician caught in a straightjacket: If you freak out and let your emotions take over, you forget to breathe and are never able free yourself. On the other hand, if you relax into it, allowing the natural patterns to work out their own problems, the threads will untangle themselves. What do you have in your head that requires untangling?

What did you write today?

For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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