13 Daily Disciplines to Transform Write into Wealth

1. Be silently attentive. You need to be the kindergartner during story time that doesn’t fidget, play or pick his nose. You need to be the well-behaved dog with a tilted head, a wagging tail and a look of OH BOY! OH BOY!” awaiting the next command from his owner.

When you create, you sit there with your hands folded in your lap, waiting for instruction and inspiration. Every single day. A quiet, alert witness, attending to the stream of creative thought that floods your veins. Are you growing creative ears?

2. Chase. Pursue words and ideas that haunt you and that you don’t understand. Amplify your deepest curiosities. Then, when you FINALLY catch up with them, you will “get” what they’re supposed to mean. But only if you keep running. What ideas are you chasing?

3. Chronological Creativity. Once you pluck the idea, you plant it like a seed. Then, by filing it away into your brain and (hopefully) on paper, it’s available for harvesting when the time is right.

Then, you come back to it periodically, adding a word or two, subtracting a phrase or three, here and there. Spicing it up. Giving it some sunlight. Watering it with the creative nutrients it needs to eventually blossom. Commencing artistic photosynthesis. Are you a creative farmer?

4. Concentrate white capturing. After observation, you follow the same process with capturing. You write ONE thing. Some line. Or sentence. Or phrase. Or truth. And then you just STARE. Until you see something. Until some image, some related idea comes forth.

Like one of those Magic Eye posters that starts out looking like a bunch of triangles, but eventually looks like a schooner. Are you willing to stare into a vortex of nothingness for fifteen minutes until a speck of creative gold dust finally surfaces?

5. Creativity is cooking. Simmering. Mixing. You mold knead, rework and edit, walking away periodically to your ideas simmer. And each time you do so, you return with a fresh perspective. You also notice that your ideas have expanded. Like a pizza crust in which the yeast has risen, your thoughts have organically grown independently of you.

So, now it’s time to come back and attend to them. Remember: Writing is a coalescence of related fragments. Concocting a potion. Crafting a mosaic of words, phrases and sentences. What are you cooking up?

6. Emotional Transference. You’re writing, and before you know it, as one emotion comes out, ALL your emotions come out. Related or not. Anger hitches a ride with jealousy. Sadness mooches on the coattails of fear. Annoyance hangs on to the bumper of apathy. One bleeds into another.

And I say: The more the better. Just let ‘em out or else they’ll find a home somewhere in your body. Ouch. What unexpected emotion does your writing release?

7. Enter the flow and disappear. You’re so deep, so engrossed, that you lose track of time. You forget things, like lunch. Or that you had a meeting with your friend Karen. Or that you spilled your mug of chamomile tea all over your leg like three hours ago. Or that you have a sprained ankle. (Which ankle was it again?)

It’s just like when you’ve been jamming along to a Black Keys song for sixteen minutes and eventually look down at your strings only to realize they’re caked with blood. As Marvin Bell says, “You’re in flow when you don’t know you’re in pain.” So, enhance the trance. The goal is to forget yourself, yet be aware OF yourself. Psychologically stopping the movement of time. When was the last time you got lost?

8. Just react. Follow your curiosity. Scratch what itches. Respond to your passion by writing in the direction of what shakes you. Allow your essence to lead you and then render the contours of your inner landscape. What are you reacting to?

9. Make multiple impressions. Start by capturing. Get your initial impression of an idea down on paper. Even if it sucks, even if it doesn’t make sense, even if there are holes in its logic. Then, come back to it later and see how it’s different. It might be the idea that’s different; it might be YOU that’s different; it might be the world that’s different.

Either way, when you make your second and third and fourth impressions, the idea grows. It gets richer and more legitimate. But only if you’re patient. How often are you returning TO and enhancing the complexity OF your ideas?

10. Open a vein. Sit down at the page, grab a razor, and cut that beeyoch open. Then, let it bleed onto the page until there is nothing left. Empty yourself of yourself. Let go of your writing. Let it unfold. Release the music that is within you. Crack your inner world open and closely monitor that which oozes out.

Do so until every thought, every emotion and every idea has been liberated. Until you’re woozy and tired. Until you’re anemic and diabetic. Make your readers suspect that Dracula stopped by your office to chomp a hunk out of your neck. That’s how much blood we’re talking about. Do you write with your pen dipped in your own blood?

11. Stillness works. When you hold yourself in a state of alertness, the world quiets down. Your breathing stabilizes. You blood pressure decreases. Then, within that calmness, beauty and truth begin to appear. And eventually, you don’t just start to HEAR things; you start to FEEL things.

These valuable nudges from your unconscious that tug at your coat tails. Pssst! Over here! They say. And as you turn your head, you being to channel that overflowing energy into the rivulets that feed into your personal creative ocean. In breath: Experiences. Out breath: Art. How’s YOUR breathing?

12. Unconscious integration. Defined by yours truly as, “When the natural geometry of your writing self-organizes and distributes without cognitive effort.” You let your mind unconsciously churn away. Laying out all these scraps, these ideas and these modules, as pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, but NOT knowing what the final picture looks like on the front of the box.

Eventually, if your mind has been properly trained and you TRUST it, every once in a while, something will click. Some amazing idea will just spring into your mind. It will only seem to be instantaneous, when in reality it’s taken days, weeks, months, maybe even YEARS of unconscious integration to come together. What puzzle are you not aware you’re putting together?

13. Write THROUGH things. Just like in yoga when you breathe THROUGH a difficult posture, in life you WRITE through a difficult situation. You catalyze your discontent. You slug it out.

You “get behind the mule in the morning and plow,” as Tom Waits sings on his killer record, Mule Variations. You trudge through even your darkest days using your pen as your pickaxe, knowing that eventually, you’ll come out on the other side. Big time. Andy Dufresne style. What gifts and hidden assets lie hidden in your seeming impediments?

How are you transforming write into wealth?

For the list called, “26 Ways to Out BRAND Your 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

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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

Ready to perfect your writing voice?

Cool! Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

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