Sovereign Standard, Issue 29
There are so many blogging gurus and “easy peasy” blogging plans out there. I’ve never claimed to be a blog expert and I will never tell you that writing is an easy process that you can hack through.
Instead, I call myself a writing coach and I promise to guide you and walk beside you through what can only be called a dedicated practice of writing for business.
Yes, there are specific strategies that will make your blogging more effective - and will shorten the writing time. You can even shorten the editing process when you bring it to someone like me!
And yes, you might say there are blogging “tricks” that help you create posts that are really special - not because you’re pulling a fast one but because you’re working your own kind of magic.
You don’t need blogging tricks, but a little magic is always helpful
Something you should know about me: I believe in magic.
Mostly, I believe in magic because I have no interest in living in a "what you see is what you get" world. I believe in the magic of stories, symbols from nature, and the depths of dream.
I also believe that magic flows when you focus your intention and attention. That’s exactly how words and sentences flow too.
You don’t need tricks to make your writing practice work for you and your business. You need a strong intention and you need to give your writing the attention it deserves.
[tweetthis]Magic flows when you focus your intention and attention. Same is true for your #writing.[/tweetthis]
Before you write a word: begin with intention
When you sit down to create content for your blog, what motivates you?
- You’re trying to keep up with those “epic content dudes” who tell you that modern business is about publish or perish.
- You’re fulfilling a promise to your coach or some sort of accountability group.
- A general case of the “shoulds.” You’re not even sure why you’re blogging, but you figure you better get started because you’re already so far behind.
- You wish to explore a long percolating idea or a sudden flash of insight. Taking these ideas beyond scribbled notes and Word docs and into the public arena deepens the process and opens new perspectives.
- You’re writing out of love and service, trusting that the people who need to hear your message will offer your words the attention they deserve.
Because this is a post about a writing practice guided by personal intention and attention, there’s no single right answer.
There are, however, a few very wrong answers – if your motivation to write is based purely on obligation or fear.
Your “why” is the source of your writing magic
When you don’t know why you’re writing something - when you’re unclear of your intention - it’s nearly impossible to connect with the reader.
When you don’t connect to your reader, you’ll never achieve the goal of the post or article.
Your goal may be simple: “get more business.” But no one will get past the first few lines of a blog post if it’s clear the writer is only in it for the sale. The reader also won’t get very far if it seems the writer is just publishing because someone told her she “should.”
So why are you really writing?
Call me a romantic. Call me an idealist. Heck, call me a writer! I believe the only writing that ultimately succeeds is composed in a spirit of love and service.
Consider the success of direct mail copywriters and lousy popular novelists. Clearly you can write successfully when inspired by the love of money and in service to the beast of fame. I’m not here to judge those folks. They prove that passion and dedication will get you what you want.
But I think you’re a little bit more like me than you are like the guy with the perfect marketing formula.
You care deeply about your business and what you offer your clients. You love the people who buy from you – and not just because you adore the ka-ching of your PayPal notification tone.
Thing is, you don’t necessarily love writing for your business. Put it another way - you haven’t fallen in love with the writing process yet because you don’t understand the why of your attraction.
[tweetthis]The only #writing that truly connects is composed in a spirit of love and service.[/tweetthis]
Your writing “why” has a name and a face
A lot of brilliant people say you must write for yourself first.
“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
Barbara Kingsolver is exactly right.
Hear a “but…” statement coming?
Presumably this great novelist is talking about fiction, not writing a blog post that helps bring in business.
Kingsolver would be spot on if we were still in the heady days of personal blogs when finding your voice was so central and “if you write it, they will come” was still semi-true.
Now, many take selfies to tell personal stories. Creative entrepreneurs and therapists use blogs to further their business, art, and practice in a more systematic, strategic way.
You can tell your personal stories just about anywhere. Your business blog exists to serve the reader. (Your stories are important, but they're the vehicles that carry your message, not your writing's fundamental raison d'etre.)
Your reader is your “why.” To satisfy her needs and curiosity… that must be your intention every time you publish a post.
The blog is the place to engage the reader with stories that illuminate her story. The blog sustains the reader with solutions to problems that keep her up at night.
Ok, your blog is still about you - in a way
There’s one part of blogging that’s about you: determining what sort of content you can comfortably, sustainably create. After all, creating content is a marathon, not a sprint.
This goes back to intention… You’re intentionally building a business around your gifts, your passions, your desire to solve the problems of a community of people you love.
Logically, any writing you do to support this work will feel doable - even if the writing itself still takes a lot of effort.
But, if every writing session is torture and you feel like a house fell on your sister rather than you're flying in an orb of fairy dust, there is something wrong.
You need to figure yourself into the writing process too and make adjustments to your writing routine, topic choice, and delivery style. If you don’t feel like a good witch when you’re writing, change your approach.
When your writing process feels more like a Dark Art rather than a lovely session with Glinda and Dorothy, let’s set up a complimentary 15 minute chat and share a long distance cup of tea so I can help you identify at least one adjustment you can make right away.
Once your intention is clear, you know where to direct your attention
Writing can be an emotional entanglement of sorts. Everyone has a different relationship with their words, but there’s one common factor in every writer-writing relationship -- attention.
An attention-starved writing practice is absolutely nothing but a dusty notebook inscribed with regret.
You love your business, you love the people you have been called to serve.
And so we return to:
You write online content out of a spirit of love and service, trusting that the people who need to hear your message will offer your words the attention they deserve.
When you show your love to your business and your reader-clients, they repay your intentional attention with their own (incredibly valuable) attention.
Blogging = Love. So how do you fall in love with the writing process so you can share the greater love?
Because I want to wave my magic wand and take the pain out of blogging for you, I am tempted to tell you that you can click your heels together with intention and pay simply attention to what the Wizard says.
There’s a great chance that getting clear on your "why" and sitting down to DO the writing is all you need. But that does you a great disservice if you’re someone who feels like she can’t cast a writing spell without some help.
You have other options. You can create video. You can start a podcast. You can create visual experiences for your beloved community.
You can explore the different kinds of writing support that are out there and make a decision based on your skills and resources.
And you and I can talk about your writing-for-business intentions and how they mix - or don’t! - with your reality as an entrepreneur or clinician whose attention is already pulled in so many directions.
Send me a note and we’ll schedule 15 minutes to sip tea and talk about how you can find the magic in your own message.