Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Fun: Top 10 Cringe-Inducing Client Comments on Copy

Most of the time -- really, most of the time -- my copy hits the mark with clients. But, now and then, it doesn't. For your amusement, here are the top 10 client comments that make me cringe:
  1. I have an English degree. 
  2. This copy is really fun! I don't want fun. 
  3. You forgot to put a comma before the word and. I fixed it for you.
  4. I didn't know what I wanted, but now that I see what you've written, I know it's not what I wanted. OK?
  5. Oh. We just went through a complete branding change. Did I forget to mention that? 
  6. You broke my quote into paragraphs. It's all one quote. 
  7. My title should be capped. I fixed it for you.   
  8. I know I'm getting it to you late, but I still need it tomorrow. 
  9. You forgot quotation marks at the end of the paragraph. I fixed it for you.
  10. You misspelled my name. 
And the comment that sparked this post? Imagine, if you will, a very very very smart man with a lovely Southern drawl, "Ma'am, I'm like a gumball machine. You know, you put your quarter in, you turn the knob, you get your gumball. Investment, action, results. I want you to tell me exactly how this blog post is gonna drive profitable growth."

It's the weekend, people. Party on. Buy a gumball and think of me.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Creativity Tips: Just for the record ...

Did you read yesterday's blog on writer's block? Well, I took my own advice. I walked away from the sample chapter I couldn't write on Monday or Tuesday.

Wednesday, I woke up and wrote a completely different sample chapter in an hour. It's brilliant. I can say that with ease, because the chapter is all about appreciating your own talents.

Life is good.

Do what you love. Love what you do. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#Creativity Tips: Five Ways to Smash Writer's Block

Never, never, never, never, never. Well, almost never. That's how often I have writer's block when it comes to client copy. I'm a professional writer; I can't wait for inspiration to hit -- deadlines hit on a daily basis. This is a good thing. But ....

This week, I've been struggling to finish my book proposal. We're down to the final version. My agent wants two more sample chapters and a few minor edits. No problem, right?

Well, the first additional chapter was easy to write. The edits were easy to make. And then, AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Writer's block gone crazy. A chapter that should have taken two hours to write took two days. And I'm still not ready to say it's done.

Since my mom says everything happens for the best, I went looking for a silver lining. And I found one! The experience did remind me of these five tips for smashing writer's block:
  1. "Please move away from the scene of the accident. There's nothing to see, folks. Nothing to see." Get up. Leave the computer, the tablet, the notebook, whatever you're writing on or in and walk away. Inspiration is like love; it shows up when you're not looking for it.
  2. Do something that forces you to think of other things. I like to go for a drive. I have to focus on my driving, because I have no innate sense of direction. Don't believe me? Ask mybestfriendinthewholeworldsincefourthgrade Lynn.
  3. If you, like me, have words on the page but you're pretty sure they stink, look again. Is the lead hidden in paragraph four? First paragraphs are often triggers -- necessary to get going, but then you need to pull them. Do it. Cut your copy. (I was going to use Pull the Trigger as the headline for this post. Given the current state of the world, I decided against that.)
  4. Get physical. Your brain may not be working the way you'd like, but there's that beautiful body of yours! Use it.
  5. Stop beating yourself up. We can't be brilliant 24/7. Have faith. The words you're searching for will find you.
From my free e-book. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

#Creativity Exercise: Write a starry night

Annie Weatherwax (is that a great name, or what?) wrote this terrific post for the Ploughshares blog on why writers should draw. Or paint. Among the many fabulous phrases/ideas in her post, this was my favorite:

"Why not, as a writer, strive to paint a sky as vivid and memorable as Van Gogh’s Starry Night. And why not aim to paint your whole world this way?"

It's the perfect question. Why not? Read her post. Then, go paint.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Creativity Tips: The Dirty Dish Dilemma

There's a classic holiday lyric: Do you hear what I hear? I can answer the question. No. You don't. You don't hear what I hear, you don't see what I see, you don't know what I know.

Given that, it's amazing we communicate at all. But, we do! And we can always do it better. One of the tricks is staying aware of both what we're saying, and what our listener may be hearing. And that requires getting out of the, "It's all about me" zone for a bit. Always a challenge.

Let me give you an example -- the situation that prompted this post. As you read this, keep in mind that Tom and I have been married almost 31 years and together 38 years.

Jan (seeing dirty dishes in the sink): The dishes in the dishwasher are dirty.
Tom (on the couch, reading the newspaper): OK.
Jan rinses his dirty dishes and puts them in the dishwasher. 

Later in the day ...
Jan (seeing more dirty dishes in the sink): The dishes in the dishwasher are dirty.
Tom (on the computer): OK.
Jan rinses his dirty dishes and puts them in the dishwasher.

Still later in the day ... 
Jan (finally realizing he doesn't get it): Honey, when I say, "The dishes in the dishwasher are dirty," what I'm really saying is, "Please put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Don't leave them in the sink."*
Tom (finally realizing why she kept announcing the dishwasher situation): OK. 

If your message isn't getting through, change the message. 

*Fine. Every woman reading this knows that what I'm really saying is, "What the hell? Why can't you put the dishes in the dishwasher? Do you think there's a dishwasher fairy who does it?" But that's the kind of message that never resonates. Trust me. I have learned something in the past 38 years ...

Monday, July 11, 2016

What's Your Story?

We're all writing our own stories. 

Every day. Every week.
What will your story be?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Fun: The voters have spoken ...

According to a recent USA Today story, 13% of us (oooh, a scary number) think the meteor is sounding better and better.

And so it goes. Happy weekend, my friends! While you're relaxing, please come up with a plan to save the world.