Don’t Forget to Listen

When was the last time you listened, really listened? Some people go through their days and never listen at all. They talk. When someone is talking to them, rather than really listening, they’re only preparing to respond.

They forget the #1 rule of listening. To listen is to be silent.

Listen. Silent.

Interesting that the two words are anagrams of one another. We can’t do the first without the second.

Talking is easy. Listening is difficult. Yet, it is only by listening that we really learn — learn what our clients’ needs are — learn to be a better friend, better spouse, better parent, better human being. And, by listening, we learn to truly appreciate the world around us.

As a musician, I’ve learned that listening makes me better at my musical craft. When I listen, really listen to my fellow musicians, on or off the stage, that’s when I really learn, really improve.

And, by truly listening, I am able to understand more about my favorite composer, J.S. Bach. Each and every time I listen to a work by Bach, I learn something new.

Don’t forget to listen.

Breathe New Life Into Your Writing in 5 Easy Steps

Writing.jpgDo you feel your writing getting stale? Or that writing isn’t as fun as it used to be?

If so, here are 5 Simple Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Writing:

  1. Get out of your usual workspace. New ideas often sprout from new environments. Deliberately mix it up by hanging out at a different coffee shop, outdoor park or ‘drop in’ co-working space. Even in these uncertain times, most of us have a multitude of spots from which to choose.
  2. Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Yeah, schedules and routines are wonderful, but for creative new ideas to happen, we often need to disrupt our normal circadian rhythm.
  3. ‘Write’ using a different digital device. Just the feel of a different ‘touch’ under our fingers can allow for content to flow in a lively new way.
  4. Write first; edit later. Rather than immediately editing yourself as you write, just let the words flow. Don’t be concerned with misspellings or grammar issues — just write. Creation and editing should be two separate activities.
  5. Write with abandon. Write more than you need. Just let the words and ideas flow. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find yourself with enough content to fill multiple blog posts, instead of your intended single post.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am practicing these tips as I write this and, I have to say, it feels a bit radical…simple, even.

by Rebecca Cochran

Write. Just Write.

writer'sblock

Ever had writer’s block?

I have. (And, probably will have again — many times.) A technique I experimented with recently is this:

Write. Just write.

I sat down in a coffee shop with my tablet and just started writing, seemingly without thinking. I typed random thoughts. I pushed myself to simply move my fingers, concentrating on the process.

At first, those thoughts seemed unrelated, but within the span of five minutes or less, I realized that those thoughts were related! It was as if my “data dump” of miscellaneous thoughts, once they appeared on my screen, suddenly began to make sense to me. I was able to quickly connect my “dots of randomness” into a cohesive story.

Now, this “story” is not necessarily one that I’m ready to share here on my public blog. It’s the technique of unblocking that I feel is worth sharing.

Try it. Let me know if it works for you.

Write. Just write.

by Rebecca Cochran