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

What’s Your Favorite Word?

wordsRecently, someone asked me, “What’s your favorite word?” I was taken aback; I’d never been asked that question before and I’ve never considered having a favorite word.

When asked about my favorite color (blue) or my favorite composer (J.S. Bach), my answers are at the ready. But, my favorite word? I have to think about this.

I write quite a bit: web content, ad hoc poetry, all sorts of things, so, of course, I’ve developed a diverse vocabulary. The more important questions: Do I need a favorite word? Do I have to choose just one? Can I change my mind, i.e., my word?

I asked a professional editor if she has a favorite word. She responded so quickly that it frightened me. Have I been missing out on something all these years? (By the way, her favorite word is “persnickety.”)

If I decide to settle in on a favorite word, I’m thinking I want it to be something complex, out-of-the-ordinary, even. “Prestidigitation” perhaps? I love all those syllables and it’s so fun to say aloud. Plus, people often ask me what it means, so it can be a conversation starter.

Or, wait! Perhaps my favorite word should be short and simple, going for the “less is more” approach. If I select this route, perhaps I’ll choose “we.” I like the inclusivity of “we,” plus, it steers me away from my natural tendency to assume (wrongly) that I don’t need others to make things happen.

As I’m writing, I’m recalling a book I recently read in which I encountered a word previously unknown to me on nearly every page (and the book weighed in at 600 pages)! Although this made for a slower reading pace, I enjoyed the opportunity to beef up my vocabulary.

Back to the idea of having a favorite word, maybe I will choose one. I could choose something neither too complex nor too simple; something sort of “middle of the road,” yet meaningful to me. Then, I could embed the word in my everyday spoken and written vocabulary. I could make it part of my personal trademark.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite word? Should I get one?

by Rebecca Cochran

The Nature of Trust

whitetaildeerWhile I was walking in the woods the other day, I chanced upon a family of white-tailed deer. The group of four appeared to be an adult female and three youngsters. Though I’ve sighted many a deer in these woods, on this particularly lovely, crisp fall day, I hesitated far longer than usual.

As I admired the beautiful creatures, I began to think about trust. The deer seemed to trust me. Why?

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

— Ernest Hemingway

Initially, I remained very still, taking in their beauty. They were still, as well. I shuffled my feet, accidentally, and the four glanced immediately my way, but stayed in place.

I experimented by taking a few, tiptoed steps toward the animals. Though their eyes were all trained on me, for some reason, they trusted me. As I continued my experiment, a few steps at a time, all eight eyes were fixated my way. The deer allowed me to creep within ten feet of them.

Then, another person walking his dog (on a leash, thankfully) appeared out of nowhere. The doe and her three youngsters made a swift exit. The trust I’d slowly built with my new friends was immediately thwarted. All of the progress I had so carefully made vanished.

Luckily, the dog and his master quickly moved on. The deer began to settle down and inch back over my way.

Trust is like that. It takes much longer to build a trusting relationship than to derail it. In a relationship with a customer or a friend, it can take just one wrong move to break the trust.

My walk in the woods reminded me to tread steadily and carefully in my business and personal relationships, taking nothing for granted. It also reminded me to build as much trust as I can “up front.” If I have a strong foundation with my customers or friends, built on years of trust, a slight falter on my part just might go unnoticed.

by Rebecca Cochran

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org