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

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 or ‘drop in’ co-working space. These days, 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