5-minute free writing

WanderingBrainI was an art student in college. I graduated with a degree in applied design and visual arts. Became a graphic designer and web designer. I sketched a lot.

Not so much now that I’m a writer. So far, I’ve spent much of my copywriting career working alongside designers, and I’ve seen them constantly sketching. During meetings, in brainstorming sessions, at their desks—their pens and pencils skim over whatever’s handy with a steady rhythm. And in just a few minutes, they can sketch some amazing stuff.

But I rarely see fellow writers tapping out snippets of writing in the same way. We may write down ideas in little notebooks, but we let a few minutes here and there pass without second thought.

Last week, I was five minutes early for a meeting. So I followed their example and jotted down random phrases that popped in my head.

The results themselves were terrible but worth it.

Continue reading

The truth about feedback

Disney Feedback.png

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when one hears the word “feedback,” one thinks “criticism.” The face twists in a cringe, and one wants nothing more than to run fast, run far and insert one’s head into a hole in the ground.

Feedback is uncomfortable.

Getting feedback on our work is one thing. That kind of feedback comes with the territory; we expect it and usually take it objectively because it’s about our work, not us. But getting feedback on our professional or personal performance? Yikes.

So let’s shed some light on what feedback really is: a gift. Continue reading

Taking care of your inner hamster

Drawing a Blank

Your writer’s muse is undependable. You’ve got deadlines? The muse is outta there; you’re on your own. Mine lets the door slam behind her on the way out as she calls “Bye, Felicia!” over her well-groomed shoulder as she takes off to enjoy herself while I work.

I’m a copywriter. Deadlines are my daily norm, and I need a source of creativity on which I can rely. I call that source of creativity my little hamster Hortense. When the muse abandons me, Hortense is the one who helps uncover the creative gems that get the job done. She’s not in it for the glamour; she’s there because we have a job to do and we’re in it together.

You, too, have an inner source of creativity.

Take care of it, it’ll take care of you. Continue reading

4 things I don’t love about being a writer

lolcat-failed-hugs

I’ve previously posted 5 things to love about being a writer. As much as I love being “ra ra sis boom bah!” about writing, I also want to paint a realistic picture. No vocation is perfect, even writing.

There must be balance in the force.

To be clear, these are my top personal pain points. They don’t apply to all writers. Like the Amazon rainforest, the writing profession contains a multitude of diverse creatures.

Also, for context, I’m a professional copywriter, who blogs and writes creative fiction on the side. This list—and how I handle each pain point—is pulled from my experience.

Ready? Let’s proceed. Continue reading

Staying social when writing is solitary

Ducks in a Row

Writing itself is solitary. Even if we’re working in an office and surrounded by people, we typically tuck ourselves away, apply our headphones and scurry into our documents with the enthusiasm of a meerkat digging a new downstairs.

Let the others collaborate; I have word magic to conjure.

It’s not that we dislike people (generally speaking). It’s that writing happens in our head. But that creates a problem.

Writing is solitary, but humans are social (even introverted ones like me; don’t tell). We fill our creative wells in countless ways, but one of those needs to be socializing despite the inherently solitary nature of our work.

Socializing keeps us:

  • empathetic
  • in touch with other perspectives
  • connected with other ideas
  • up-to-date with trends and techniques

It’s important, but it’s counter to what we do. So, what do we do? Continue reading