It happens to the best of us, myself included. You go to get a drink at the Idea Fountain only to find somebody didn’t pay the water bill!
Or the fountain is still running but instead of clean, crisp water brimming with wonderful ideas it’s a stagnant trickle filled with bug legs and only provides mediocre ideas.
BOTH happened to me recently.
The second happened in the title of my teleseminar. Everything else was clear and easy: all the benefits, snappy sales copy, email strings, pain points that had ME shivering.
But the title: uninspiring at best. NOT awesome for somebody who is teaching an entire module about how to craft killer titles. I didn’t have any choice except to run with what I had but, ewww, it was bad.
Enter a mentor:
I was on a VIP coaching call and mentioned the launch. It was going well, I was ecstatic with the signups but… There was something missing. She asked what I was calling it – and started to laugh.
“That’s a TERRIBLE title, Kim!” she said between giggles. “Who helped you?”
Pause. The line crackled.
“I came up with it myself,” I muttered.
If you read my newsletter (you DO subscribe, right?) you know I regularly expand my comfort zone: so far in 2014 I’ve:
- Learned how to rappel
- Done a 5-day backpacking trip
- Flown a helicopter
- Went kayaking on Lake Powell during a holiday weekend
- Learned how to rock climb
- And these are just the highlights!
Fine me on Facebook for pictures!
Tomorrow I’m expanding my business comfort zone: I’m offering my first-ever free training call.
I LOVE speaking from stage. I can’t sing (or dance or act) but I love being handed a microphone! And this is just another “stage” – although I’ll be a voice on the phone instead of in person.
So why is this expanding my business comfort zone?
Because I’m slamming up hard against one of the misconceptions that keep people from writing their book:
Even if I publish it, nobody will read it. Nobody wants to read what I have to write.
Have you ever had the feeling that you HAD to do something and that it had to be done right now? Right now! In fact, the feeling of NOT taking action made you feel uncomfortable, antsy, and emotional?
A mentor of mine calls these moments “taps from the Universe” and it’s where God is tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Do this!”
Last week, I had no fewer than FOUR conversations with different entrepreneurs who were getting the taps about their book but they each had the same concern:
Each wanted to write a book BUT it didn’t tie directly into their business. Each author expressed feeling like the book was calling to her and that SHE had been chosen to be its author. But, was the book still worth the time and effort to write since it didn’t fit neatly into the business box? And once it was written, what should be done with it?
Call me old-school but I love my printer. See, a lot of what I do is editing book manuscripts for clients. And yes, I KNOW it can be done with Word’s “Track Changes” feature. But have you ever tried to review edits that are of the comma, period, and semi-colon variety? It’s really hard to see what it was and what it’s changing to. Plus, if you’ve already USED the feature for other edits (like removing sections or asking the author clarifying questions) the grammar, spelling, punctuation edits get completely buried in the fray.
So I print it all. Double spaced but single sided. Then I get my red pen and a pot of tea and go to town. When I’m done, I scan in the pages and email the .pdf to my client. That way she can really SEE the changes and not be lost in the “Track Changes” multi-colored mess.
Do you ever forget that you’re writing for real people? It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging, writing a weekly newsletter, or drafting your book. There are REAL people reading it on the other end of the wicked-cool communication tunnel we call
But do you ever think about your readers?
And I don’t mean in an “ideal client” or “target market” kind of way. Do you ever think about what they’re doing when the sit down to read your latest bit of wisdom?
- Is it on his computer? Smart phone? Tablet?
- Is she drinking coffee? Waiting for a client call? At a soccer game? Staying up late to finish it?
- Maybe he needs a pre-lunch pick-me-up. Or just a break between tasks. Trying not to giggle too much in the office. Or quickly closing the browser window when the boss/spouse/kids walk by.
- Perhaps your story is so compelling she pulls it up first thing every morning or checks it daily on the morning bathroom break, from her iPhone.
Frankly, it’s impossible to get inside the head of your reader that much.
But there IS something that you can do: Let your reader get inside YOUR head. Let her hear YOUR voice, YOUR story. Allow her to be a voyeur into your life.
Yes, even on your business blog.
This week, I REALLY just wanted to sit down with you, over a cup of something, and SHARE everything that’s been going on in my life. It’s pretty awesome. And very little of it has to do with writing, publishing, blogging or business. Then I realized that I don’t always tell you much about ME in my articles. I don’t always give a huge amount of context to make things understandable.
If you subscribe to my newsletter you get a little bit of this. (And you really SHOULD subscribe. It’s a pretty awesome weekly newsletter.) I have a few paragraphs in the beginning of every newsletter where I catch you up on what I’m doing and what my upcoming plans are. And they usually have NOTHING to do with my “topic” but more about what hiking adventure I had over the weekend.
But here’s the real truth:
I don’t live and breathe writing and blogging and publishing. Nope. I do a lot of OTHER stuff with my life. Just like you. And maybe we have some interests or hobbies or life experiences in common.
So where’s the line between a BUSINESS blog with great content and articles and information that you can use and just us, sitting down over a cuppa something, and sharing? Because I know that chances are slim you’ve read my “About Me” page. And if you DID, I know that it wasn’t really written to show you a glimpse into my world RIGHT NOW.
I strive to be intentional with my articles. I want to make a point or teach you something. And I love using stories to illustrate what I’m talking about.
But in all of this, I forgot one of the TRUTHS of writing, of blogging, of business:
I invite you and challenge you to share more YOU in your writing. So, starting NOW, I’ll be adding at least one post per month that is just me telling you, my reader, my valued friend about what’s happening with me. And I want YOU to do the same to YOUR readers.
I knew that I should always have a few articles “in reserve” as a just-in-case something really came up and I was unable to get to my blog or newsletter one week. But knowing and HAVING are two different things!
So please, this week, use my chaos as YOUR lesson!
Two weekends ago, on 1/18/14, I was robbed while out hiking. Now that sounds all dramatic and I assure you it really wasn’t! To make a long story short, I was learning how to rappel (fun) and went down into the headwaters of the Verde River by rappelling down a damn. Once down, I wanted to take some photos. But then I realized my camera’s batteries were dead. So my honey, Ben, and I headed out to explore a bit.
On our way back, I realized that the “hikers” we had seen on the old railroad bed that ran over the canyon had climbed down our rope, stolen my camera and prescription sunglasses, climbed back UP the rope and then stolen the rope!
Don’t worry, it’s not that hard of a free-climb back out!
But at the end of the day, I still was dealing with the Sheriff, my homeowners insurance, and needing to get new glasses. Why am I telling you this story?
Well, two reasons:
1. It pushed back all my projects from two weekends ago to last weekend. Which totally messed up my project calendar.
2. Because it ties into LAST weekend’s story!
So, we know I was firmly behind coming in to last weekend. And like so many of the self-employed, I rely on my weekends to do the big projects I just can’t get to during the week! Saturday went really well; I was really rocking on my project. Sunday, I had plans to finish up some video scripts, shoot the video for my upcoming launch, and then work on client projects.
Instead, I walked into my office and heard “Squelch, squelch, squelch!”
Yep, completely flooded!
Again, not from anything dramatic! We’ve been getting up into the 70’s during the days here in NORTHERN Arizona, barely dipping below freezing at night.
Nope, this was a hot water pipe that had been slowly leaking. It had actually been causing water damage (and mold!) in my office for some time but it just wasn’t enough for me to notice. But sometime in the night on Saturday, the pipe split and completely drenched my office.
Which meant that I spent Sunday dealing with it! Huge thanks to my honey, Ben, my folks, and my friend Eddie (a plumber!) who came to help me out! And to make matters worse, I could tell on Sunday that I was coming down with the dreaded CRUD.
Fast forward to today, Tuesday. I spent Monday pretty much in bed with The Crud (aka, the flu) except for the morning at dad’s tax office working. Today, I again had to venture to the tax office for more project work that HAS to be done early this week, (Hello, IRS!) and then curled up in bed with the Vicks.
Here it is at 7:30 PM on Tuesday; the day I update my blog and the day I send out my newsletter. My editorial calendar is all shot to heck because I didn’t get to finish my project on Sunday, I still feel like crud, and oh, I STILL have client projects I’ve promised out today!
And AND! I’m working on an itty bitty table in my dining room because my house is in chaos from one end to the other because the carpet is pulled up in my office!
Now, I’m hoping that you’re giggling along with me about all of this. Because trust me, I’m just laughing about it all. You can’t make this stuff up!
Throughout this I am completely counting my blessings from my great family, patient clients, and fully-stocked freezer. I know that things could have been so much worse (robbed while I was standing there instead of around the corner of the canyon; electrical fire from the water; my beautiful desk could have been ruined instead of just a bit damaged; had to face the drama all on my own; stomach bug instead of just the flu, etc!)
But where I’m going with all of this is that it is a STELLAR idea to write a few evergreen articles and hold them for weeks like this. (There was no way I could have pulled a guest post together in time!)
If you’ve been blogging long enough, you can also re-publish a popular article from your archives. But let’s be really honest, shall we? I’ve only been seriously writing articles for this business since August. I think that’s just too short a time frame to bring out an “oldie but goodie” from my archive.
And I’ll be adding “Write a few evergreen articles” to my February to-do list!