5 Books Every Small Business Owner Should Read

We’re big readers here at CCC. As Mr. King reminds us below, that’s a good thing because we’re writers, and we like to be well-versed at our craft. Reading is important even if you don’t write though. Business professionals and owners everywhere can benefit from knowledge and experience shared in a good book.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that.”  -Stephen King

business books on a bookshelf

A selection of business reads by UNCG Research via CC BY-SA 2.0 http://bit.ly/2eE8A47

So let’s have a book swap! Below we’ve shared 5 books that have helped us in business (in no particular order), and we’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments.

  1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking — Studies show that introverts are one-third to half of the U.S. population, and this book tells you how to embrace their personality and management style to improve your corporate culture and team. Introvert or not, every business professional needs to read this book.
  2. Death to All Sacred Cows — The most common negative review we’ve seen about this book is that its content is old news. Then why do so many businesses large and small still adhere to sacred cows for no reason? Beliefs such as, “The customer’s always right” can put you out of business. Read this book before that happens to you.
  3. David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants — Let’s be honest; any book by Malcolm Gladwell is a good choice, but we loved this one. David And Goliath shows how perceived underdogs may not be underdogs at all. This is a great read for small business owners everywhere who are wondering how to compete against bigger and better-funded opponents.
  4. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? The business world is constantly changing, and Seth Godin shows you how to be a linchpin. This book will help guide your career in corporate America or on your own, making you indispensable to bosses, organizations, business partners and clients. (Similar to Gladwell, any Godin book is a good and worthwhile read.)
  5. It’s Not About the Coffee — “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.” Howard Behar talks about taking a people-centric approach and treating employees, business partners and clients as people — not revenue sources, assets or labor costs. It’s crazy how many businesses don’t understand this concept, and the results you’ll achieve once you do.

BONUS: Things a Little Bird Told Me — Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, takes readers along on his unpredictable journey and shares smart business lessons along the way. He focuses on the power of creativity and how to harness it to achieve success.

As we were compiling this list, we kept coming up with additional suggestions. As bookworms, it’s difficult to limit any reading list to five recommendations! We’re sure we missed some, but that’s the beauty of reading lists — they’re constantly evolving.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”  -Stephen King

What books have helped you in business or in life?

Have you read a children’s or YA book that’s relevant in your adult life?

What’s your favorite literature genre?

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about good books, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Want Your Business to Flourish? Kill Your Sacred Cows

What’s holding your business back? Probably a sacred cow.

Death to all Sacred Cows: How successful businesses put the old rules out to pasture

Death to All Sacred Cows is a business book worth reading, no matter what business you’re in.

A what?! You’ve heard them before — those magical sayings in the business world that savvy businessmen and women everywhere regard as sacred.

The customer is always right. 
Teams create the best solutions. 
Always trust your research. 

Here’s the problem with sacred cows: always and never are rarely a good idea in the business world, a place which is constantly moving, changing and adapting.

“Businesses that only look to the past to guide their futures can be doomed to failure. In a rapidly changing world, anything dated tends to be dangerous.”

We’re not saying to forget your traditions or roots; they shouldn’t be the sole decision makers within your walls. You need to make decisions based on the current situation by looking at all of your options. Making decisions based solely on past successes can cause a company to be afraid to take risks or try new things. Success breeds success, until it doesn’t.

“The point is, in order to prepare for the future you need to unchain yourself from the strictures of the past. Let the past help and inform you; just don’t let it hold you back.”

Here’s one of our favorite sacred cows: the customer is always right. Don’t get us wrong; customers are critical to the success of your business. You need people to buy your products and services. We’re lucky to work with some great customers at CCC, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. (Neither are we.)

Unless your business operates in an industry we’re not aware of, your customers are human beings. Human beings are fallible (yep, all of us), so customers are not always right. Of course, you want to provide the best customer service and experience in the world. You need to review each situation and understand when a customer is being unreasonable or is just plain wrong. (It happens, but if you work with great people, it doesn’t happen often. 🙂 )

“We’re just saying that slavishly kowtowing to the idea that the customer is the ultimate authority on how your business should operate is a surefire way to wind up with an inoperable business.”

In conclusion, use your brains. If you’re smart enough to run a business or be a successful businessman/businesswoman, trust your gut and decision-making skills. Don’t hide behind a sacred cow; it will kick you in the face eventually. (And read Death to All Sacred Cows for sound business advice and pure entertainment.)

Your Feedback
What is your favorite sacred cow to kill?
Have you read Death to All Sacred Cows? What’s your feedback?
What other business books would you recommend?

Eat, Pray, Love — In Business Too
Blink: The Power of Snap Decisions & First Impressions
Winning as the Underdog: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

p.s. I’m not being paid to recommend this book. I just enjoyed it that much!
p.p.s. No real cows were harmed while writing this article (or the book, to my knowledge).

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about sacred cows, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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50 Things I’m Grateful For… Summer 2015 Edition

The author enjoying small talk at a conference.

It’s time, once again, for our annual tradition on the CCC blog. Each year, I list 50 unique “things” that I’m currently grateful for. While I’m grateful every day, it’s helpful to write down a list every now and then. I encourage you to try it! Write your own blog post or share your list in the comments below.

Here we go, 2015 edition:

1) Biting into fresh watermelon
2) A steaming hot latte, even on a hot, summer day
3) Emoji — a universal language that has graduated to the business world
4) My quirks & imperfections
5) Coloring
6) That Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood concert not that long ago…

7) Christmas
8) A good trail to run
9) Zip-lining and high ropes courses
10) Burning candles and a roaring fire in the fireplace
11) Getting lost in a good book
12) The dark
13) The beauty of nature

Just another day in paradise... 🌅 Nature in the city.

A post shared by Jaime Shine (@jaimeshine) on

14) Dirt track racing
15) Scheduling my platelets donations through an app
16) Learning something new
17) Family (blood or not)
18) Art & design
19) Bruce, my first food sculpture (and event planning)

20) Keeping score at a ballgame
21) My brother, sister-in-law & soon-to-arrive Baby Shine!
22) The power of knowledge
23) Mental math
24) Andy Warhol
25) Catching a movie on the big screen
26) Small businesses (and the people who start them!)
27) My wanderlust spirit

28) Hope & second chances
29) God, and his (or her?) glory
30) Music, especially live
31) Clients who pay on time
32) My ever-running mind, even when I want an off switch
33) Whiteboards

34) Adventures
35) Golden Flashes
36) The thrill of crossing the finish line
37) Flexibility
38) Fellow bloggers (Ahh The Simple Life, Lance Wyllie & Sage Doyle to name a few)
39) CCC’s 3rd anniversary

40) Cheez-It Crunch’d (my new favorite snack)
41) Growing up in the 80s
42) My parents
43) Laughing out loud
44) Strong women

45) JAWS
46) Typewriters
47) Mad Men (& women)
48) Wedding soup
49) Generation X
50) Chucks

There’s my list on a beautiful Friday afternoon. We’d love to hear what you’re grateful for!

Usually barefoot, always grateful,
Jaime

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Living a Good Life: On the Road to Authentic Happiness

“The more I learn about positive psychology, the more I am convinced of its tremendous potential. Potential to transform individuals and societies. Potential to steer humanity into a new era, an era that pays homage to this statement: Every human being, whether living now or in a future generation, should be afforded the opportunity to live a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life.

Living a Good Life by Carol Ann Preibis

Are you living a good life? Carol Preibis’ new eGuide, Living a Good Life, is packed full of tips, ideas and inspiration on the subject. Divided into three parts, the eGuide explores what it means to live a good life (backed by science), showcases inspirational role models in this area and discusses the positivity project.

Loyal readers of the CCC blog will recognize the author’s name due to her contributions to this space. Preibis’ Kindness in the Workplace series: It Just Makes (Dollars &) Cents and A Guide for Your Organization, shows that kindness is important in the workplace because it directly affects your bottom line, and she brings the research to back up her claims.

low employee engagement is a crisis for businesses

Does your company engage its employees?
Photo credit: Kevin Kruse

Preibis does the same in her new eGuide.

Living a Good Life

In the first section, Preibis explores scientifically proven ways to achieve authentic happiness, beginning with the five elements of what free people choose to do in their lives and ending with the search for meaning to make sense of our existence.

“Simplicity is simultaneously a personal choice, a community choice, a national choice, and a species choice.”                                                                                                 –Duane Elgin, author

The Perfect Storm by Carol Preibis

“What is this place? It’s a crossroads, where we must choose between two paths.” -The Perfect Storm by Carol Preibis

If you’d like examples of those living a good life and achieving authentic happiness, you’ll be happy to move on to section two.


Role Models and Teachers

Who are the true superstars in our world? Preibis showcases 10 examples, from personal connections to Nobel Peace Prize winners and celebrities, who are doing extraordinary things and inspiring others to live a good life. Then she moves on to two iconic figures, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope Francis, who have worked to make their dream of justice and equality for all real — 50 years apart.

“Four times in his I Have A Dream speech Dr. King proclaimed, “Now is the time.” In an exhortation 50 years later, Pope Francis asked, “So what are we waiting for?””  -Carol Preibis, Living a Good Life


The Positivity Project

In the third section of the eGuide, Preibis explores positivity and how it can impact our health just as much as diet and exercise. Shared positive emotion and social connections are major driving forces in our lives.

“Positive emotions are good for our health. Shared positive emotions — positive emotions people feel in connection with others — seem to be a real driving force behind health benefits.”                                                                                                    -Carol Preibis, Living a Good Life

Seeds of Light

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”
                                                 -Anne Lamott

The research, exercises and the author’s own contributions in this section will enable you to take advantage of the powers of positivity to improve your health and overall life. Discover how to build your own positivity portfolio, meditate on loving-kindness and explore what gives your life meaning.

We invite you to read (and share) the introductory version of Living a Good Life, which includes the table of contents and first chapter. If you find it as worthwhile as we did, you’ll want to purchase the entire eGuide, available in PDF or EPUB, for only $4.99. It’s a small price to pay to discover how to live a meaningful, happy and fulfilling — aka good — life.

What does living a good life mean to you?

What gives you authentic happiness?

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.

 

Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.

 

 

I was honored (and surprised) to have the CCC blog included in the Resources section of the eGuide. As such, Carol did send me a complimentary copy of the guide as a way to say thank you. Rest assured, that’s not why I chose to review the guide or promote it. That decision was based solely on my opinion of her guide and the value it will bring to readers. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you, Carol! –Jaime

On the road to authentic happiness,
Jaime

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Eat, Pray, Love — In Business Too

As I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert earlier today, two things dawned on me. One, I’m enjoying this book. Two, the concepts discussed apply to business as well as life (and no, not only for women).

Bring pleasure to your work space!

I bring pleasure to my work space with a couple of my favorite things: espresso and a dragon tree.

In Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert travels the world in order to examine three different aspects of her life — pleasure (in Italy), devotion (in India) and balance (in Bali). While we all may not be able to globe trot to find our way in life (or business), it is important that we understand how to achieve symmetry in these three key areas.

Pleasure

I’m not going to throw a cheap motivational poster at you, but you should enjoy what you do, at least most of the time. We all have bad days, even world-class athletes, kings and queens. I’ve never bought the “love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” mantra, but it is far more pleasant to enjoy what you do. So whatever you’re in business for, I hope you enjoy it. If not, your true talents may lie elsewhere.

Devotion

You need to be devoted to something (or multiple somethings), so one of these might as well be your business. I’m not recommending that anyone be a workaholic, because that usually doesn’t work out in the long run. But there will be plenty of times that you’re up pre-dawn to travel to see a client or burning the midnight oil finishing up a project on deadline. You may want to be doing anything else during these times (such as sleeping), but devotion to your clients, to your craft and to your business will yield results.

Balance

There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance today. Some people believe it’s an ever-evolving work in progress, while others stick to a tight schedule. However you achieve balance, it’s important that you do. Focusing on only one area of your life for too long will leave you feeling out of sorts or unhappy. A vacation may not be on your horizon, but the smallest breaks can bring balance: sipping espresso on a patio, enjoying a night out with friends or taking a lie-in one morning.

While my goal is to one day enjoy gelato in Rome, you may have no interest in that dream.

What 3 places would you go on your own pleasure, devotion, balance journey?

Fellow Eat, Pray, Love readers, what’s your feedback of the book?

On my own journey,
Jaime

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A Modern Marketer (with an Old School Soul): Things I Carry

As a modern marketer with an old school soul, what kind of things do I carry?

Things I Carry

Things I carry — as a modern marketer (with an old school soul)

Staying Connected

  • Mini Tablet — This little guy keeps me connected while I’m on the go. It’s powerful enough to stream videos, manage multiple social media accounts and drive me around the World Wide Web, but small enough to fit in my bag.
  • Smartphone (not pictured) — How did we live without smartphones? The 5″ HD display brings videos, photos and messages into clear view while the lightweight and slim design is perfect for my small hands. The 4G network keeps me connected, and the 13 MP main camera takes professional pics when I need them. Late last year, I picked up a cover with a kickstand, which provides the protection I need with the slim fit I like. (The two inside pockets are perfect for your ID, credit card or business card.) UPDATE

Power Up

  • Portable Charger —  This lightweight portable charger keeps my smartphone and tablet juiced. The 2600mAh battery provides up to 12 hours of extra power, and is recharged by USB. Micro USB cord included.
  • Water Bottle — It’s amazing how much better your brain works when you’re hydrated. Make it easy to drink enough water by carrying a refillable water bottle with you. This 20 oz bottle includes an internal screen, so you can infuse your water with fruit (without plugging up your straw), and infuse your day with energy.
  • Starbucks Gold Card — Some days, it’s my sanity. As a small business owner, life can be stressful, but handcrafted espresso can make the worst day OK again. Plus, being Gold has its rewards. (I was going to include my battered Starbucks reusable cup, but this looks so much better.)

Kicking It Old School

  • Felt Tip Pen — While I love my gadgets, there’s nothing quite like putting pen to paper. Blog posts, marketing plans and social media strategy all come to life in spiral-bound notebooks with these glorious pens. And there’s something so elegant about writing with a felt tip…
  • (Paper) Business Cards — Yes, everyone’s online these days. So am I. But there’s still something about handing someone (prospect? connector? life-changer?) a physical business card. You’re giving someone a little piece of yourself, a physical reminder of your brand, the business that you’ve sweated and agonized over. It’s amazing what can come from a 3.5″ x 2″ (or thereabouts) piece of paper.
  • A Book — As a writer, I read a lot. I like to have a fiction and non-fiction book going at the same time, which helps me to tackle my two-page (and ever-growing) reading list. So far in 2015, I’ve devoured books on personal branding and entrepreneurship, the power of creativity, changing the way you think and life, love and loss. Reading is an integral part of who I am, so I always try to carry a book (or books) with me.

Odds and Ends

  • Big Red Slim Pack™ — A doctor once told me that I show 9 out of the 10 signs of becoming a chain smoker. How refreshing! So I chain-chew Big Red gum instead. Not any gum, Big Red. I love the cinnamon flavor, and fresh breath is always a good thing. The slim pack is convenient, sliding in my bag or back pocket.
  • Eyeglasses — I’m visually inspired and impaired. My glasses help me see clearly, so I can help others communicate clearly. My Tory Burch frames project a bit of professionalism, so I can play the part.
  • Sunglasses — I’m light sensitive, so I never leave the house or office without sunglasses. In fact, I keep 3 pairs sitting next to my bag, just in case.
  • Lotion — Along with the aforementioned sunglasses, I rarely am without lotion. My dry skin isn’t helped by living in Siberia half the year. So there’s always lotion — in my bag, work bag, car and all over my house.
  • Italian Roots — I’m proud of my Italian heritage, and it helps me every day. I’ve needed a thick skin, indomitable will and fighting nature to climb the ladder in corporate America, start my own business and step out of my comfort zone. And yes, I talk with my hands, so get over it. 😉

Bag It

  • Coach Travel Flight Tablet Bag — The first time I saw this bag, it was love at first sight. Whether flying around the world or around town, I have everything I need at my fingertips without being weighed down. Plus, my hands are free to tweet, message, blog or carry my espresso. And the camo? For a country girl, that’s just a little slice of heaven.


What do you carry?

Leave a list in the comments below or upload your pictures to social media and tag us!

What do you think of what I carry?

Cheers,
Jaime

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Step 2: Now It’s Time To Write

If prewriting is the pregame strategy session, step two of the writing process — drafting or writing — is the mad rush onto the field. After all of the film watching and play designing and planning, it’s time to let it all out.

Wildcat Willie leads the Kansas State football team onto the field!

Step two of the writing process is a rush of adrenaline!
Photo by The U.S. Army via CC BY 2.0 // effects added by the author

draft·ing (verb): the second stage of the writing process during which a writer organizes information and ideas into sentences and paragraphs

You may be wondering why I’m using the term drafting instead of writing. I thought it would help avoid confusion because we’re discussing the entire writing process. But rest assured, we’re talking about the same thing. This is the phase where you try to type or write as fast as the words pour out of you, if you’ve done a good job of prewriting.

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.”  -John Steinbeck

This is the fun part, or at least the part where you start to see results. It’s like rolling that first stripe of paint on the wall after hours of prep work or taking the plunge out of an airplane after going through all of the pre-jump requirements. (I prefer the latter but I’m sure painting is just as exciting to some people!) This is the time to introduce your characters or describe the situation or state your points clearly.

This is not the time to worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation or overall structure. I’m not saying that you should leave them out on purpose, but these items will be addressed during the next two steps (revising and editing). If you tend to correct grammatical errors or typos without thinking about it, don’t worry. Some of us are just hardwired that way (including yours truly). It will slow you down if you attempt to not correct these errors at this time.

One of the reasons that I love writing is that you can do it almost anywhere. All you need is a computer, typewriter or pen and paper AND some privacy. How much privacy? That depends on you. Some people want a room with a door they can shut. Others don’t mind light background noise: quiet conversations on a cafe patio, the soothing tones of the ocean or the peaceful sounds of nature.

“Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream… The space can be humble, and it really needs only one thing: a door you are willing to shut.”  -Stephen King

Privacy can be hard to find in today’s corporate America environments. If you’re sitting in a cubicle in the middle of an open concept floor plan, surrounded by talking co-workers, music piped through overhead speakers and other office noises, it can be tough to write — for anyone. Don’t discredit your ability to write if you have issues in this type of environment. Try to find anywhere quiet — an open conference room, a forgotten nook or a local park during your lunch break. It’s frustrating, but you may have to take your writing assignments home in order to produce quality work.

And if you’re into writing by hand (like a certain author of this blog)? Don’t be embarrassed or feel old-fashioned. It turns out that it’s good for your brain.

FREE Download –> The Power of the Pen: 5 Steps to Writing That Produces Results

Feedback on This Draft

Where’s your favorite place to write?

Who’s your favorite writer?

What’s your favorite written piece — by you or someone else?

Chime in with any other thoughts on the drafting (or writing) phase of the writing process.

If you have any writing-related questions, please ask. Or we can handle all of your writing needs so you can focus on saving the world before bedtime (or the big game).

Cheers,
Jaime

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Free Your Mind and The Productivity Will Follow

One of my favorite college classes was Business Writing. While it was a morning class (night owl here), we were so productive in that hour and fifteen minute time frame. Why? Free writes.

Do you free write?

Free writing — and espresso — help me get the creative juices flowing.

Each class, we’d arrive and sit down at a computer. The professor (who was another reason that class was so productive) would give us a topic, seemingly at random. We’d have 15 minutes to write on that topic, whether it be our desired superpower or a special memory from our childhood. No matter the topic, the free writes produced the desired results — getting our creative juices flowing.

Let’s be honest. College students aren’t known for being morning people and may party more than most. But the simple act of free writing helped us wake up, start thinking and made the rest of the class more productive.

Do you free write?

Sometimes I’ll look back through my college papers, and I always enjoy re-reading the free writes from this class. I’m going to begin incorporating these back into my routine to help break through writer’s block and get my mind going when it’s just one of those days.

Here’s your free write topic: What superpower would you choose? Why? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

Cheers,
Jaime

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If Only Life Were A Never-Ending Summer…

A love triangle. A historic hurricane. A marriage for money, and the ultimate betrayal. Who knew life was so glamorous in 1938?

 A Hundred Summers

 

Socialite Lily Dane is looking forward to spending another summer with her family at idyllic Seaview, Rhode Island in 1938. The small seaside community may be a little too quiet for some, but Lily enjoys the escape from the hustle and bustle of the New York social scene. Then her former best friend (Budgie) shows up with her former fiancé (Nick) in tow, and the summer promises to be anything but quiet.

As tensions mount, the truth begins to slowly emerge about why Budgie and Nick married, and how Graham Pendleton, Nick’s former teammate and current Yankees pitcher, fits into the mix. As if the scandal and intrigue aren’t enough, the New England Hurricane of 1938 storms into everyone’s lives and forever alters the future.

“Summer of 1938: A scandalous love triangle and a famous hurricane converge in a New England beach community. Add in a betrayal between friends, a marriage for money, and a Yankee pitcher, and it’s a perfect storm.” —Good Housekeeping

I finished this novel as summer came to an unofficial end over Labor Day weekend, a time that usually makes me a little sad. Summer is my favorite time of the year, and I always dread as we move into fall, only because I know what lies behind for us Northeast Ohioans — the fury of winter.

It’s always fun to explore different time periods and social classes, and I began to think about the concept of ‘summering.’

Does your family ‘summer?’

Or do you have a tradition of taking vacations together?

What is your favorite summer or vacation memory?

What’s your favorite season?

 

p.s. Summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd, so you still have time for a good beach read!

If only life was a never-ending summer…

Wishing I was a socialite,
Jaime

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On Writing…

Writing. It’s something we all learned to do at an early age, but some people are more adept at it than others. If you’re trying to improve your writing, here are a few tips I’ve picked up since I started writing at age 3. 🙂

I still love filling notebooks with my thoughts and chicken scratch.

Write often. Then write some more. It’s amazing how much more confident you feel about your writing when you practice, practice, practice. Blogging, notebooks, a journal or your Mac, the platform and audience doesn’t really matter. Just keep writing.

Can’t write? Read. Even if you’re not an avid reader, find something — or someone — you like. It doesn’t have to be business-related or in your field. As much as I enjoy psychology and sociology books, my favorite author of all time is Stephen King, a master of words. I’ve learned so much from reading his works.

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” –Stephen King

Say something. Seriously. Read what you just wrote and ask yourself what the takeaway is. If you can’t come up with anything, then neither can your audience.

Don’t waste words. While the type of writing depends on your audience, platform and objectives, never waste words. If a word or paragraph doesn’t add anything to your work, leave it out. Being eloquent doesn’t have to mean being wordy.

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Proofreading isn’t optional, even in the era of instant publishing and smartphone communication. Poor spelling, grammar and punctuation reflects poorly on the author, no matter what platform. It’s usually helpful to have others proofread your work, but if that’s not possible, at least try to walk away for awhile. It’s amazing what fresh eyes can see.

Grammar can change everything.

So grammar’s not important, huh?
Photo credit: Writers.com (h/t Kathy Yoho)

Beat writer’s block. It happens to anyone who writes sooner or later, but there are actions you can take. Get moving. A brisk walk, an energetic game of basketball or an afternoon hike can be just what you need. They also draw your attention elsewhere. Sometimes when you try so hard to think about something, your brain locks up. It’s not a coincidence that so many great ideas, from novels to solving a client’s issue, happen in the shower or during a run. Think about something else, and the words will probably start flowing again.

Carry a notebook. While I’m old school and love to fill notebooks with my chicken scratch, you may prefer the digital domain. Either way, always carry a notebook (even if it’s your smartphone). You never know when, or where, an idea will strike.

Related reading: Things I Carry: Pen and Paper

Write to your audience. It’s helpful to know who your audience is so you can write to them. Speak in their language, play to their interests and use words they understand. Have you ever read something that seemed like it was written just for you? That’s the power of writing to your audience.

Pay attention. The world is full of writing topics; you just have to see (hear, smell, feel or sense) them. Pay attention to your surroundings, even during mundane tasks. You’ll be surprised what can come out of a walk in the park or your daily commute. I’ve had ideas for blog posts pop into my head while driving through a local metro park and making leg lamp cookies.

What tips would you add?

Where’s your favorite place to write (or read)?

Have you ever read writing outside of your ‘comfort zone’ and loved it?

While we’re all expected to be writers these days, some people just aren’t comfortable putting their thoughts on paper (or screen). Is that you? Then I’d love to work my magic for you

Writing away,
Jaime

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