Are You Good Enough To Write Your Own Content?

Will you let your light shine or not?

Hey you,

It’s #2.

Today I was watching an absolutely engrossing interview with a man by the name of Damon Lindelof and I just had to share it with you.

It’s a part of the “Write Environment” series hosted by Greg Berman.  If you don’t know Damon by name you’re probably familiar with his work because he & JJ Abrahams are the brains behind the smash hit TV show “Lost” and the recent blockbuster movie “Star Trek”.

For “Lost” alone, this guy has had to tap out thousands of pages of writing on strict deadlines for over 100 episodes and while doing so had to make sure it wasn’t just “Good is Good Enough” but he was responsible for making it riveting.

Now this plays right into our discussion we’ve been having about the dire need to make our marketing entertaining.  In a way, each individual episode of a hit T.V. show, up until the finale is great marketing.  The writers give you enough benefit in each episode to come back week after week so you can get your ultimate payoff at the end of the season and if they’re great, they suck you into buying the whole damn DVD set for $50 bucks.

Near the end of the interview Greg asks Damon if he ever gets writers block and what words he would give to aspiring writers.  Now even if you don’t see yourself as a writer, what he says may very well be important to you as a marketer of whatever it is you sell.

Pay very close attention because no matter what, you’ve gotta communicate with other people if want to sell your ideas or products.  If you’re a lone ranger doing this from home on the internet, you’re challenged with influencing through the written word.

If you don’t do this through email or web site copy and you’re charged with doing it toe to toe, you still would be wise to think out what the most compelling thing you could say in a conversation with your ideal customer that would help them overcome their reluctance toward what you offer.

Maybe you’ve got a foot in each pile.

Whatever the case, it’s important for you to listen to Damon because it can lead to having the biggest possible impact possible in your niche and it will help you avoid being embarrassed beyond measure or scared shitless to the point that you don’t take action.

Here’s his opinion first on writer’s block…

Greg:  Do you ever get writer’s block?

Damon:  Of course.

Greg:  What to do to overcome it?

Damon:  Um, normally I just force myself to write through it.  I think most writer’s block comes from not wanting to write something shitty. And you just basically have to say ‘Well, I’m just going to write something shitty because right now, something shitty is better than nothing at all.’

It’s the pervasive fear that no one’s gonna like what you’re writing or it’s gonna be bad.  This is what creates writer’s block as opposed to ‘I don’t have any ideas.’  I have ideas all the time, it’s just executing those ideas and making them good, that’s the hard part.

I’ve never had the kind of writer’s block where I sit in front of my computer and say, ‘I just don’t know what I’m gonna write today.’  If I was feeling that way I’d just go bowling or to see a movie.  I mean there’s no reason to force yourself to write if you’ve got nothing to write.

When you’re actually in the process of writing and you’re afraid of making a bad decision and invariably it is shitty but once you have something shitty to work off, there’s only room to improve.  You know, call it first draft or what have you, but then invariably in the process of writing something shitty you start figuring out which direction you want to go in.  You made a wrong turn and hit a dead end but now at least you learned you were supposed to turn right.

So, progress is progress.

I don’t know about you but for me that was a profound revelation, the whole idea of writer’s block being rooted in the idea of being scared to write something that stinks up the joint and that this pile of shit is my way to a great piece of content or sales copy.

The fear of what people will think of me has crashed and burned so many great articles and salesletters of mine.  It was actually one of the major reasons that stopped me all these years from starting up my own site selling my services.

Here I was, this guy who wowed business professionals, whom I thought shouldn’t be wowed because I was telling them what was common sense to me and the experts I consulted with, who himself was afraid he wasn’t enough.

Pitiful.

Maybe you’ve been in the same position before and whether you have or haven’t overcome it, Damon’s response to Greg’s next question might be just what you need to hear right now…

Greg: Do you have any words for aspiring writers?

Damon: Um, you know what, I wish I had an inspirational answer to that question that was not sort of the canned, you know, ‘Don’t give up on your dreams…  Keep at it, don’t listen to anybody else…’ but I think the most honest answer to that question is…

If you think you have something to say, if you feel you’re a talented writer, then don’t paint all of your hopes and dreams and aspirations on other people understanding what you’re writing.

You just have to keep writing and resign yourself to the fact that you might not make millions of dollars writing but that doesn’t make you any less of a writer.

If it is in your bones to write, then you must continue to write and allow no one to discourage you and divorce yourself from the fact that your writing is going to be understood by many.

The idea that we make our living as writers and our writing has to be geared towards millions of millions of people thinking it’s good, I think hampers us from being really, really great writers because really, really great writers don’t care whether or not millions and millions of people think it’s good.  They only have to think about whether or not they think it’s good.

So, the cheesy answer is actually the most sincere, which is write for yourself.  The only thing that matters is if you think it’s cool and if you think it’s good and if you think it’s something meaningful to you.  And if you give something that you think is great to someone else and they say this isn’t great, that’s not true.  It is.  They’re just an idiot.

——————————————————

I’ve had this happen before.

In the past I’ve had projects I worked on where I turned in multiple drafts for just the lead because the business owner felt I wasn’t connecting with the audience.

For the life of me I couldn’t see where I was missing.  The only reason I’d submitted the copy was because I believed in it.  However, we had a difference in opinion.

I actually told my partner at the time, once I got the feedback that the owner didn’t like the copy that, “Maybe, I’m not meant to write for other people.”

It felt restrictive to me to have someone clash with what I believed to be right.  When I wrote for my business, I never had to get someone else’s approval.  My word was the last word and if I failed, I failed in what I believed in, not what someone else did.

Then, my partner snapped me out of my stupor, reminding me of all the other clients I’d had great success with and told me this experience was an asset, not a liability.

People aren’t always going to agree with you but when you try to please everyone, you please no one.

Now it might be easy to misinterpret Damon’s advice as “Everything you write is perfect and other people’s opinions don’t make a difference.”

That’s not what I read into it.  What I see as the greatest pitfall is putting more credence into what others think of your work than you do.  People who believe in what they say can make a Nazi Germany possible, Jim Jones’ The People’s Church possible and on the flip side, Entrepreneurism possible.

I read into Damon’s advice as you’ve got to believe in yourself more than anybody else does and put yourself out there knowing there is no such thing as reality.  What, you say, no such thing as reality?”

Yes, I said there is no such thing as reality.

What you have going on in your mind is only a perceptual model of the world.  It’s your map of the world.  It’s all made up.

Everyone has a different model of the world based upon how you filter things through your own screens, through your own belief systems, through your history, through your culture and things like that.

This is why, if you know 5,000 people you have 5,000 reputations.  Everyone has their own view of you which is why it’s so deadly to try to play to everyone else’s taste.

You can’t control everyone’s perception of you.  The only thing you have control over is your character.  This is why the story of heroism is so enduring.  People aspire to sculpt their character into that of a hero and of course, some are more successful than others.

This is why when you heroically put yourself out there and write your own content, whether it’s through blog posts or articles or emails, it pays to write from your heart and what you believe to be true for you.  Just think about how good you are at sniffing out text book sounding, regurgitated shit from a real genuine conversation.

There’s the principal of “The more personal you think something is, the more universal it is.”

Believe in that and you can take full advantage of writing content for your own niche and your own list.

Don’t believe in it and stay forever trapped in the prison of “Coulda, shouda, woulda…”

Talk soon,

Note Taking Nerd #2

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