Writing with Authenticity

pushpin My fascination with the topic of authenticity dates back many years.  My interest was not so much in the theory as in the practice of authenticity.  When I first started exploring a career in copywriting, I faced a big problem.  It seemed that success was marked by the ability to write “shock and awe” — headlines that threatened imminent loss or promised enormous quick returns.  I was unsure of my ability to write in that style without incurring a high cost of internal conflict.

Fortunately, my decision to specialize in writing white papers and case studies has relieved me of the burden of hype.  My recent interest in information security and authentication has reinforced that decision.  You don’t need hype to sell authentication.  Good authentication proves itself by providing security.

I think the same principle applies to writing and writers.  Good writing is authentic, as are good writers.  When people tell you to “find your voice”, they are actually crystallizing the core element of authenticity.  Writers who are comfortable with their craft have discovered the secret of authenticity.  Their ability to draw on that knowledge fuels their brand of eloquence.

My guess is there are many writers out there who seem stuck in a field where their writing is it at odds with their internal wiring.  This could turn work into a daily struggle.  To you, I offer a simple suggestion: find a specialization where you can be yourself.  Here is how Les Edgerton puts it in his book , Finding Your Voice – how to put your personality in your writing:

You know what’s really, really cool?  The exhilarating sense of confidence you’ll gain when you learn your own voice is perhaps just as good as anyone who just got a rave review in the Times.  Maybe it’s even better.  You can’t hold back a writer who grasps this about him or herself.”

Being able to enjoy what you do can only add to the joy of doing it well.

 

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.

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Mentors, Coaches, and the Freelancer

Workspace From different origination points and paths, we arrive at the door marked “Entrepreneur”. Some entrepreneurs have the knack for handling business decisions seamlessly.  No deadline is too short or issue too intimidating for these lucky few.

I arrived at my white paper writing business after many years of wishing and stalling.  Finally, I knew I had to re-define my professional focus and recapture the joy of using my knowledge and skills.  In short, I needed to begin a new journey  — one that gave me the flexibility I desired.

Making that decision was the easy part.  I didn’t expect to feel such relief and euphoria, but I did.  Of course, there was also the kill-joy fear and doubt, but overall, I felt liberated.  I created a timeline, which I hoped would keep me on a clear path.  For the most part the plan worked and I stayed the course.  However, there were detours and distractions — periods when it seemed I was aimless.  Granted much of what I was doing fell under the category of research, but the truth was it could also be classified as feeding inertia.  Stalling.

It was time for serious  structure.  For me it meant finding a mentor or a coach, someone to hold me accountable for my plan.  Looking back now, I know I made the right choice in Nick Usborne.  He is just the kind of business coach who knows how to help you turn on the switches, process your fears, and move on with realizing your business goals.  I teased him by calling him the “king of subtle” — Nick’s mentoring/coaching style is effective without being burdensome.  The business plan is yours; he provides the insightful prompts.  He lets you savor your AHA moments.

Well, I am now convinced of the benefits of having a mentor or business coach regardless of where you are in your status as an entrepreneur — doing so early in the process might save you some anguish, but better late than not. A good mentor or coach will help you channel your energies productively.

So if you find yourself stalled or unsure where next to take your business ideas, it might be time to consider getting the input of a mentor or a coach.  Here are a few options you might want to explore:

  1. Get the names of two or three reputable business coaches and contact them.  If you are a freelance copywriter, I wholeheartedly recommend  Nick Usborne.  You can reach Nick at www.asknickusborne.com.
  2. If you are a member of the American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI),  I understand AWAI is starting a new mentoring program for members.  Check with Katie Yeakle at www.awaionline.com.
  3. If you are a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), check with member services about the mentoring program (www.aiip.org).
  4. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) sponsors a type of mentoring program for small business owners.  It is called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).  Many local SBAs have SCORE chapters.  While not directly targeting writers, SCORE  counselors might be able to help you with general business management issues.  The service is free.  Check www.sba.gov for what’s available in your area.

One last tip:  It is important to keep reminding yourself why you started out as an entrepreneur.  Running your own business is a  journey, not a destination.  Embrace the experience.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.

Just saying it — for my brother

blue-moonOne thing I like about the social media is how it is making sharing much easier.  My guess is that the wonderful combination of near-anonymity and spaciousness of the media makes it easy for otherwise reserved individuals to open up.  All of a sudden we all have something to say, and we are actually saying it.  Almost like shouting in the woods — you enjoy the release without worrying so much about who is listening.

I am a business writer, but I sometimes scribble what I like to think of as poetry.  Strictly for fun.  For me sharing my poems here is like “shouting in the woods”.  I thought I’d make my first instalment a poem I wrote for my brother.  Here goes–

FOR MY BROTHER

Sweet memories, simple pleasures —

the pranks, the rivalries.

Unfettered affection,

Connected.

Sadness and separation, memories dispersed —

thoughts stalled, hearts cooled

Disconnected.

Reunion and joy, memories gathered —

love reignited, hearts warmed

Unfettered affection,

Reconnected.

Now, it’s your turn to just say it.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.

Patience during transitions

growthNavigating transitions is not always easy, but they are almost always points of growth — if we are patient.  Unfortunately, I don’t wait well.  The fact that I am going through a transition in my professional life and coping with seemingly unending issues have only fueled my impatience.  However, I am finding that answers come faster and are clearer during  pauses.    Conversely, frantic activity seems to slow  my progress and blur my perception.  So I am learning to curb the tendency to rush, and to take more pauses.

I am grateful to have many helpful resources to draw on as I move forward.  Like this little book by Mike George titled 1001 Meditations – how to discover peace of mind.  It is full of affirmations, prompts, and ageless wisdom served up in just the right tone and dose.  I confess I have not read it all — I doubt one is expected to simply read through it.  My guess is it is meant to be used as needed — like a good remedy.

For instance, when I feel the urge to hurry and fret, I browse through the book and select something to restore my balance.  Here are three that I’ve found very helpful in recent days:

  1. “With time and patience. the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown” – a Chinese proverb (#294, page 118).
  2. “When I look into the future, I see a vista of challenge and resolution.  I venture forth with strength, hope, and faith” – a modern affirmation (#7, page 14).
  3. “Approach your life as an epic adventure.  Each stage of your journey presents its own particular challenges.  Recognize that you have all you need within yourself to meet each challenge and embrace the lessons it brings” (#9, page 14).

They are simple, to-the-point, and effective.

I wish you days of patience and insight.

 

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.

Blogging and Listening

building-blocksThese days gurus abound.  One look at the multiplicity of blogs, forums, and other social networking media, and you get the impression that everyone is an expert.  There is so much talk (and some noise), I sometimes wonder if we are running the risk of losing the ability to listen.  I hope not, because listening is essential for good communication.

In the spirit of good communication, welcome to Report Content Writer’s Blog.  This blog is one way of adding our voice to the chorus.  The face behind the voice is Rachel’s — the executive director of RCW.

We  focus on adventures in white paper writing and b2b lead generation.  Occasionally, we might wander into other areas of interest — but never too far from topics relating to creativity and writing.

In the coming days and weeks,  I will share tales from my neck of the woods.  Hopefully, you’d find some of the conversation interesting enough to join in.

Here is to our collective wisdom — one blog at a time.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.

Finding inspiration

notebookThere is so much noise in the world around us.  The news media seem to revel in spreading bad news.  There is no shortage of rude people, loud music, and self-appointed experts telling us they hold the key to whatever it is we seek.  It is enough to make cynics of us all.  Yet, I believe there is inspiration everywhere.  It is there for the seeker to find; to awaken and energize.

This is my remedy.  Each day, I look for inspiration in quiet places.  On tea bag tags.  Within myself.  I write them in spiral-bound notebooks. I revisit them often.  I am delighted by how fresh they remain.  Enduring.  It is the true nature of inspiration:  it does not go stale, it remains evergreen.

When the noise of the day intrudes and threatens to derail me, I stop.  I find a quiet place and stay for a while.  Before long, I feel renewed and my creativity resumes its flow from the wisdom of my soul.

Please inspire me by sharing  your source of inspiration.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.