"I Feel My Feels in the Moment."

#mindset Jun 15, 2021

A student from years ago, now a wonderful friend, is fighting cancer. We were speaking by phone today and the topic of stress came up. I told her that the worst part for me of a stressful event is the dread on the backside of it -- wondering when it might return and whether it's entirely solved.

"I feel my feels in the moment," she said. I asked her to repeat it.

She told me that the goal, not always reached, is to experience things as they happen, then attempt to stop, and move to the next thing. Experience the feeling as it's occurring, and experience it fully. This helps the moving on.

If anyone should know, it's her.

In a more plebeian application, when you write, choose to finish. Resist the temptation to come back over and over without a limit on the number of edits -- because those edits soon become little more than second guesses.

In other words, feel your feels in the moment. Accept your work, then move along. You'll get more done, faster, and you'll come to feel more...

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Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Fifty-five years ago this weekend the Beach Boys released their album Pet Sounds. At the time...

* It was the least popular album they had done.

* Its singles were less successful than what came before.

* Critics were lukewarm.

* Many fans decided the band's best days were behind them.

Yet Pet Sounds is now one of the most influential and beloved recordings ever made.

The writing tip?

First reactions aren't always deep or valuable.

Wanna be a great writer -- even in PR and business? After you know what your client wants, give them your own best take on it, even if it's not like what's come before. It's the only way any writer (or artist!) stands out from the crowd.

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More Than A Writing Tip

Last night I saw an eye-catching video of a new invention. It was at best revolutionary and at least fun.
But that's not what the commenters said. I thought of the last line of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery": "...and then they were upon her."
Almost every comment tore down the idea and the person who posted it, often with glee.
That's what people do, we get contrary.
Pardon my language, but that's a sh*tty way to live.
It's also a poor way to write, to think, and to conduct discourse.
WHEN YOU WRITE OR ANALYZE, recognize your own knee-jerk opposition, set it aside, then do this:
1. Focus first on what's uniquely good about the thing you're writing about.
2. If that's not possible, focus constructively on the motivation. You may hate the idea but you may share the goal. (For example, you may hate free-market medicine or socialized medicine, but most supporters of either path want people to get good care at affordable...
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Writers Have to Know This

#mindset Apr 27, 2021

If you want to be a writer, you probably have these two ideas floating around your head.

First, you think of a writer as someone who gets paid to write down their clever thoughts in clever ways.

Second, you dwell more on how it feels to have written something than you do on how it feels sitting down to write.

There’s a lot of illusion in that. It also explains why so many talk about becoming a writer and so few end up in this business.

I post frequently about the fun things I write: stage plays, screenplays, fiction, comic essays, scripts, jokes, my neuroscience book. Unless you knew me first as a speechwriter, that’s probably what you think of when it comes to my writing. Yet most of what I write is nothing like that. It doesn’t even have my name on it: I’m talking about op-eds, speeches, public relations material, editing articles for publication, and, lately, writing entire books in collaboration with other people.

The truth is that professional writers...

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Positivity When We Need Some

#mindset Jan 07, 2021
Early in my time at Georgetown, a student told me this:
"When I was in high school, a teacher told me I was no good at writing and that I should pursue something else. So I did. But you told me I *could* write -- and you were right. And now I get to do what I love!"
Encourage everyone you meet in their positive pursuits.
Tell them they can do it, even if you're not sure. Encouragement is where it all begins.
Let's build each other up.
P.S. Here's a tweet from the poet Clint Smith with his similar experience.
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If You Want to Get the Big Things Right, Worry About the Little Things.

#mindset Sep 30, 2020

It’s not enough to know your subject inside and out. Also knowing how to write well makes it easier to share what you know, and makes it more likely that people will understand you and take the action you want.

The details matter.

Check out today’s video.

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Writing Advice From My Dad, The Country Preacher

#mindset #positivity Sep 21, 2020

“If there’s anything I can do, call me…” puts the burden on the person who’s hurting.

Make it easy on them. Offer something in particular, then follow up yourself.

Check out today’s video!

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Overcome Intimidation

#mindset #success Sep 16, 2020

The key to acquiring a big, new skill is setting tiny goals for every morning – doable, daily goals.

Commit to five minutes a day. Just five minutes! Do more if you want, but give yourself permission to stop after five, every time.

Then see what happens.

Check the video!

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"It's Too Late to Do What I Want to Do"

#mindset #positivity Sep 07, 2020

If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re wrong.

It’s never too late, not if you have another day in front of you. Not if you have one more hour.

Check out today’s video.


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Write Down Your Creative Ideas

If you write at all, you need to carry around a notebook and a pencil 24/7. (Nutty look in your eye optional.)
Whenever you get an idea – a word, a phrase, a topic, a clever line – write it down.
That way, when it’s time to write, you don’t have to be clever on command. You have a toybox of creative ideas ready to go.
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