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A time to write

There’s no magic to my writing habit, I just put one word in front of another. For me, it’s a form of mindfulness.

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There are two reasons people don’t publish their writing, effort and bravery.

It takes energy and stamina to continually put one word in front of another. It simply isn’t a priority for most people. Life gets in the way.

It also requires a degree of bravery to share your ideas publicly.

I rarely write publicly about personal stuff because I don’t have the confidence. Whenever I occasionally do, I’m always taken aback by the response. Perhaps that’s a lesson.

I use writing as a way of thinking out loud, sharing ideas and building a network.

Writing workflow

I was asked in a writing workshop last week how I find the time.

My issue isn’t finding time to write. It’s finding the time for all the other stuff such as reading widely, listening to podcasts, research, editing, publication, and sharing.

Over the years I’ve developed a workflow.

I bookmark, print and keep copies of anything I find interesting, or anything I’m sent. I like hard copy to mark-up and scrawl notes in the margins.

Almost all my reading and writing is done on the move, either on trains or planes, or in bed before I get up on a morning.

I use notes on the iPhone for the first draft of most things, just as I am now. It forces you to write for the screen, in a lean and tight format. Editing, formatting, fact checking and links come later on a computer.

This process serves me well. It’s like being a journalist 20 years ago sat in front of a text terminal. There’s no internet to distract you, and nowhere to hide.

Writing buddy, coach or mentor

I work with an editor on my personal blog. We’ve a reciprocal deal via DropBox. I review her writing, she reviews mine.

I’d highly recommend finding a blogger in a related field, and having a conversation about developing this sort of relationship. The discipline and support creates momentum and you’ll write much better as a result.

Conversations and connections

Publishing and sharing content take almost as much time as writing, if not more.

That’s a good thing. It’s exciting. Comments come and go as a means of engagement on a blog. At the moment they’re back.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all good media for conversations, depending on the topic.

Invest as much time as you can. You’ll learn from people’s responses, and every conversation opens up the potential to a new relationship and opportunity.

Mindfulness through writing

I didn’t understand the contemporary attraction for colouring until I talked to someone about their motivation. You must have seen the books on the counter at book stores and newsagents.

It was an unusual sight, the businessman in his late-60s, poised with a coloured pencil, in an airport lounge, colouring book next to a beer.

“My grandchildren got me started at Christmas. I find it incredibly relaxing; it’s craft, a form of art,” he said.

That’s exactly what I get from writing, I said.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

5 Comments

  1. Quality stuff as ever Stephen. Last blog post I did a couple of weeks ago was done on Notes on my iPhone too. Found it a very good way to just rattle out my thoughts and then fine tune it later. Actually changed the text very little as it turned out. Definitely something to be said for the immediacy of Notes – does what it says on the tin!

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