Tag Archives: writing

Some of my favorite moments…

dandelions

Jason Long via Unsplash

The first sip of coffee of the day.

Writing the first word on the first page of a brand-new notebook.

Leaving Oil Can Henry’s with a tidy car and a grown-up task checked off the list.

Standing in the fitting room and realizing the jeans actually fit.

Impromptu hugs from my little boy.

 


 

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Leadership, Amazon and The Boss: 5 Things I Found Useful This Week

camera phone

Jay Wennington via Unsplash

1.  Megan Borrie’s thoughts on leadership…it’s a personal thing.

2.  Jeff Goins’ podcast on building discipline, mastery and how Amazon is leveling the playing field for independent authors.

3.  Looking for great, free images for your blog?  Check out Unsplash.

4.  Want to create your own awesome images with just your phone?  Check out 11 Tips To Better Phone Photos.

5.  I was 11 years old when Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA was released and I can still sing every word to every song.  I seriously wore that cassette tape out!  Hat tip to Sarah Von Bargen for sharing Dead Man’s Town, a 30th anniversary tribute, with indie artists covering all the songs on the original album.  So good!

 

Telling our stories in the digital age.

olympia 2 by glasseyes view

When I was little, I remember my dad pacing the living room floor, dictating, as my mom typed his words on our old electric typewriter.  It was a big, humming machine and the keys made a satisfying chunk sound.  The manuscripts were typed, edited, typed again and then mailed off to magazine editors.  After my dad passed, my mom sent me the 30-year-old copies of Ranger Rick and Owl that held the evidence of their hard work.

Way back in 1994, I started a newsletter about local music in my hometown – The Perimeter: McMinnville’s Premier Music Publication.  I typed the articles on our high-tech word processor, then carefully cut them into columns and pasted them onto graph paper.  I hand-lettered the masthead and had a local print shop make 50 copies.  A few issues in, my family got a PC, outfitted with Microsoft Publisher and a dial-up internet connection, and my production value went up considerably.

Last week, I helped a single mom, with not much work history but lots of life experience, draft her resume.  We emailed back and forth, discussing different ways to describe her skills and tell her story.  We changed fonts, reworked the design, and uploaded to her LinkedIn profile, all with a few clicks of a button.

Kitty Ireland remembers typing her first resume on a rented typewriter at the public library.  Reading her post, I was reminded how hard getting our ideas out into the world used to be. Crafting a good story, one that deftly explains who we are and what we can offer, is still hard work.  But the mechanics of story-telling have definitely gotten easier.

 

(Photo by glasseyes view via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

 

3 writing lessons learned from a year of blogging.

writing lessons

This week marks the one year anniversary of my first post here on The Management Maven.  While this hardly makes me a blogging expert, I have gained some insight into what works and what doesn’t work for me.  Have a read and then let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about your own writing practice.

Write as much as possible, ideally every day.

I don’t mean post every day – I haven’t even come CLOSE to that.  But just the act of writing everyday – journaling, free-writing, whatever – gets you into a rhythm and the words start to flow more easily.  Posts, when you’re ready to write them, come together much faster.  Just like physical exercise, I’ve found that the longer I go without writing, the harder it becomes to start again.

Write about what you feel like writing about.

Many bloggers plan out their topics with a posting calendar.  This hasn’t worked for me. (which is a little surprising, since I’m such a planner by nature.)  My best posts seem to rise out of whatever I happen to be doing and thinking about that day.  Not that I don’t consider the overall arc of my blog – it’s just that exploring a topic when it’s fresh and interesting to me seems to make my writing better and more engaging.

Keep it simple.

When I’m struggling with a post that just won’t seem to come together, it’s usually because I’ve gotten too attached to a particular idea that just doesn’t fit.  I need to step back, consider what fundamental point I’m trying to make and cut anything that doesn’t develop it.  “Kill your darlings”, as they say, and things will start to gel.


Other posts related to writing:

Don’t let your busy writing get “puffy”.
Post. Promote. Move on.
Work on your writing skills.


 

Management Quick Tip: Work on your writing skills.

No no. Thank you!  by Aaron Stidwell

Email and social media have made us all writers, no matter what our job title.

And we can all stand to get better at conveying our messages clearly, succinctly and in a way that engages our readers.

Here are a few resources to help you hone your writing chops:

 

               

                

 

How about you?  Do you have a favorite book on writing?  Please share in the comments.

 

(Photo by Aaron Stidwell via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

 

(This post contains affiliate links to Powell’s Books.)

 

When did overwhelm become a noun?

Mosaic Salsa by brillianthues (cropped)

As in “How to Fight Overwhelm” or “Overcoming the Overwhelm.”

This use of overwhelm as a noun is a pet peeve of mine.  Now, I don’t exactly consider myself the Grammar Police.  I can overlook the occasional your/you’re or there/their mistake.  I can appreciate the creative use of language.  (Think different.)  And I understand that language evolves.  (Because internet.)  So why does this overwhelm thing get under my skin?

Feeling overwhelmed.  Finding a task overwhelming.  These are transitive states.

But when we take overwhelm as a noun, it becomes something outside ourselves.  An entity.  A separate thing that we can’t control.  It implies that taking on more than we can handle is an unavoidable fact of modern life.  Like gridlock.  Or the Kardashians.

But is it?  We certainly have an increasingly large number of demands on our time, energy and attention.  But to overwhelm is an action.  We need to remain clearheaded about who is putting stressful demands on our resources.  Because ultimately, it is a person, and likely, it’s ourselves.

I find this much easier to deal with then some amorphous entity we’ve dubbed Overwhelm.

What do you think?

 

(Photo by brillianthues via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

 

Have you found your voice?

Singing to the Sunrise by Don McCullough

If you are a writer, blogger or creative of just about any sort, you’ve probably thought a lot about your “voice”.  You’ve worked hard to develop a unique style that expresses how you see the world.  You’ve figured out how to tell your story, as only you can tell it.

If you’re a manager, or aspiring to be one, you may not be as comfortable with this idea.  You’re not an “artist”.  You’re focused on organizing, planning, measuring performance.  Not on finding your “voice”, right?

But here’s why your voice matters:  It’s how we share our worldview.  How we reach people and connect them to our passion and our mission.  Our voice is why people follow us, even as situations change.  Because our worldview resonates with them.  And that’s a valuable component of leadership, isn’t it?

The connection between voice and worldview clicked for me as I read Jeff Goins on creating value as a writer.  Here’s how Goins describes a worldview:

“A paradigm.  A perspective.  A code of ethics.  It’s how we live our lives, whether we recognize it or not.  This is what sets a person’s voice apart from the rest of the noise vying for our attention: not what they say, but how they say it.”

Let me share some elements of my worldview that influence my voice as a manager:

  • Job satisfaction stems from meeting the basic human need for autonomy, purpose and growth.
  • Our environment matters.  The quality and character of our workspaces impact how we do our jobs
  • Systems need creativity to avoid becoming stagnate and stifling.  Creativity needs systems and structure in order to have a meaningful impact.

Now think about your own career.  What links all your different positions together?  All your assorted tasks?  All the decisions you make?  Your unique background and experiences have given you a unique worldview.  Your voice is how you share it.

 

(Photo by Don McCullough via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)