When I write magazine feature articles, I always—ALWAYS—write too much. During that first draft, I can’t help but write as much as I want. So my articles start out too long, sometimes by up to 50% (yikes!).
Now, as a former magazine editor, I know enough to cut before I turn them in. But even then, I usually turn in something that includes 10% more words than they asked for in the assignment.
On the opposite end, another editor I know ALWAYS writes way too little when she writes features. She ends up with an article that’s only 50% of what the word count SHOULD be. She has to go back and add more to what she wrote to meet the requirements.
We each have a style – mine is more detailed and maybe poetic, and hers is more factual and direct. Neither is wrong or right, but our styles do impact how hard we have to work (or not work) at being concise.
What’s your writing style? If you’re struggling to be concise, you might be more like...
My uncle died. Sorry to kick this off on a depressing note, but there it is. I’m going to come around to something encouraging shortly, but sometimes, we have to go through the hard stuff to get there, you know?
Like getting through the thick layer of dislikable stuff to find the lovable part of that one family member.
I’ve lost a lot of family members and friends over the years—to cancer, lung disease, addiction, alcoholism, suicide, you name it.
Grief and I are old bedfellows.
But this one is unique. And I’m going to be frank about why, so hold onto your hat.
My uncle was wicked smart, well-traveled at a young age, a real animal lover, a multi-lingual and highly educated man of letters, an eagle scout, and a barbeque connoisseur.
He was also a hoarder and a sociopath.
And he looked at me like I was sex on a stick from the time I can remember.
Here’s the thing about people who harm us: Sometimes we love them anyway.
My uncle was like...
I woke up this morning about 6 am and did my best with the regular morning stuff.
By 8 am, I felt like I was an utter failure at all the things. All of them. Motherhood, entrepreneurship, online marketing, delegating, deadlines, friendship, you name it.
Do you ever wake up and feel defeated almost before you start?
As I walked around my house turning off lights and adjusting the thermostat, I sent out an “I hate you” to people I can blame for my current obstacles, thought patterns, and core beliefs.
Not surprisingly, this anger at others and the damage they’ve done to me in the past gives me a momentary feeling of righteousness, a stomp-my-foot kind of justification, and a nearly physical rush of power.
But it doesn’t actually make me feel like less of a failure.
It’s at this point in my morning when I realize my thinking is irrational.
People who are failures don’t have thermostats. They can’t pay their light bills so...
What happens when you interview online marketing and high performance expert Brendon Burchard?
Ping-pong, white board jokes, snack breaks, and loads of hugs.
If you're not familiar with Brendon, let me give you a few stats that might give you an idea of his impact in the world: Over 5 million people follow him on Facebook. He's a NYT Bestselling author and a trainer for over 2 million students. And his YouTube videos have over 100 million views. He's the creator of High Performance Academy and author of the new book High Performance Habits.
I had the lovely privilege of meeting Brendon in his new office in Portland this summer. Our interview for his cover story in the October issue of SUCCESS magazine lasted an hour and a half.
It was his first-ever magazine interview, if you can believe that! He's built this huge biz without a PR campaign. The guy knows his stuff.
In person, Brendon is easy-going and quick to smile. When the photographer wanted some...
One of my recent ghostwriting clients didn’t actually become a ghostwriting client. Let me explain.
He wanted to write a book about his incredible invention—something that revolutionized his industry. He was passionate about his field, had firsthand experience with the transformation possible, and was well-connected to others who could add stories and expertise to his book.
But he wasn’t a writer. He was an expert in his own work but not in the work of writing.
He reached out to me on a referral from another client, for whom I’d ghostwritten blogs and articles and white papers. He hoped I’d be willing and available to ghostwrite his entire book.
We talked. I listened to his findings, his personal transformation, and his description of the life he was now leading thanks to this work. He told me he had already been writing down ideas and pages of content.
And it got me thinking: When should someone who’s not a writer hire a pro and when should they...
You have a boat load of experiences that you can share with others to help them live a better life and build a better career. Do you know how to pull the best lessons from those experiences and lay them out for others to learn?
If you’re anything like me, the lessons—along with the gratitude I feel for all that freshly earned wisdom—doesn’t come until I’ve gotten some distance from the actual experience. We have to process our feelings to get useful perspective on our choices.
After a little time, lessons usually begin to naturally show themselves. We think to ourselves, “You know, I believe all of that happened so that I could…” or “I couldn’t see it at the time, but looking back, that experience gave me exactly what I needed to…” or “Well, now I know not to trust THAT guy!”
I want to help you get the most out of your story—for both you and the people you might help. Think of one recent...
That moment you know everything is different. That instant when you realize the truth and can’t go back to the time before you knew it. That second when a flash of insight hits you—profound and shocking and sometimes delightful.
But what if it’s not delightful? What if it’s horrible. What if the Truth—not the regular truth you tell to other people but the Truth you tell to yourself—is that you’ll never be okay going along in the same way you’ve been living or working or relating or loving? What if the Truth is a total shift in who you are?
You feel overwhelmed, scared, tempted to stick your head back in the sand of denial, distraction, or ignorance.
But once you know a thing, you can’t unknow it. Once you look at a Truth within, you can’t unsee it. Once you admit a scene into the vault of memory, it remains to permanently alter your perception on the present as well as the past.
If you admit to yourself...
Next week, a very personal story of mine will appear in SUCCESS magazine. This isn’t a story covering the life of a celebrity or an entrepreneur. It’s not a piece on how to acquire a vital business skill or a psychological trait that could make or break your success in life.
This article is about me and some brutal truths about my life.
I’ve had countless pieces published, but the fact that this one is going to be on newsstands is a bit terrifying to think about right now.
Writing about someone else’s struggles is enlightening. Writing about my own has been empowering but scary.
Know what I mean?
If you’re someone who is working toward building a business based on what you’ve learned from your story or experiences, you’ll need to ask four big questions to tell your story in the right way.
Do you want to change perceptions? Change hearts? Alter the course of people’s lives? Do you want to create inspiration,...
Most of us have a mission somewhere inside us our entire lives.
That thing you know you’re supposed to do in this life—even if you’re not making a living at it yet—that’s your mission. But you’ve changed. So why shouldn’t your mission evolve as you do?
This week, I want to help you wrap your arms around your mission and give it a clear, solid statement that fits where you are and who you are so you’ll have some direction as you aim for the fulfilling, bright life you deserve. First, let me explain what I mean when I say that your mission evolves.
When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. By the time I was in seventh grade, I’d lived in eight different houses and gone to seven different schools. But there was a period in elementary school where we lived in the same apartment for three years straight. I loved the bedroom I had there. One day my mother walked in to find that I had dragged my two bookcases...
Do your personal relationships affect your potential for professional success? Does your home life impact your ability to be a good leader?
“Let’s say this. I’m not sure that a good home is an asset, but I’m sure that a bad home is a liability,” Bishop T.D. Jakes says with a chuckle.
Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas and founder of TDJ Enterprises, says a stable personal and home life become more and more important as you grow professionally.
“Lambs give birth in calm places,” he says. “And if you’re going to birth great ideas, you need calmness, the serenity of having something stable to balance having everything not stable.”
“At the end of the day, I’m not necessarily smarter at work because things are going good at home, but when things are going bad at home, I’m a lot more distracted. I’m a lot more disheveled. I’m not present in the...
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