Why Your Writing Is Falling Flat

Have you been writing but keep getting a weird twinge in your gut that something is “off?” Or a deflated feeling that what you wrote doesn’t communicate the image in your head and heart? Or maybe you like what you write but you’re not getting the kind of response that you expected?

Turns out, there might be one big reason for all these writing hurdles. Let me tell you a quick story about how I discovered this massive obstacle in my own writing.

In 2004, I had graduated college with a degree in English and applied to eight writing programs, including two “safety” schools that I thought were no-brainer admissions. During my wait for responses, I got a job at the ABC-TV station in Dallas. I produced my first TV spot. I learned to write copy for station promos and news teases.

And the school rejections started rolling in.

One after another, thin, sad envelopes appeared in my mailbox. My hope became thinner and more desperate with each one. Finally,...

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The Hidden Payoff of a Failed Risk

In December 2006, I sat in a Borders bookstore, typed an article that would pay a penny per word, and despaired of ever getting a national magazine-writing gig. I had pitched editors with all my best ideas (I thought), and no one seemed to be open to new submissions from inexperienced writers (go figure).

I had landed a remote position as the associate editor for a regional magazine, a couple of copywriting jobs, and a steady gig writing these low-paying bulk articles. But the higher-paying and higher-profile work I coveted was in national newsstand magazines.

That cold day, the windows of Borders were fogged near the base. I stared at the droplets as they trailed down the glass and longed to stop working on the article about wedding gifts and just wander the bookstore for a few hours. I had taken a huge risk a couple years earlier by leaving my full-time job and going freelance. Days like this, I wondered if I had made a mistake.

The Approach

Two women sat nearby. As they laughed...

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The Day George Foreman Almost Made Me Throw Up

Have you ever been so scared you lost your lunch?

After serving as managing editor of SUCCESS magazine for about a month, I got my first big interview opportunity: legendary boxer and entrepreneur George Foreman.

I was beside myself with joy--I was a big fan. After pulling tons of research, sketching out my interview questions, and arranging to work from home on the day of the interview so no one would see how incredibly nervous I knew I would be, I felt ready.

Until about thirty minutes before he was scheduled to call.

The audio recorder and phone were on the table, and I was pacing the living room, shaking my hands out at the wrists in utter terror.

I had never spoken to someone with this level of distinction before. I hadn’t yet held one-on-one conversations with celebrities and uber-successful business owners. The intimidation I felt that day was alternately driving me into fits and paralyzing me in a ball on the sofa.

Then my stomach lurched. It was five...

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