LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT CHARLIE

Well, I failed you.

My last (and first) post was about overcoming the intimidation of writing and getting your thoughts and ideas down on a regular basis. That was two months ago… I should probably follow my own advice if I’m to be taken seriously.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with excuses. I’ve just been procrastinating with this blog. I suck. Sorry. It won’t happen again (probably).

BUT!

My freelance copywriting has been going really, really well. Much better than I expected. I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon, but I’ve been getting consistent work and I really enjoy it. I’m currently working on writing product descriptions for snowboarding and skiing gear, a CG drawing tutorial, and soon I’ll be blogging regularly for one, maybe two (possibly three?), relatively high-traffic tech blogs.

But, to the main purpose of this post.

Sir Charles Winston Xavier III (Charlie for short).

charliebandana

Look at that dapper gentleman.

Charlie’s been with me almost 10 years now. Through the good times and the bad times, the ups and downs, and everything in-between. He was given to me by an ex-girlfriend (terrible relationship – awesome cat) back in 2007 and he’s been a great companion ever since.

  • Sure, he likes to wake me up at 4am everyday by scratching my face to tell me he’s hungry.
  • Sure, he has a strange (and noisy) habit of chewing any plastic bag he can get his fangs on.
  • Sure, he drinks water out of my cup if I leave it unattended for any length of time.

But, I love the little dude. He’s my muse, my inspiration, my lifeblood. That might be a little extreme. Let’s just say he’s a cool cat and I like having him around.

That about wraps up this post. I just mainly wanted to show you Charlie because he’s awesome. Again, sorry for the lack of posting – I’ll try and fix that.

 

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WHAT MAKES WRITING SO INTIMIDATING?

Typewriter

Welcome to my first blog post… like ever.

From here on out I will be spilling my guts in the form of ideas, hopes, dreams, concerns, and maybe even a few words of wisdom if I can manage to scrounge up a few.

I’ve wanted to start writing for longer than I care to share, but something inside just kept holding me back.

“But, Josh, writing is easy,” you say. “You just put your thoughts down on paper (or in this case, type them out).”

Easier said than done.

Everyone has thoughts (duh). But for some of us, putting those thoughts into coherent sentences that other people will care to read can be unnerving.

What is it about the blank page that causes so much anxiety? Not a second goes by that I’m not thinking about something, so why can’t I write these thoughts down and construct them in some interesting way?

Sure, there are countless resources online to combat writer’s block and I’m sure I’ve read them all, but there’s still that fear of the unknown.

What if I’m just a terrible writer?

What if nobody cares what I have to say?

Everything I could write about has probably already been written by someone else.

Every writer has these thoughts at some point. Persevering and getting that first sentence down is the only remedy.

Below are some tips I’ve come across to stop worrying and just write. Maybe someday I’ll overcome my fear and start using this advice regularly.

-At least I have this post under my belt.-

How to get the juices flowing:

  1. Clear your mind
    Meditate. You don’t have to burn incense, dim the lights, sit cross-legged and chant “ohm” (unless you want to). I’m talking about setting aside a few minutes to practice mindfulness. Being mindful is as simple as closing your eyes, calmly breathing, and focusing on the present – how your body feels, your mood, the sounds, smells, or sensations you’re experiencing. Not sure where to start? Here are a couple apps I recommend: Headspace and Stop, Breathe, Think.
  2. Write first, edit later
    We don’t constantly edit and revise when we think, so why should we when we write? Let your thoughts and ideas flow freely on the page. Your sentence structure and grammar might look like something out of a 3rd grader’s book report, but at least you have some content to work with. Go back and clean it up later to make it sound good.
  3. Create a rough outline
    Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
    Good ol’ Abe Lincoln had the right idea. Take a bit of time to prepare before starting a big task. Think of creating an outline as sharpening your axe. If you want to make it easier to chop down that tree (write something worth reading), you’re going to want to have your tools in good working order. Grab some paper and a pencil and start writing down ideas and ways to organize them.
  4. Do something else
    If you’re sitting at your desk, staring blankly at your screen, and ideas don’t seem to be coming, then get up and walk away. Go for a run, make some food, stand on your head – anything to get your mind focused on something other than writing. Sometimes, our best ideas come when we aren’t trying to think.
  5. Change your environment
    You’ve been sitting at your desk for hours and only have half a paragraph written? Pack up your laptop, grab some snacks, and head out into the world to write. Go to your favorite coffee shop, a library, bar… somewhere other than your usual writing spot. Sometimes all it takes to get ideas flowing is a change of scenery.

There you have it.

I’m not saying these tips are surefire ways to write golden content, but they’re at least worth giving a shot.