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A communicator has a matter of seconds to convince someone to attend and respond to any message (written, voicemail, book, or presentation). For the most part, the receiver makes the decision automatically and unconsciously. Take e-mail, for example. Which of the following subject lines would you open rather than delete?
- Help me reach my goal
- Resources to meet Tuesday’s deadline
- Three myths that are ruining your health
- New members wanted
- Which celebrity imploded now?
- Sending your kid to college is a bad parenting
- Another holiday fundraiser
Chances are you were able to make a split second decision about which e-mails are worth opening and which are not. After all you do this every day with your inbox and your voice mail. You don’t have time or inclination do debate over the value of a message.
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If you are wondering how to start writing a book, you might be thinking about what content to include or how to organize your thoughts. If so, you’ve gotten ahead of yourself. Start writing your book by answering two fundamental questions that could make or break your book. Answer this questions correctly, and you increase your chances of success exponentially.
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To have an impact, business stories need to “move” for the listener just as any other stories do. Yet, most business stories are flat. As a listener, you know what happened, but you don’t feel engaged or connected to the story. You are an observer, not a participant.
If you want a story to “move,” you need to have a least a portion of the story take place in the present rather than in the past. Imagine, for example, that I’m telling a story about a customer service hero in an organization. I want the story to capture listeners and move them to heroism too.
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Without necessarily meaning to, readers and potential clients are looking for excuses NOT to pay attention to one more thing. What can you do to grab attention and write content to attract readers and potential clients?
Think about your own selection process. How many e-mail messages do you ignore or delete each day? How many articles or websites do you shut down with a quick click? What criteria do you use to decide? How many seconds do you take to decide? What makes you read a piece rather than give it a quick skim?
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Want to know how to write a non-fiction book that has power to attract readers or a publisher? Want to know if you have a formula for success?
Start with a diagnosis. Ask yourself, where do my target readers hurt? What causes them enough pain that they are willing to spend time and money to get rid of the pain?
Unless you are a celebrity, the foundation of a successful non-fiction book that attracts readers and builds your business is a solution(s) to a problem readers care about. This is true whether you self-publish or pitch to a traditional publisher. “Most non-fiction books are pain-point driven,” says Justin Branch, senior consultant with Greenleaf Book Group. “People go to the bookstore looking for solutions to specific problems.”
According to Branch, Greenleaf Book Group publishes 80 titles per year. This represents a mere 3% of the pitches they receive each year. From what I gather from other sources, the 3% number is typical for traditional publishers.
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Would you like your writing to be more clear, concise, and compelling? This article covers six proven strategies to move you there. You’ll find that the strategies overlap and build upon each other. While each strategy will bring you closer to the goal of clear, concise,and compelling writing, used in combination, these strategies really boost the power of your writing.
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Coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs who are also authors enjoy increased credibility and higher fees, not to mention the personal satisfaction of seeing their names in print. Yet it’s difficult to know where to begin. Begin creating content by thinking about the readers you want to attract.
With all the content available, your blog, article, or book doesn’t stand a chance unless you have something to unique or valuable offer a reader. Whether your non-fiction writing is intended to establish your credibility or offer help to people suffering from a debilitating disease, unless you can attract readers, you waste your time creating content.
People read articles, blogs, website,s and books for a finite number of reasons. Here are the major categories:
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Tackling a big writing project, it’s easy to get bogged down and twisted up with details. This aspect of writer’s block occurs when you struggle to communicate the overarching structure because you are overwhelmed with many details. It might also occur when you have readers or audience members who require differing levels of detail. When this happens, follow the failsafe technique of Light, Layered, and Linked.
I discovered the Light, Layered and Linked approach in a book called Writing for the Information Age by Bruce Ross Larson, published in 2002. These three Ls have been a guiding force in everything I’ve written since. The three Ls help me to overcome writer’s block by reminding me where I should start. They also help my writing to be more clear, concise, and compelling.
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Most of us believe that when we put our writing out to the world, we are inviting criticism. We expect people to judge us. We worry that we won’t measure up. This leads to writer’s block caused by perfection paralysis. Have you ever had it?
Here are two proven techniques to overcome writer’s block caused by perfection paralysis:
- Correct your assumption
- Change your writing process
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Do you struggle with blank page or blank screen syndrome? Are you looking for a way to overcome writer’s block? If so, try freewriting, a quick and easy technique that’s a favorite of professional writers.
In freewriting, you write whatever comes to mind for approximately 10 minutes. You write rapidly (even randomly), without worrying about complete sentences, punctuation, or grammar. Essentially, freewriting is writing to yourself to see what is going on in your mind. You try not to even think much, let alone criticize yourself.
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