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EXECUTION Falling Back in Love With Writing

404profound

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An interesting shift is happening for me as I continue to expand my marketing business. I'm getting reacquainted with the love I used to have for writing.

Throughout my education, writing was always one of the few silver linings around an otherwise onerous cloud of academic work. Although writing and opening yourself to unfiltered critique is extremely humbling, that same process can be unbelievably rewarding when you get it right (I'm sure MJ would attest to this).

Well, the past three years at my JOB I've lost that fire. I finished grad school, threw on the suit, and jumped into the bullshit jungle of consulting. Of course, consulting can be very lucrative, but that's one of the only positive things I have to say about it. And it's lucrative for a reason; ittttttt sucksssss. You are essentially dumbing yourself down to fit a literal script from one client to the next, knowing in the back of your mind you are not creating real value, but simply recycling frameworks to mitigate risk and make client leadership look half competent.

A lot of negative trends began for me when I became a consultant. My drinking increased, heavily. I became much more antisocial outside of work from stress. I could continue. But, the past year I've rediscovered writing in the form of marketing, and it has put my life back on the rails. Interestingly, I still have my regular consulting job, and despite the increased time demands for the side writing hustle, I feel less stressed. I have one sale so far, which I've posted about elsewhere. Now, two more clients have seen a sample of my work and have demonstrated interest in my services. It's one of the best feelings I've ever had. I've stopped trying to compensate for misery with distractions like alcohol or video games. I've created my own means for engagement, and am happily growing my reputation as an independent marketing writer. I look forward to continuing to update on the progress of this new endeavor!
 

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ch3wy

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Mar 8, 2018
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It's always great to hear when people have the chance to rediscover their love for something they enjoyed doing in the past! I think it really allows them to appreciate the little things that they missed out on before they stopped.

Do you have any recommendations for what books to use as a reference when it comes to becoming a better writer whether it's writing for novels or copy? I could use some tips, or maybe a book or two to beef up my writing chops.
 
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404profound

404profound

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Desert of Desertion
It's always great to hear when people have the chance to rediscover their love for something they enjoyed doing in the past! I think it really allows them to appreciate the little things that they missed out on before they stopped.

Do you have any recommendations for what books to use as a reference when it comes to becoming a better writer whether it's writing for novels or copy? I could use some tips, or maybe a book or two to beef up my writing chops.
Hey, thanks for the reply. To be honest, I'd be hesitant to recommend too much reading when trying to get better at writing. I think the number one catalyst for my growth as a writer was writing, and seeking constant feedback on it. I did this in college while doing research / papers, and I do it now with my marketing publications.

Of course, there are some good copywriting books out there to serve as enhancement as you build up the skill. for writing copy I'd refer to anything written by David Ogilvy or Claude Hopkins. As far as novels go, that's well outside my wheelhouse. It may be worthwhile to ask the don himself @MJ DeMarco .
 
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404profound

404profound

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It's always great to hear when people have the chance to rediscover their love for something they enjoyed doing in the past! I think it really allows them to appreciate the little things that they missed out on before they stopped.

Do you have any recommendations for what books to use as a reference when it comes to becoming a better writer whether it's writing for novels or copy? I could use some tips, or maybe a book or two to beef up my writing chops.
Also tagging @ChickenHawk for guidance on improving novel writing skills
 

MJ DeMarco

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It's one of the best feelings I've ever had.
You've just experienced PASSION generated via the feedback / valueloop. And yes, it's a great feeling. This is why you don't lead with passion, it follows with a rewarded effort.

motivationCycle.jpg

As far as novels go, that's well outside my wheelhouse. It may be worthwhile to ask the don himself @MJ DeMarco .
Ha, I don't have any novels to my name. Working on it now!

Congrats on some positive momentum!
 
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404profound

404profound

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You've just experienced PASSION generated via the feedback / valueloop. And yes, it's a great feeling. This is why you don't lead with passion, it follows with a rewarded effort.

View attachment 18910



Ha, I don't have any novels to my name. Working on it now!

Congrats on some positive momentum!
It was one thing to read it in your book, but when it materialized in real life because I've followed your guidance, that was the turning point that gave me faith in the process.

Thank you for the praise, hopefully I will soon have something bigger to report out that warrants it.
 

ch3wy

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Mar 8, 2018
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Hey, thanks for the reply. To be honest, I'd be hesitant to recommend too much reading when trying to get better at writing. I think the number one catalyst for my growth as a writer was writing, and seeking constant feedback on it. I did this in college while doing research / papers, and I do it now with my marketing publications.
Ah thanks for your tip and the book recommendation! I am trying to learn more about copywriting and I have been reading more than writing. Looks like it's time to get working and find someone who can critique my writing!

As far as novels go, that's well outside my wheelhouse. It may be worthwhile to ask the don himself @MJ DeMarco .
I hope I can ask you other questions too @MJ DeMarco! By the way, I know you've heard it a ton of times, but your books have completely changed my mindset about how I need to approach the next part of my life! Thanks!
 

rogue synthetic

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Best of luck with everything @404profound Your story sounds very familiar to me!

@ch3wy : The standard internet recommendations for your question are the Strunk & White style guide, which makes sure you have the basics of writing in English, and Stephen King's On Writing.

As much as I like King's book, I feel like it's not the best place for beginning authors.

Advice that I've found much more useful -- and again, assuming basics of grammar and punctuation are mostly in place -- has come from copywriters and pulp fiction authors.

Gary Halbert recommended all his copywriters read John D. MacDonald's thrillers, especially the Travis McGee books. MacDonald was a pulp-era writer with a legendary output, but he was putting out books on par with the best crime writing of the 20th century. Have a look at "The Executioners" (which was made into the movie "Cape Fear", twice), "The End of the Night" or "The Neon Jungle" for examples.

Otherwise I tend to agree with 404profound's advice: you'll get more benefit from writing than from reading about it. If you read anything, read novels by authors who write what you want to write. Pay attention to what they're doing. How are they telling the story? What are the major plot points? What's interesting about the characters, and how do they get that across? How do they write dialogue?

I spent years picking up every writing book published in English (exaggerating only slightly -- you should see my bookshelves) but I never really made progress getting anything done until I started focusing on quantity of output.

Now ordinarily we think that quality and quantity don't go together. But what I've found that once quantity is a constraint -- if you have to write every day, or 6 days out of 7, and hit a quota of words each day -- quality tends to develop out of it.

The writers who see their work as Pure Art, not to be sullied by the dirt of the dollar sign, will naturally feel that this is impossible. Quality takes time.

Yeah. Quality took me 15 years and hardly a word to show for it.

Once I started forcing myself to write at least 2000 words a day, I started to improve. After awhile it became routine. Now I don't even think twice about it. It's just what I do. Most of what I write is still crap, but when even Hemingway still felt that 90% of his pages were garbage, it's hard to feel TOO bad about that.

If you absolutely must read books about writing, then two good suggestions are James Scott Bell's How to Write Pulp Fiction and Michael Newton's Writing Thrillers, both of which are in the Kindle store.

Otherwise, hit the keyboard.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I hope I can ask you other questions too @MJ DeMarco! By the way, I know you've heard it a ton of times, but your books have completely changed my mindset about how I need to approach the next part of my life! Thanks!
You can, I'm here pretty much every day!
 

rogue synthetic

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Thanks, @rogue synthetic! Do you have a thread about your journey? I'd be curious to hear how things unfolded for you.

Cheers,
Len
I do, but it's on the inside since I'm paranoid about being too public.

But I'm also a (soon to be recovering) academic who wants to make something out of the writing business. I'm tinkering with a few business ideas at the moment while #ivorytowerlife winds up.
 

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ch3wy

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Mar 8, 2018
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@ch3wy : The standard internet recommendations for your question are the Strunk & White style guide, which makes sure you have the basics of writing in English, and Stephen King's On Writing.

As much as I like King's book, I feel like it's not the best place for beginning authors.

Advice that I've found much more useful -- and again, assuming basics of grammar and punctuation are mostly in place -- has come from copywriters and pulp fiction authors.

Gary Halbert recommended all his copywriters read John D. MacDonald's thrillers, especially the Travis McGee books. MacDonald was a pulp-era writer with a legendary output, but he was putting out books on par with the best crime writing of the 20th century. Have a look at "The Executioners" (which was made into the movie "Cape Fear", twice), "The End of the Night" or "The Neon Jungle" for examples.

Otherwise I tend to agree with 404profound's advice: you'll get more benefit from writing than from reading about it. If you read anything, read novels by authors who write what you want to write. Pay attention to what they're doing. How are they telling the story? What are the major plot points? What's interesting about the characters, and how do they get that across? How do they write dialogue?

I spent years picking up every writing book published in English (exaggerating only slightly -- you should see my bookshelves) but I never really made progress getting anything done until I started focusing on quantity of output.

Now ordinarily we think that quality and quantity don't go together. But what I've found that once quantity is a constraint -- if you have to write every day, or 6 days out of 7, and hit a quota of words each day -- quality tends to develop out of it.

The writers who see their work as Pure Art, not to be sullied by the dirt of the dollar sign, will naturally feel that this is impossible. Quality takes time.

Yeah. Quality took me 15 years and hardly a word to show for it.

Once I started forcing myself to write at least 2000 words a day, I started to improve. After awhile it became routine. Now I don't even think twice about it. It's just what I do. Most of what I write is still crap, but when even Hemingway still felt that 90% of his pages were garbage, it's hard to feel TOO bad about that.

If you absolutely must read books about writing, then two good suggestions are James Scott Bell's How to Write Pulp Fiction and Michael Newton's Writing Thrillers, both of which are in the Kindle store.

Otherwise, hit the keyboard.
Thanks for the action steps @rogue synthetic! I'll be starting a writing journal, focus more on how writers write, and I'll read an actual book for once...I'll need to sacrifice the comic books!
 

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