Tag Archives: blog

3 Surefire Ways to Beat the Fear of Writing

24 Jun

3 Surefire Ways to Beat the Fear of Writing“Why does this business writing class have to be so long?” the man asked as he entered the classroom. I was welcoming him to a mandatory training to help supervisors/managers improve their documentation skills. As I began to ask questions, I listened carefully to his words and demeanor.  Before long he confessed that he was very nervous about his writing skills because this was one of his weak areas. Fortunately, by the end of the training session he was equipped with tools to overcome these barriers. For many people, the fear of writing ranks right up there with their fear of public speaking. Many of us experience writer’s block and postpone writing as long as possible. This blog explores three ways to face and beat the fear of writing.

Fear of failing.

For many of us, the fear of writing was instilled in school. I know I’ve cringed at all the red ink on the assignments I turned in. It made me want to just throw my hands up in despair. One of my daughters, spent the summer before going into high school writing stories and poems. It was a joy to see her give place to creative expression. Something happened early on in her English class. She had a teacher that was a harsh critic of every assignment she turned in. She came close to failing that class and I stepped in to help with the dreaded term paper so she wouldn’t fail the class. It was like the light had dimmed. She felt that there was no reason to even try because she could not succeed. There is something final about printed words and the way others can judge them.

HOPE Antidote

The best way to overcome past writing failures is to follow the old adage: “You have to get back on the horse that threw you.” Set aside the first few minutes of the day to write something. Turn off your inner critic and get it down on paper (or in the computer). There are many opportunities to start small by writing a blog or posting encouraging comments about what others have written. Join a writing club where others can give you feedback. Remember that writing is a skill not a dreaded assignment. When you run into those who criticize what you’ve written, check to see if there is merit to their advice. Adapt and move on. You’ll improve as you keep writing and learning.

Fear of making decisions.

I consider myself a creative person. That should make writing easier but it does not because my mind gets overloaded with the ways I could spin a topic. Have you ever noticed how much work goes into deciding what you are going to write about? It is the very nature of the way your mind works and all the connections you make as you begin to speculate on topics to write about. This decision-making process is what makes writing so challenging and tiring. Another term for this is decision fatigue.

HOPE Antidote

Mind-mapping is a wonderful tool to help you record your ideas on paper before making the commitment of writing the actual words. Our minds work in a broad, circular fashion as we freely associate seemingly unrelated thoughts. The writing process takes a more linear approach. Keep a running list of topics that relate to your blog theme. When inspiration strikes write it down.  Ideas for topics surround you. Also, here’s a link to a previous post that might help: Finding Topics.

Fear of making mistakes.

This hurdle is closely tied to both of the topics already mentioned in this blog. The technical mistakes can create major hurdles in setting up a blog. Ask for help if you need it and continue to keep writing because once you start, you will want to establish a consistent schedule. Everyone makes mistakes so set aside your perfectionism and get going.

HOPE Antidote

When you experience writer’s block, start typing something else to get the flow going. I like to start typing a quote about the topic I want to develop. Another tool I use is to look up key words in the Thesaurus. I write them down and that gets the creative juices going. The greatest hope antidote for the fear of making mistakes is to give yourself permission to make them and correct them as quickly as you can. In fact, I’ve made 7 mistakes already and so I know I’m making progress. Also, one of the wonderful things about a blog is that as soon as you spot that typo, you can go in and correct it immediately.

What other tips do you have for beating the fear of writing? What works for you?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching

Bloggers ~ Taking Time to Focus

8 May

Taking time to focusOne of the reasons I like my Canon DSLR camera so much is that it has an ‘auto-focus’ feature. I turn the camera toward the subject of my picture, press half-way down on the button and it comes in to focus. It doesn’t take a long time and is easy enough for a child to use (which I appreciate). I want to apply this principle to my business.

A well-managed blog is one of the most important pieces of your online networking. I’m normally an enthusiastic person who tackles projects with energy without considering a great deal of strategy. I’ve made a commitment to write a blog yet struggle to come up with topics. That’s where strategic focus becomes important.

First of all, I need to talk about how challenging and exciting it is to come up with topics for my blogs and not dread the writer’s block that can set in when I wait until the last-minute. Secondly, I need to consider my audience and focus on their needs. Take time to get to learn about their interests. Engage them and set up relationships. Ask them for topics they would like to see covered. Pick a general topic and explore different parts of it. As you write the blog, focus on each part briefly and move on.

Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and get going (for procrastinators). One of the best things about posting a blog is that you can make corrections if you see the need to do so (for perfectionists). Select a topic and focus on the different facets. The best part of all is that you will grow personally and your business will develop a stronger foundation.

What do you plan to focus on this week? The few minutes you spend will pay off in the end.

Image from Dreamstime.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Five Social Networking Venues to Embrace in 2012

15 Jan

It’s that time of year again when we take stock in what went well and where we need to improve in the coming year. This blog is a result of a recent poll conducted on the HOPEpreneurs Facebook page which showed that the top concern for the entrepreneurs who responded was marketing and expanding their business. Social Networking is a great way to gain new customers. If done correctly and strategically, this method of marketing can double your number of customers with very little financial investment. Here are five social networking venues that you should embrace and optimize to reach more customers in 2012.

Top venues for social media in 2012 by Karen Sebastian, HOPEpreneurs1. Write a Blog

The foundation for a solid social networking strategy is a blog that is up-to-date. It is getting easier all the time to create your own web presence without spending a lot of money. Remember the KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetheart) principle and you will do great. Set up a schedule when you will blog and update the website consistently. I have two blogs in WordPress and have recently launched a new one on Tumblr, which is the fastest growing blogging platform.

2. Facebook

Earlier last year there were some changes that leveled the playing field for the business use of Facebook. The changes  can put you in a great place to increase exposure to your target audience. With a few tweaks to your business page you can attract more LIKES. When a person clicks LIKE on your business page, they will get your updates. You can also make posts as your business page.

3. LinkedIn

This particular program is strongly geared to professionals who want to stay connected. Companies are using it to promote their companies and check out potential employees. There are many new changes there as well that will benefit a small business and have great potential.

4. Twitter

Twitter has been around for a while and has recently started growing exponentially. It is a great way to connect with what others are doing in common interest areas. Begin to follow businesses like your own and get an idea of what you can give. Once you decide to jump in it’s a great idea to use either Hootsuite or BufferApp to schedule your ‘tweets.’ I will be sharing my experience with these applications soon.

5. Google +

This is the one that I am going to try next. It is not as popular as some of the other venues yet but is growing quickly. The main advantage it offers is to position your information favorably in Google searches. More to come on that one as I tackle it in the very near future.

No matter what you do, don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, pick one venue and faithfully populate it with your ideas and find your voice. Once you have that one down, pick the next.

I am diligently keeping up with these Social Media venues because I see the potential and love to learn. This week I will be updating my LinkedIn profile and the following setting up my Google+. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  What are your plans in this area for next week?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to receive one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

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