When I first started writing my business memoir, there was one thing I was terrible at: SCENE. Not because I didn’t understand the importance, but because it was holy fucking hard to remember what actually happened the eve of, say, April 17th, 1992, while so-and-so played a harmonica and Lucy Loo showed the boys her undies. WERE WE ALL WEARING BLUE? DID THE AIR SMELL OF DAISIES? HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO REMEMBER THIS AND WHY DO I FEEL LIKE
Writing Problems Are Idea Problems In Disguise
When your idea isn’t clear, you know what you do? Cover it up with blabber. Adjectives. Flowery words that try to compensate for the fact that you don’t actually know what you’re talking about (yetttt). But good ideas stand on their own. If you’re having trouble writing about it, your writing may not be the problem. Go back to the idea, and start there. Because if you can’t say it in one sentence, you’ll never be able to say it
There’s a Modern Trick to Getting What You Want, These Days. Shhhh. Come Closer, I’ll Tell You What It Is.
What if I told you I was giving you your very own daily column, where you could write about anything you wanted? What if I told you I was giving you your own TV show, where you’d be the star? What if I told you I was putting you on the radio, where you could talk about the things that mattered to you every week? And what if I told you that we were going to do fancy photo shoots,
How to Start a Blog (Without Wanting to Kill Yourself) [PART II]
Want to start a blog? Read Part I of this series first! So this morning when I was sitting here loing like an absolute homeless person, I was doing what I do every morning: tiptoeing into my brain and and dragging memories out with a sledgehammer, AKA WRITING. I do this every morning for no less than three hours, but very often five or six, because once I get going, it’s like prying a teenager away from a Playstation. (Seriously,
How to Start a Blog (Without Wanting to Kill Yourself)
I GIVE UP: WHERE IS EVERYBODY?! In 2009 I started this blog and I remember thinking that pretty soon EVERYONE was going to be doing it—My friends! My rs! My former teachers! That neighbor with the soupy ass! (sweatpants can be evil)—and the gig was going to be up, because I HAD DISCOVERED THE SECRET TO ALL THE THINGS (not to mention making my first $103,000 that year—which, trust me, was a f*ck ton back then). I remember thinking:
UNF*CKWITHABLE BOSS: Red Hot, Brand New, Business Development & Refinery Program. Now Open for Enrollment!
Hang onto your pumpkin loafs! (By which I mean, eat all the pumpkin loaf and then get yo’ glasses on, because there’s big news in the house today.) My brand-new business mentorship program has just rolled up in a Cadillac and is currently swigging vodka before making its debut onto the red carpet. It’s called UNF*CKWITHABLE BOSS, and it’s here to change the face of modern work forever. Unconventional name? Check. Unconventional purpose? Double check. If you’ve been thinking about striking
How to Be Interesting As Hell On Paper
Agency. It was one of the first things my bo editor said to me. “These parts need agency.” And I obviously said: Like the CIA? And she said: Shoot me. And I said: Is that a CIA je? So while furiously drinking wine and researching this new writing foe—agency—I had been ighted to discover that this wasn’t some kind of polite euphemism to tell me that I was an absolute shit writer. But, it was a problem. Because lacking
A Dead Simple Way to Write a Creative Bio (Without Crying) (Or Wall Punching) (Awkward, You Guys)
Most people dread introducing themselves in general, but ask someone to introduce themselves in writing, and you’ve just added another unwelcome layer of pressure: Now you’ve got to WRITE WELL ON TOP OF IT. And, you know, say witty things. That you’re committing to paper. While being judged by everyone who reads it. Because isn’t that what reading really is? A bunch of strangers JUDGING YOU. Great. This is sounding promising than ever, isn’t it? That was one of
How to Pitch Yourself On Paper the HUMAN Way (Or, Your Resume: A Horror Story)
“Why won’t you kiss me?” he had asked. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Didn’t he understand what I was going through? Didn’t he have the same worries?! He inched closer. I inched backward. I couldn’t kiss him. Not there. Not with the faint smell of burnt popcorn swirling in my nostrils; the scent of sweaty leather fighting for an equal opportunity to infiltrate my senses. There was suppose to be candlelight. And a bowl of spaghetti. And Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love
How to Stop Writing With a Stick Up Your Ass
One of the things I get asked about forty hundred times a day (besides whether or not I know there’s a hair sprouting from my chin) is this: Because apparently I’m known for walking the between mental inspiration and mental institution—as every writer worth their weight should. But here’s what I hear every time someone asks me that question: “I’m not as boring a boob as I seem, but from all those years in corporate America / Catholic school /
Better to Be a Mouse With a Backbone, Than a Lion With No Spine: On Writing Voice
You know when you sit down to write and your brain sort of feels kind of…constipated? (A ightful image, if I do say so myself.) Then you finally manage to put a sentence on the screen, but then you backspace over the “fuck”—because if you say “fuck,” no one will take you seriously—but then you retype the same word, wondering if you were to use such a word, whether it would come across as self-assured and bold, or lowball and crass?
What if My Customers Aren’t All the Same? How Do I Appeal to Multiple Targets? It’s called Positioning (And for Once I’m Not Talking About the Kama Sutra)
SELLING YOUR STUFF TO OTHER HUMANS IS HARD. (Caps required.) It’s hard for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is because nobody really knows what to say. We’re all filled with a million different ugly little self-doubts floating around our nervous little brains. What should the head say? Do I emphasize this feature or that one? What’s going to really ho ’em? Will they think the price is too high? Most people who have a business,
Take an Online Writing Class With Me This Week…On Demand!
You know why we write words? Because the right ones change things. The right ones carjack hearts. Move people. Make sales. Grow businesses. And change people’s lives—including your own. The wrong ones, on the other hand, cock block all of that. (And by “cock block,” I mean prevent, deny, thwart, retard, hamper, hinder and hex the hell out of your efforts…just in case that wasn’t abundantly clear.) Because when it comes to YOUR words – your website copy / your
“But How The $&%* Do I EXPLAIN What I’m Selling?”
You know how when you go to talk about something you’re selling (a class, a product, an idea…) and you’re all, “BUT HOW DO I EXPLAIN THAT?” Things are always so much easier to understand in your head, aren’t they? After all, YOU know what you’re selling. YOU know how great it is. YOU know that X, Y and Z works. So, why is it so hard to talk about? The first reason is because words are hard, yo. They
The Real Trick to Brilliant Writing
You know what makes for brilliant writing? Not what you say, but the way you say it. The execution. The way you jockey your message onto a page. There are 354 different ways to tell any story. (Exact figure, give or take a few thousand or so.) You can start at the beginning, or you can start at the end. You can speak from your perspective, or you can speak from theirs. You can write long, detailed sausage-stuffed paragraphs, or
Starting a Sentence With “In My Opinion” is Bad for Business. Here’s Why.
Let me ask you something. If suddenly the building you’re in burst into gigantic, explosive flames, who would you follow to safety? The guy standing meekly by the exit whispering, “I think it’s this way, you guys?” or the guy who booms in a calm, confident, steady, self-assured voice, “THIS WAY.” (Sorry, ladies, following Vin Diesel is not an option.) As humans, we instinctually crave this kind of confidence. We want to feel confident, too, so naturally, we’re drawn to it.
The Internet Is Some Trippy Shit (And Also Maybe The Key to Business AND World Peace?)
The internet is some trippy shit, isn’t it? You’re sitting here reading this, and you don’t even know me. But it feels like you do, doesn’t it? I get that a lot. In fact, one of the most common es I get about anything I write is always, “GET OUT OF MY HEAD,” which sort of makes me sound like some kind of psychic creeper internet alien. Except I don’t believe in psychics and I’m only a creeper when somebody gets
Making Money is Not as Hard as Most People Make It
There is a distinct and profound difference between people who make money and people who don’t: The money. Hard, cold, icious, beautiful bendy stacks of cash. I know there are a lot of people that say money is evil and your nostril hairs will catch on fire if you want anything other than world peace, but usually those people are the ones who aren’t very good at making it. Let me tell you a little something about money: There is
Moron Shoes With Holes In Them: What Makes Somebody Buy Something…Or Not?
You know those little moron shoes with the holes in them? Those plastic clog loing things that lo like the most repulsive foot trend known to man? I’ve always been shocked those shoes gained any footing in the marketplace. *Insert shit-eating grin* But, really. If you’re spending good money to put this neon green bucket on your foot, for example, they must be doing something right. (Though I have a very hard time believing this trend would have ever caught
SWEATY ARMPIT ALERT: 67% of the people that were about to give you money…don’t.
Ever think you’ve got Alzheimer’s, or am I the only asshole running around forgetting the word “lollipop?” Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than forgetting the word “lollipop” in front of a stranger. It’s not like it’s some academic word one could be forgiven for forgetting, like idiosyncrasy—which I feel like is forgivable. I mean, nobody’s running around saying that word five times a day. But when you’re in the middle of a riveting conversation about the United States
One word might be costing you thousands of dollars. What is it?
“What do you own?” he asked her. “I own lots of things,” she replied, before going on to stumble through a list: Her car, her favorite Gucci purse, a timeshare in Mexico, her 300,000 count Egyptian cotton bedsheets. “No you don’t,” he said calmly. “Yes I–” she started. “You don’t own any of those things, because someday, all those things will be gone,” he said. She squirmed in her seat. “The only thing you own,” he said, “is the one thing
You’re always going to have fifty million things to do—PLUS that asshole’s bar mitzvah.
There’s a lot of pressure these days to be perfect. (Says the girl carrying thirty extra pounds and a dysfunctional pouty face.) As someone who used to be very all-or-nothing, over the years I’ve had to make some major peace with the fact that all-or-nothing is a gigantic, sweaty faced fool’s errand. :: How many times have you thought about getting a new website, but don’t…because you’ll “wait until you’ve got money to really get all the bells and whistles?” :: How many times
Starting a Business Isn’t for Weak People, Shitty People, Irresponsible People, Undisciplined People, Stupid People, Forgetful People, Lazy People, Irrational People, Impatient People, or People Who Blame Everything on Obama.
Nearly ten years ago when I started my first copywriting business, I struggled with the things most new business owners struggle with: Telling a client your fees while silently thinking shitshitshitshitshitshitshit! Having no idea if your fees are too high or too low or WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSE TO BE CHARGING?! Constantly worried someone was going to call you out and berate you and turn you into the police for saying / doing / breathing something amateur. Thinking
Clear vs Clever Copywriting is a Big, Fat, Bloated Myth (And a Scapegoat for Subpar Writers)
I’m a very dirty writer. Not but dirty in the way that I put sentences, thoughts, ideas together. My process is wild. Sexy. Free. Undomesticated. And while I wish the reason were because I’m just such a clay-faced, crochet-bra-top-wearing, sun-worshipping bohemian soul (I am laughably not), rather, it’s because I know something you don’t know about the written word: It’s only as brilliant as its process. If your process is tame, commonplace, average, pedestrian…then the output of your efforts will reflect
Repeat After Me: You Are Not Your Buyer
It’s two days before the new year, and I’m doing exactly what you are: Dicking around on the internet and calling it “downtime.” It’s absolutely PHENOMENAL. But, as we all prepare to become supermo there is one thing I want to encourage you to do, right here, right now, before you slug the last of the egg nog and run around with streamers on your head. And that is to listen up. Maybe you’ve been preparing for a big launch in
FREE DOWNLOAD: 30 Holiday Script Templates for Handling All Those Business Heachaches That Pop Up When You Really Just Want to be Drinking Peppermint Schnapps
So this morning I’m sitting here going about my business, writing up a storm, guzzling coffee, and otherwise trying not to be mad that it’s sunny and 90 degrees where I am in Costa Rica when ALL I WANT IS SNOW FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Nevertheless, I know what constitutes a realistic ask, and snow in Central America isn’t one of them. So naturally, I opt for second best, buying every decoration in sight for the past two months like a
Creativity Zapped? Try This Madman Trick.
So I have this theory about creativity. First of all, it drinks bourbon, neat. And second of all, it’s hungry. Hungry like the kind of hungry you get when you only had a dinky little grapefruit for breakfast. (Which doesn’t even count since you need the jaws of life to extract anything out of those citrus assholes.) But instead of feeding our creativity, you know what we do? We starve it. We stare at the screen. Scratch our crotch. Concentrate
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