How Writing Flow Can Happen For You Too ~ 9 Ways

Aloha everyone,

This is somewhat off-topic to "talking story" and "better conversations," however Talking Story has been reborn for me this year as my personal blog so here goes… you can skip it if learning to love writing is not on your wishlist.

Readers, and mostly other bloggers, ask me all the time how I can write so much, publishing for at least three sites regularly, and I have been called a "writing machine" on more than one occasion, so I thought I would try to explain it here. I’ll describe how my own writing flow happens, offering it up to you in the hope you can draw some tips from it if you are a writer who wants to get more from your inner muse.

For those of you who like lists, what follows are…

9 Ways to Get Writing Flow from Your Inner Muse

1. Never be without pen and paper. Never.
You get a lot of ideas, you really do. You just have to train yourself to capture them, and then explore them through your writing. You see our brains are so amazingly alert, they are always looking out for the next idea for us, and if we don’t write things down, we forget them easily as we get fascinated with something else, and a new idea always seems to be cooler and sexier than an old idea – even one that was only 5 minutes ago.

When I get an idea, I’ve been known to stop people mid-conversation, saying, "Can you hold that thought for a moment while I write something down?" (and people who know me well, will sometimes stop mid-sentence and ask me, "Are you going to write about something I just said?" I guess my thinking gets pretty transparent :)

2. When online, keep a Simple List open for your capture.

Once my fingers are poised over my keyboard, a pen doesn’t have a chance with me, for I type way, way faster than I write. Simple List is the name of a Google Doc I use as the digital, electronic counterpart to the same kind of quick capture my pen and paper provide in serving my brain when I’m offline.

My Simple List is actually a Google Spreadsheet and not a document, because if it were a document I would write too much and the idea itself would get lost in my exploration of it. Simple List is more like my digital scrap paper of ideas, and I have 4 columns on it:

column 1 – today: date the idea struck
column 2 – done?: date I did something with it (cause then I can sort all the blanks I haven’t acted on yet to the top of the page
column 3 – what?: whatever the idea capture is
column 4 – why?: what struck me about it?

Sometimes I’ll add to the why later (thus it’s the last, and biggest column…) and far as blogging goes, I will usually get one post for every why? I come up with, for more is too much.

If you’re not a list or spreadsheet person, there are a lot of other ways to do this: The idea is to have a very quick-and-easy-to-use capture tool that is habitual for you in your trusted system.

3. Choose a good bookmarking tool, and use it.
The bookmarking tool I use is del.icio.us – absolutely love it for keeping a tagged reference to whatever I happen to find of interest online. Del.icio.us gets the credit for what I’ve taught myself about the value of tagging (way more than Technorati ever did). Most of the time my subscriptions there are a mess because I need to clean up my tags, eliminating dupes and better bundling others, but here’s the good news: It’s one of the most creative messes I have! I mostly go back to my account to do some clean-up in those evenings when I think I’m brain dead for much else, and somewhere within the clean-up I get newly interested in something I bookmarked and I start writing about it.

I am finding that the following feature on Tumbler is terrific for this too; I get tons of pointers to interesting tidbits from following Christopher Bailey. (If you have a Tumblr, point me there by ‘following’ me there, or leaving your Tumblr link here in the Talking Story comments.)

4. Get inspired with great photography.
That adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is so true. So capture those words that picture inspired you with! Here is the site I now get most of my photos from… I defy you not to lose at least the next three minutes there… (come back, okay?)

Here is a great example of how a picture can turn into newly energized writing: Longtime readers know I write about the Daily Five Minutes ® often… what more could I possibly write about it? Well, lots, but as nuts as I am about recommending it to you, I recently had this aha! moment that I didn’t have a definitive article for it on MWAC, when I saw this picture:

Conversation_in_the_clouds
Conversation in the clouds by Swamibu.

Click on the photo to read: What’s the skinny on the Daily 5 Minutes?

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Rapid Fire Learning For February

Lots of good stuff getting shared over at Joyful Jubilant Learning within RFL this month: Click over and check it out… We celebrate Rapid Fire Learning each month in the spirit of ‘Ike loa, the Hawaiian value held by those who are lifelong learners, continually seeking more knowledge and wisdom.

Karen Wallace, who authors The Clearing Space and is the managing editor and creative force behind The Calm Space is hosting RFL for us this month, with a pilot entry called The Joy of Discovery.

So far, she has been joined by David Zinger with Five for February, Dean Boyer with Costs, U-Turns, Clarity, Joanna Young with a very creative Rapid, Rapid Fire (learner alert: you must see it), and you can be sure there will more as the new week continues…

These were the 5 posts that proved to be the most popular among JJL Readers month-to-date:

  1. Learning Perspective: Use It Or Lose It by Tim Draayer, author of   Network Marketing Journey
  2. How to Read an Unfinished Book by Tim Milburn, author of   Studentlinc
  3. Lessons of Shadows and Light by Steve Sherlock, author of Steve’s 2 Cents
  4. 5 Joyful January Learnings by Ariane Benefit, author of Neat & Simple Living
  5. More Power to the Point by Dwayne Melancon, author of Genuine Curiosity

Click over to JJL and give these authors some aloha: What RFL can you grab hold of from each of those postings?

Aloha Friday Reading

Here are some things I found interesting this week ~
A big Mahalo to the citizen publishers who write for us online!

1. Mozilla Launches New Messaging Project, Looks Beyond E-Mail at the Wired Blog Network
[Hat tip to Chris Bailey.] Gave me a lot to think about connected to my recent Brex initiative on MWA Coaching (mentioned here too).

2. I’m Done With Social Media at davefleet.com
[Hat tip to Chris Brogan.] I second this motion:


“Social media” is out. So is “microblogging.” No more “social bookmarking” either.


What am I talking about? Clear writing. Plain language.


I’m not pulling the plug on all this stuff. However, I am going to start to write about it in terms that the average person on the street can understand.


~ Dave Fleet

3. Can Internal Coaches Be As Effective as Outsiders? at Harvard Business
by the one and only Marshall Goldsmith.

This one has discussion potential in a few different ways; it resonated with me most timing-wise with my Brex initiative again and when I think about strengths management within organizations, and the Role of the Manager Reconstructed. Much as there is a place for outside consultants (I’m one too at times, though I prefer coaching) I am always willing to do train-the-trainer development for organizations because most companies need to do much more in-house first. Marshall starts by sharing a question he received, and a brief answer which alludes to the article which follows:

You are an external executive coach.  I am an internal HR professional.  Can internal HR professionals, like me, do an effective job of coaching our company’s leaders?

Can internal HR coaches be effective in coaching leaders?  Definitely.

Will most internal HR coaches be effective in coaching leaders?  Maybe.

4. They’re Working on Their Own, Just Side by Side at the New York Times
[Hat tip to Mike Gunderloy at Web Worker Daily] Is coworking part of your vocabulary yet? I sure would like to see businesses consider offering up any available spaces they have during off-hours: They could be promoting more of an entrepreneurial spirit among the ranks, even if restricted to their own staff.

5. Is your Business Saas-y? at Working Solo
Leah Maclean says I’m saas-y… and what can I say? She’s right; I am, and increasingly so every day.

6. How do you hire great people? at SlackerManager
Relationship Geek and Make it Great guy Phil Gerbyshak started this discussion, and I could not resist jumping in. Chime in with what you think.

7. February 29: Love-Minded Aloha All Day Long! at Managing with Aloha Coaching
Did you take my Valentine’s Day Challenge? This is a follow-up, with a couple of stories on what happened that day for those who did. Join Scott in his plan for February 29th.

What did you find interesting and worth sharing? Drop the link in the comments for us.

Fall in love with any Book lately? Write a Review on it!

The countdown officially starts today:

There are only 9 more days to the fourth annual A Love Affair with Books on Joyful Jubilant Learning!

We are looking for more book reviewers there ~ Will you be one of them? Sign up!

Review a book you loved, and you may Win another book to love… read more of the details there at JJL ~ the shout-out for reviewers was just posted this morning.

Prize-winning possibilities aside, sharing more about a book you have read and loved is sharing that is good for the soul, good for the heart, good for the aloha of your spirit.

Grab your chance to get published on JJL: Share what you think about a book, and get people talking story with you!

Click in to the Amazon.com page below for a sampling of the books that have already been claimed by a few of the authors lined up. There are really terrific writers participating (Starbucker is one of them) ~ there’s added incentive just in getting to know them better through their reading choices and the invitations they’ll no doubt post for you to talk story with them… so consider joining the club, and being one of them too. Review the book that you’ve been smitten with ~ I’d love to hear what it is, and more about it from your perspective!

Can you guess which book I’ll be reviewing? I already mentioned it here a few days ago…