Improve your communication skills to improve your life. An exercise for confident writing.
Updated: Oct 10, 2021
I haven't been writing for long, but holy cow, it's been transformative. One of my biggest influences and mentors is a fellow Vancouverite, Pete Zbro.
Pete is a brilliant and passionate communicator, copywriter, and close friend. He currently is leading a free copywriting workshop for his newsletter that is aiming to show:
how to make writing more fun
how to overcome emotional blocks around writing
how to build confidence in speaking THROUGH writing.
The overarching goal is to improve your overall communication skills and thus improve your daily life.
You can check him out and join his newsletter here: https://petezbro.com/
Below is what he's emailed me for the workshop. If you think you could learn from more exercises like this (you will), join Pete's newsletter to be a part of the next workshop!
Now here's Pete.
Here's your homework. Once you get this back to me, I'll send you the Zoom link for the group call.
Below are excerpts from three different authors. Pick the one excerpt that resonates with you the most and write 80-120 words of your own thoughts on that same idea. Imagine you were having a conversation with a friend about that idea. What would you say?
1. From Phil Mistelberger:
“For a writer, originality is everything. So too with how we see the world. Perspective is unique to the individual, but a great misfortune of life is to assume that one’s unique perspective is meaningless, and so therefore, why bother expressing it. Every artist, writer, musician, or innovator has had to push through that limiting belief.” 2. From Mark Manson:
“The Buddha said that suffering is like being shot by two arrows. The first arrow is the physical pain – it's the metal piercing the skin, the force colliding into the body... In many cases, our mental pain is far worse than any physical pain. In most cases, it lasts far longer. Our worst pains are often self-inflicted. We just don't realize it.” 3. From Julia Cameron:
“Thinking about the odds [of success] is a drink of emotional poison. It robs us of the dignity of art-as-process… "the odds" are what we use to procrastinate about doing what comes next. This is our addiction to anxiety in lieu of action.”
Tips: One trap we might fall into here is fearing that our opinion, or our perspective, is either not interesting enough, or too weird, or too obvious, or whatever (as Phil mentioned above). So for this exercise, we are going to give ourselves permission to write something that's dumb, boring, weird, whatever. That also means that if you don't fully "get" what the excerpt means... you can write about what you don't get.
Another fear is that we aren't "smart" enough to articulate our thoughts clearly enough. I'm not looking for good writing here. Your worst writing is perfectly fine. The only thing I'm looking for is your genuine thoughts. Ie. not what you're "supposed to" think but what you actually think.
And if you find yourself getting so frustrated with this exercise that you can't seem to finish it... just stop wherever you get to and send me that. That's just as good for our purposes. And we'll talk about how to overcome that on the call.
My response to quote #3 by Julia Cameron:
There comes a certain point where there is nothing left to do except the thing that needs to be done.
I've learned that I love to think about planning, strategizing, researching, preparing, and dreaming about the success I'll achieve once it's done... Conveniently, I'll skip over the part where I do the work to get there. I used to never allow these thoughts to escape my head. They would never create action.
This procrastination is just a fear of failure. If I commit to a series of actions to build a business or a write blog and it amounts to nothing, imagine all I've lost by doing the wrong actions!
But what’s the alternative… to do nothing?!