The first 5 help set the environment. The last five address content.

#10. Write during your favorite part of the day.

Easier said than done with everyone's busy schedule. But I find the happier & more comfortable the writer, the more joyful the experience. Good things come from a joyful pen. For me - it's before dawn under a blanket of still darkness. Silence. Productive. Peaceful. The way God began life - the way life was intended to be.

#9. Choose appropriate stimuli for your writing experience.
What are you writing? What mood do you need to be in to pour forth that experience? I need ethereal music (Enya - headphones only) to write drama or serious, heartfelt content. For comedy - I surround myself with funny things. Funny pictures - pictures of people that I love - and I usually wind-up listening to classical music for all other genres of writing.

#8 Don't try to write for long periods of time.
My writing starts out so good, so inspirational. And then it happens. I plow forward to meet that deadline. I plow forward despite the still of morning turning into work. When writing becomes work. Stop. Leave. Change. And start again.

#7. Use words wisely. Be very concise - avoid diarrhea of the mouth.
Have you noticed my writing turning into Blah Blah Blah - the world's attention span is forever shrinking. And yes - Tommy does have diarrhea of the mouth. It's my sister's fault - she's 9 months older than me - yipes!- and she did all the speaking for me during the first 4 years of life!! I've benefited greatly.

#6. Got books? Have resources near-by when writing.
What is that expression about inspiration and perspiration? Writing is hard work. If you can't find the right word - look it up, NOW. Borrow from poets. Borrow from award-winning authors. Dictionaries and a good Thesaurus are a writers best friend. And while were on the subject of books; good writers are voracious readers.

#5. Write about something that inspires you or is interesting to you.
Sure. And I'm about to write yet another corporate training module. But try. If you have characters in your writing - you better want to meet these characters in real life. If you are describing a scenerio to someone - it better be interesting enough for you to want to be there. If it's not - your reader won't meet you there either.

#4. Listen - very closely.
This was the second best writing tip I ever received. I saved my best tip for last. Listen to the research. Listen to the content. Listen to your characters. Review the material you have to write about - and the writing, the story, will emerge and begin to write itself. Listen. Stop the restless frittering - and magic happens. The courage to speak is reborn. And the writing begins.

#3. There are 3 sides to every story. Respect & pay homage to all three.
This is perhaps the most difficult tip to digest and execute. This goes to the very core of the writing and storytelling process. The three sides are: Audience, Data, & Story. When writing, there must be a loyalty to the audience, a loyalty to the data, and a loyalty to the story you are telling. Unfortunately, the three sides represent "pure" considerations which exist in constant contention. Meaning - they contradict one another. The three sides must be addressed independently & attended to sequentially and then woven together masterfully. The audience is thinking, "What's in it for me" or WIIFM when reading your work - so please think about the state of your audience and how your writing will move your audience. The data must be truthful and relevant for your readers to believe the story. The data is the truth and the light for your audience. Finally, how are you going to move the soul of your audience? The mythic imperative is the story side to your writing. You must be loyal to the story when writing.

#2. Good writing should evoke emotion.
If it's intended to be funny - you should be laughing out loud. Test it. Ask someone to read your writing. If it's comedy, and the reader is laughing out loud, it's funny. If it's dramatic or heartfelt, the reader better have a tear in his eye when finished.

#1. When writing - Be bold. Be very, very bold.
I was attending a TV Marketing Conference in Seattle in 1991. The keynote speaker instructed we aspiring authors: "be bold - be very, very bold." Yeah right I thought, and hustled on to the next free lunch. Later that month, I discovered the very heart of the speaker's message. I was writing a thirty second tv promotion for a local news story and was pondering whether or not I was permitted to write this. Could I say this in my on-air promotion? Would it pass the News Director's inspection? Would the GM ever allow such a story to be told? Be bold I thought. Yeah. So I did - and won an Emmy Award for writing that script. Be bold. Be very, very bold.

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