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Finding my blogging mojo




This is an archived post from Green Alder Coaching


Austin Power’s mojo is the essence of his sex drive; to help him be a ‘Shagedellic’ spy. Now, don’t misunderstand me, this is a completely different mojo to the one I’m looking for! After reading the ebook ’31 days to finding your blogging mojo’, I realise I have a long bumpy road ahead to find and bottle the essence of what my blogging mojo is going to be. I am excited to develop my new alchemy skills and to fill my test tube to the brim with rich and syrupy blogging mojo.

According to Brian Solis, the author of ‘The End of Business as Usual’, today’s biggest trends are the mobile web, social media, and gamification. Real-time is forcing us to rewire the way we think about communication. A new breed of consumer is emerging and they’re changing the very foundation of business and the way we live our lives. With regards to sustainable business, the Guardian said: “… sustainable messaging … provides the most authentic platform for articulating the social value of a company and the cultural relevance of its brands at a time when they are being increasingly questioned by the public at large.”

I want to be part of this exciting trend, but I am only just up-to-speed with emails and the Internet – maybe I exaggerate? I mistakenly think I am ‘way ahead’ of the game with a LinkedIn account. For goodness’ sake, Lisa, you do not even have a Facebook or Twitter account; you barely scratch the surface!  However, it feels wonderful that people can express themselves, and make meaningful connections all over the world with like-minded people. It is powerful stuff. For me, finding my blogging mojo is a step in the right direction…

So here I am following the ebook by defining:

My audience: People who can relate to social anxiety, and are interested in how to build local community resilience with human beings and the planet in mind.

My perspective: as a career shifter with a steep learning curve, whilst overcoming social anxiety.

My content: Steps I take to change my career, coaching and advice, the New Economy, Mindfulness, Transition towns, permaculture, social enterprises and so on… This is going well until I hit a brick wall bigger than a ten-story block of flats – not literally. Aside from the ability to write creatively and with knowledge; what about the craft of writing? In secondary school, we hardly devote any time to grammar and punctuation, let alone developing a style. Currently, I spend more time filling in assessment records, and less time developing my creative writing skills.

In recent times, my writing has increased,  but the quality diminishes to shorthand texts or emails with words like “gr8” or “lol”…We seem to write more than we ever have; we are writing creatures: Homo Scribus. But, I have forgotten how to write! Although I regularly read, I just scan pages without noticing how the words string together or flow. I just know what I like, and what I don’t like – I guess.

My concern deepened when I read a line by William Raspberry: “Good English, well spoken and well written, will open more doors than a college degree … Bad English will slam doors you don’t even know exist.”

Dustin M. Wax of lifehack.org says: “…the words we use to write with are the same words we use to think with, learning to write well has ramifications that go beyond the merely technical. As we improve our writing ability, we improve our ability to think – to build an argument, to frame issues in compelling ways, to weave apparently unrelated facts into a coherent whole link…More importantly, people who write well have the opportunity to make a mark in the world, because their best ideas aren’t trapped in their own minds for lack of a means of expression…”. I need to get back to basics and re-learn how to write…

“…Writing well is not a gift reserved for the few, but a set of skills that can be learned by anyone…” I set about learning the technical skills of writing, in several different ways, by taking a class, studying books on writing, working with a friend, and following Internet guidance. Finding a class in grammar and punctuation is not easy in North Wales! They only cater to non-English speakers or illiterate adults. So, I think about pretending to be an illiterate foreigner; but I will be unable to look people in the eyes, and I may fall over and draw more attention to myself: probably shouting a number of English expletives – exposing my disguise.

I set about reading the first few chapters of 11 Secrets to getting published. It suggests I write ‘nekkid’. I misunderstand this advice and quickly re-dress myself when I realise the author means spare, harsh, in-your-face prose, the kind that evokes emotion and curiosity. Hmmm, okay then,… “I twitch, cringe, sob, and grimace as I read your book” – This ‘nekkid’ suggestion is not quite what I had in mind.

I decided to hire an English teacher for a one-off private lesson. I sit at her table, and feel myself shrink to the size of a child; while my legs dangle like noodles overhanging a plate, and my clumsy right hand plays hopscotch across the pages, punctuating ‘cats’ sitting on mats and ‘golf balls’ hitting Dudley. The pitch is not right for my needs. I am not ten years old.

I give my Bio to a friend to edit for feedback (she’s written a book you know), just short of putting me up against a wall and firing bullets, the black text is now a patchy bruise of blue…She explains, “It’s the feedback protocol used by writers…..it’s taken me over an hour to do!”.

Is there anything good about my writing…anything? I read the corrections – it is no longer my voice. At this point in time, I am a molten pile of goo on the floor: So, is this my mojo? I eventually scoop myself up and sit down to mindfully ponder. I start to feel better, but still a little gelatinous inside…(Sorry, I could not resist).

The  mojo ebook suggests making my blog exaggerations more exaggerated, by providing an example, “ It was so hot on Saturday, I felt like I was going to die!” try saying, “ It was so hot on Saturday, I tried to spit on myself to cool off and the spit evaporated in mid-air and gave me a 2nd-degree steam burn on my nose.” I laugh!… Okay, my turn to exaggerate, “ I was so tense on Saturday, I tried to salsa dance to loosen up, but my Hip Twist caused one of my legs to snap  like a twig.” Ta-da! …Not quite working for me is it?…

Undeterred, I searched the web again and found that I can engage in Oxford Grammar and punctuation lessons by Skype for £1000, or the Open University for a similar amount. Thank goodness I eventually discovered Grammar-Monster!!!! Roarrrrrr.It’s not just a simple website, but it’s also free. I find it extremely helpful, as it explains punctuation and grammar clearly and provides many user-friendly examples.

It takes sweat and a few tears to get to this point in my story. I have to develop my skills further before I find my blogging mojo, but at least I try. The important thing is that whatever I communicate, it is my authentic self.

One day I’ll ride that blogging mojo train…Yeehaw!

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