Writing is a hard job. And writing brand stories with authenticity, while staying true to the tonality and elements of your brand, is even more complicated. We’ve all had days where we look at open documents on our computer and stare at them wondering how to inspire ourselves with something new and exciting. A little inspiration from Anne Lamott’s iconic book– Bird by Bird, comes in handy. If you’re determined to improve your brand stories – no matter what platforms and channels you’re sharing them on, read further. This is a gold mine of inspiration coming your way!
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5 Awesome Tips From Bird by Bird to Improve Your Brand Stories
1. Invest in Shitty First Drafts
Despite our love for all the great writers around, Anne Lamott is here to tell us that, all great pieces of writing start with a shitty first draft. Investing time in putting things on paper is necessary, because you can improve and take it to a level you deem fit for publication or sharing. No one says it better than her:
“I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts”
2. Remember, messy is good
Personally, I feel sometimes I am unable to write anything if I didn’t fuss about having a clean desk, the right paper and pens (sometimes) or just a clean desktop. But internally, I know those are just ways in which I am distracting myself before I can actually write anything at all. Embracing the mess of multiple drafts, or disjointed chapters, or 25 headline drafts, can in fact be good! Here’s what Anne says:
“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”
3. Don’t chase perfection
Sure, there’s that ideal 140 character post that would make everyone else wonder about how awesome you are. You will want your perfect Oreo slam dunk moment, or a post that goes viral overnight. But if that’s all that you’re obsessing with, you’re probably not getting there anytime soon.
“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance…Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
4. Sit down, at the same time
The one thing that’s common with most good writing and copies is disciple and determination. You have to find what your creative zones are, and hold on to them in perpetuity. Once you have a physical and mental space that you find rewarding, it’s time to use that push your productivity upwards. Here’s what Anne teaches her students:
“But how?” my students ask. “How do you actually do it?”
You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind — a scene, a locale, a character, whatever — and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.”
5. Take it bird by bird
Rome wasn’t built in one day. Not is any magnum opus that you’re planning to write. There are going to be stumbling blocks, non creative zones and difficult times. But what gets you forward is doing it one by one, breaking it down into manageable chunks that make you feel it’s possible, and you’ll do it bird by bird. Hear it from the expert herself:
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
What is some of the best creative advice that you’ve imbibed over time? Do share your tips with me on Twitter or in the comments below!
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