I know creating free content is a great way to show your competence and experience as a practitioner. You create so much stuff for your site and other sites. I would love to start to write stuff about tapping but don’t know where to begin. How do you come up with ideas, and what is your process for writing?
photo by Gene Wilburn
In part 1 of this series we looked at what to keep in mind before starting. In part 2 we looked at the types of articles you can write. Now let’s take a look at picking a topic and what you can do to make the writing process easier.
[All three parts of this series can be found @ content creation series]
Coming Up With Topics
Earlier I talked about ways of coming up with content for Q and A articles. Here is a more comprehensive list of the places I get ideas for all types of articles:
Questions from readers: The first time I had an article published in Gary’s newsletter I received 20 questions from his readers. Not all of them were enough to write full articles about, but I got some great ideas from their questions. Also, just because it comes to you as a question doesn’t mean it has to be a question-and-answer type article. You can use the question to generate the idea for a regular article.
Things that come up from client sessions: Almost every client session I have ever done sparked the idea for an article or tapping script. This doesn’t mean that I want to write about all of them, but it provides real-world examples of what you could write about.
Things I learn in my own tapping: I have found it much harder to come up with ideas from my own tapping because as I am tapping I am tuning-in to my issues and not thinking about content. With that being said, some of my best ideas have come from my own healing journey.
Other sources of self-help material: Look at Anne Landers’ web site. Read articles and comments on other self-help websites. Read self-help forums (not just tapping-based ones). People are going to forums looking for advice. Whenever people are seeking help ask yourself, “How would I help this person with tapping?” I came up with 25 tapping scripts from the ideas found in the comments section of a blog that asked, “Why is it hard to love yourself?” The same is true for self-help sections of bookstores. Just look at the titles. Read the titles. Write a tapping article on the same subjects.
I ask my readers what they want to know more about I did a readers survey in March and just asked them what topics they wanted covered. I ended up with a list 30 deep of topics.
Offer to tap for people: Every day I spend some time tapping for my readers’ needs. Each week I asked for surrogate tapping requests in my newsletter. Again, real world issues that I could write about.
When you start to think in terms of “Where are the topics I could write about?” you start to notice them everywhere. I carry a small notebook with one page dedicated to possible topics. When an idea comes, I jot it down. Then when I sit down to write I get the list out and see what is striking my fancy on that day.
Knowing when it is okay to move on
Just because you start writing something doesn’t mean you need to finish writing it. That seems obvious, but it can be really easy to get wrapped-up in the idea that we have already spent so much time on this piece that we can’t quit. We think, “If I give up on this piece I will have wasted time that could have been used for other things. I must make this effort worthwhile by finishing this.”
First, in my mind, spending time working on a new idea is never a waste of time. The process of working with a new idea makes me better at writing as well as better at explaining things to clients. Sometimes the only fruit of a writing session is I now know that this is not the way I want to explain this topic.
Second, not everything needs to be shared. The article you are reading was started during a writing session when I was working on something completely different. I really thought it was going to be a good idea. (It was going to be an article inspired by this Joey Roth print which hangs in my office.)
After about 20 minutes it was obvious that it wasn’t going to work. As I was coming to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to work, the idea of this article popped into my mind. Sometimes a false start will lead us to a topic we wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Third, just because it isn’t working today doesn’t mean it is not going to work. I have a whole folder filled with nothing more than started and half-finished articles. Every few weeks I sift through them. Sometimes I pick something up from the past because I have a new insight, sometimes I am inspired to write something new based on the false start, and sometimes I just think, “Yeah, there is a reason this never got finished.”
Don’t feel like you need to finish everything you start in this writing session. Be easy with yourself, considering that this is not a linear process.
Create A Writing Schedule
I have time set aside every day to write. This is one of the few nonnegotiable tasks in my day. It might happen at a time it was not planned, but it will happen. I know I write better when I do it regularly and I am more likely to end up with work I am happy with if I am constantly working at it.
I am not saying that you need to write every day. If you are just starting out that might be too much. Even if you are just going to spend 45 minutes once a week writing, that is a perfect start. It is going to get you in the habit of doing it. By making it a habit you are saying it is important.
There are two choices that have transformed my website the most in the last three years. One of them is a regular writing schedule.
Get Feedback From People You Trust
Writing articles is something you are going to get better at over time IF you are willing to get better at it. After you have written a few things let some friends or trusted colleagues take a look at your work. When you do this, ask them for some very specific feedback.
Here are the normal questions I ask people who are reviewing my work:
- Does the article make logical sense?
- Is any of it too long or too short?
- What is the strength of the article?
- What could use improvement?
By asking very specific questions you are going to ensure you get the feedback that is most helpful to you in the process of getting better at writing stuff.
I always love reading other people’s stuff. If you would like some feedback on something you have written let me know.
Do something now!
Writing isn’t something that happens on its own. It is something you have to do.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be complete. It doesn’t even need to end up as something that others see.
But you should write something.
It will get you closer to a great finished product that will make someone else’s life and healing journey easier.