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Lifes Best Kept Secrets

Secrets on How To Succeed in Life

Pizza

Greesy cheesy crispy tasty all the adjective -y’s you could possible muster up to describe the first bite into the 45° angle of the tip of a hot slice of pizza. The best food to satisfy the late night drunk munchies, the struggling college student, Jr.’s birthday pizza party, or perfect pairing with a beer or  wine, a quick slice for lunch or a whole pizza to yourself, any way you slice it, pizza is the best meal choice for everyone

How to Write Great Content

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Writing is work that needs to be practiced, analyzed, and tested daily. For a new writer this could be a strange idea.  After my first blog post, I thought I would wake up to hundreds of die-hard fans, but I soon had a rude awakening. After starting a few different Word Press sites I realized that my posts needed to be competitive, and to get competitive edge I would need to have the best content.   So, How does a new writer create great content? And how does a new blogger, business, or writer  choose what he needs to write about?  And once I have chosen a topic, how do I make it original?  These are just a few of many questions to ask when trying to figure out the content that you will feature.

  1. How to choose a topic?

Just like a product or service, writing helps someone with a need.  Posts should leave the reader with the thing or idea that she was looking for when she found you.  In an information laden world, its best to get to the point as quickly as possible.  Try to find the topic’s most raw form, if you are writing about how to barbecue ribs, for example, you could write a new post about choosing the right rack of ribs, or how to marinate them, or how to cook them, but not all three in one.  Find a distinct idea and expand on that.  There will always be time to write your ideas in another post. I’m sure we have all been to a Wikipedia page and seen the blue links to their other pages.  This is a perfect technique to back link to your other pages, and get more exposure.

2. How to find your angle?

Your posts should sound like you’re talking to the reader in your own words.  A clear post is no accident, it is a writer who doesn’t want to lose their reader.  The way you find your “voice,” at first, is to write clearly.  As you continue to write more posts you will find a style that feels comfortable.

As Stephen King said,”If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”  Reading helps find your style by finding other authors you enjoy, and writing like them.  Don’t just spew out their writing and call it your own, use their writing to compliment your own.  But always make sure to properly recognize other writers.

3. How to write interesting content?

Simply put, find something you want to write about.  The more interest you have in a topic the more interesting the post will be, and the more time you will dedicate yourself to writing that topic.  Post can get dull quickly if the writer is writing about a subject that bores him/her.  To find out what interests you should be easy enough, find the things you already read and study, take notes, and write it in your own words.

It may seem easy to write, but as every writer knows, it is a calculated process that needs to take time.  Now that I have had a few blogs and many posts behind me I feel more comfortable in my style.  I hope this post finds you well and be sure to like and re-post. Please feel free to comment or contact me with any questions.

 

Daily Post

How I Discovered Confidence and Dedication

Put me in front of a crowd of people I will be funny, clever, and comfortable. Have a chat with me one on one and I will bottle up. There is something about the impersonal nature of crowds that makes it easy to be myself. It’s the impersonal relationship, along with me blindly gallivanting into certain situations that gives me the confidence to thrive.  It took time to build up confidence though.  It was a mixture of practiced skills and an outgoing personality. Another expression commonly tossed around is “fake it until you make it,” but this aphorism doesn’t teach us to dedicate ourselves.  If you’re doing it you’re not faking it, and if you’re faking it you’re not practicing it.  The saying should be practice it until you make it, or habit it until you nab it, or study it until you buddy it, or drill it until you instill it.  But the best one is practice makes perfect.

My mom,  bless her soul, did not instill the “control your own fate” mentality.  When I was young the local college held an event where you could bring your kids in to do some family exercises.  I remember one where all the kids showed their “secret talent.” There were kids who did magic tricks in colorful capes, dancers with choreographed  routines, and angelic sounding singers.  All of the kids looked as though they had some amazing talent that they were genetically awesome at.  I didn’t have anything planned, so when it was my turn I panicked. I held my breath until my face turned red, then ruby, then purple. I held my breath for so long my mom shook me. Violently exhaling I said “Ta Dah!” Leaving the room and walking down the hall she told me that maybe I haven’t found my secret talent yet.  She made it sound like talent was a predisposed disposition.  For most of my life I believed people are either naturally good at something or naturally bad at something.  Now I know I need to put my mind toward something and give it thought, and dedication, and deliberate practice to achieve perfection.  If you show yours kids this then they will feel that they control their fate.

Please let me know if you liked this post in the comment section. Also, if there was any writing or grammar errors so that I can fix and learn from them, as to become a better writer.

 

daily post

 

My Heart is Where my Home is

dsc_1591My home holds an aura of warmth and calming as soon as you hit the carpet.  A collection of family portraits, all just a tiny bit crookedly hung.  The images are of picturesque landscapes wit tiny people scattered throughout is hanging above the wine barrel table from the wine tasting trip to Napa Valley. An over sized map of the world takes up the wall above the kitchen table.  The table is always full of life items dropped in passing.

The colorful play pen is taking up the whole living room is usually filled with toys and, between naps, one fair skinned blue eyed boy.  He struggles to stand in his freshly purchased and already tightly fitting new clothes, and his soft coo lights up the room.  In the kitchen the the dishes owe their cleanliness to loosely based rotation of duty, and the smell of garlic cooked in wine pierces the air.

The leather couch is behind the play pen and is almost always occupied by either me, my girlfriend, Priscilla, or my black lab, Lulu.  My dog Lulu wags her thick tail as soon as you make eye contact, and or the epitome of happiness if you are just arriving

The colors of warmth wrap the walls, navy blue and sandstone.  The extra room is still being furnished, just a old Craigslist desk hugs the corner and an empty bookcase towers behind it. I love it all.

Writing Hesitation is Writing Block

When I hesitate to write there is close to a %100 chance I will not finish my writing.  I try to put down words everyday. Most of the time I’m writing I’m really trying to re-write, edit, look up synonyms, and look up definitions. But I really should try more of these Daily Posts.  They give me a chance to just shut up and write.  I believe I just need to start to enjoy the editing, because it helps the words sound intended and more cohesive.

These writings that I edit and re-write do turn out better than my other posts, especially if I care about the topic.  I recently wrote a post about my chef at work (please read and tell me in the comments if there was anything you liked).  I really took my time making sure I sounded like myself.  The post turned out ok I think, a little reporter-esk. But I’m writing a post about my home, kind of a environment post, that’s sounds great so far.  I keep going back to fix and tweak here and there, but I’m almost done, follow me to read it tomorrow.  I think the big difference is my home is special, I designed it, furnished it, and I’m building a family here.  My work is nice, but I’m not raising my family there, hell I even hate going there sometimes.  How do I find something I care about enough to show it in my writing? I thought I cared about cooking. But I can’t feel the love in the writing (my other blog, best cooks secrets is about cooking). Any suggestions on how to find what you will write passionately about?  One thing that takes the edge off is working out.

Exercise helps clear my head more than any other form of meditation.  These past few days I have not been exercising. It rained here in San Diego this past week so no basketball and no running. I’ve been lazy, as well. I ordered a pizza, drank a bottle of wine, and watched movies all day yesterday.  So today I feel cloudy and a tad bit depressed.

Drinking fogs my head more than anything.  One glass of wine helps me write, but it usually doesn’t end with just one glass.  The biggest factor is the following day’s depression/hangover…. I just poured myself a glass of a New Zeeland Sauv Blanc.  Ooops.

I can’t hesitate to write. I can’t hesitate to work out. I can’t hesitate to say no to my second drink.

Any ideas to help find my passion in writing?

Center

Today I woke up excited to write, let the ideas roar out of me like a jet engine.  Typing at a gazillion words a minute. Here I go …… Didn’t happen.  So I found the fun Daily Posts and now its flowing, not roaring, but moving more then if I would have written about what I was going to write about.

Ideas need help to grow. My ideas usually die before I cant get them out of my head.  Blogging, and note taking have helped.  What I’m trying to accomplish with writing is help articulating these ideas.  Bring them out and make them pretty.

Center. Not sure what any of this has to do with center.  I guess I need to center my Chi. Center my Chi to clarify my life. These days life is confusing.  I think its because of all the crap floating around the world.  With so many choices, so many people claiming what they are doing is what works, its tough to find your way.  Writing helps me put things in perspective.   I like the idea of coming back and checking where my head was at the time of writing.  I helps me know that I’m not losing my mind.

I’m having trouble referring to myself as a writer. Its connotation is just a little off putting. I never read the books for book reports in school, never wrote a scholarship winning paper.  Why now, when I turn 30, I turn into a aspiring scholar.  Damn, I’m reading 2 books and listening to one on audible.  I’ve even started a 2 blogs.  I guess I want to make enough money to not work.

What would you do if you had a million dollars and not have to work?

I would play basketball and workout every day.  I live in San Diego. I could do anything out doorsy.   But is that my passion.  Right? That’s how to question works, what ever you would do with a million dollars is what you should do for your passion.  I would cook, as well.  I have this idea of what my cooking life would be.   It would be in a house like my grandmas.  Her and my grandpa’s house carry the best food memories.  Baby rack of lamb and venison on the BBQ.  Garlic “tough bread,” home made caesar dressing salad. Sauteed mushrooms in a demi sauce.  The food was hearty but light.  I never remember having that sluggish full feeling.

I need to write. Sharpen my blade.  Write every day.  Write about food or basketball or outdoorsyness.

Damn that stupid question worked.

Breath Taking Headlines in 4 Easy Steps

David Ogilvy, “The Father of Advertising,” said “on the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body.”  I feel that this is a true statement.  I have studied wine for a few years now, but %90 of the time I will choose a wine based on the label then any other factor.  We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but its human nature to do so.  In order to help with this there are four factors to keep in mind. Your headline needs to be unique, descriptive, specific, and hold importance.  Countless bloggers and writers will spend a significant amount of time on their headlines, so let’s get started.

  1. A headline needs to be unique- The title should be characteristic to the writer and to the piece. To do this you need to care deeply about the words that are used.                                                                                                                                                                                   Only put words in that you would use naturally.  In his book “On writing well” William Zinsser says “Readers want the person who is talking to them to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.” If you wouldn’t say “buy this blender with five low payments of $29.95,” then don’t say it.                                                                                                                                                                  The title should also spark interest from your reader, remember this is your one chance to have your media chosen over the next one. Neil Patel said in his book “The definitive guide to copywriting,” “if you sound the same as everyone else, you’re automatically going to put customers to sleep, but if you do something different, you’ll stand out, your message will be refreshing, and you may delight your customers enough to get them to buy from you.” Take this tag line from copy hackers, its unique and surprising.  This would be something that would grab the attention of readers.

2. A headline should convey the importance of your article– Add gravity to your headline by asking a question, or use trigger words.

Jeff Goins said in 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines, “to use what, how to, why, and when, because these are trigger words.”

Try this formula

Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Example: Take the subject “bathing elephants.” You could write an article entitled,

“How to Bath an Elephant” or “Why I Love Bathing Elephants.”

Another (more serious) example: Take a bold promise like “selling your house in a day.”

Apply the formula and you get: “How You Can Effortlessly Sell Your Home in Less than 24 Hours”

People don’t want to be tricked into reading something boring; they want to be drawn into something exciting. Make it worth their while.

In her post  Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them Courtney Seiter says “questions are powerful in the brain because they prime our curiosity. Just seeing a question mark starts to stimulate your brain.”

3. Needs to be descriptive– A headline that tells what will actually be in your article will help you build a trusting relationship with your reader. If your headline and your content don’t match then the reader will abandon your site and most likely not return.

4. Keep it simple stupid (K.I.S.S.)– The most important factor of all would be to just keep it simple.  David Rieck  from copy blogger puts it nicely.  “When a writer tries to sound smart using complex words, they in fact sound more confusing.” Take for example this sentence:

Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly. 

Wouldn’t it be better to title this study something like:

The effect of using big words when you don’t need them?

To sound smart, you must stop trying to sound smart. Brilliant writing is simple writing, a relevant idea delivered clearly and directly. Neil Patel says in cases like this, it’s much better to provide enough specific information to compel readers to continue reading than to write something “clever” that doesn’t give readers adequate information to decide whether or not they’re interested. He also said in an interview with interview with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income when it comes to headlines six to eight words seems to be enough.

says in his post on 17 easy tricks how to write catchy titles and headlines direct headlines go straight to the heart of the matter without trying to sound intriguing or clever.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Catchy Headlines
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The father of advertising hit the nail on the head when he referred to the headline being the most important factor in writing.  As you study your headline try to remember that your audience will judge your title first.  Remember be unique, important, descriptive, and simple and you can’t go wrong.

If you liked this post please re-post it, comment and follow.

Thanks

Ian

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