I am updating The Corporate Blogging Book for a new e-book edition. First, I cracked open the procrastination nut with 20 minutes of freewriting. This really works. Mark Levy, author of Accidental Genius, turned me onto freewriting. He just finished revising his wonderful book and a new edition will be coming out soon.
Essentially, freewriting means just what it sounds like. You sit down at the computer, apply your fingers to the keyboard and type, er, write, without stopping for a period of time. I've discovered I can write over 1,000 words in 25 minutes if my wrists are feeling limber. And no, it's not all gibberish. Mark has amazing tips in his book about how to freewrite effectively. They are all about shutting up the lizard brain, a term you may have heard of.
What is the Lizard Brain? My explanation...
The lizard brain is the primitive, limbic system that overrides everything else in our brain: it is fear, sex, hunger, etc. Especially fear. And for many of us, myself included, it's what prevents us from blogging more, writing a new preface, updating a book, crafting a new presentation, etc.
Seth Godin uses the lizard brain as a linchpin concept in his new book, LINCHPIN. Think of your lizard brain as resistance, Godin says. You have to mindfully push through the resistance. Pretend everything you are writing is a draft. Ship (or publish or present) whatever you've set as your end goal EVEN IF it's not perfect. He writes page after page to articulate this idea, prodding us to give up all our excuses. He's uncannily good at enumerating the excuses. I use so many of them: the idea isn't good enough, I'll wait until tomorrow, I'll check what's happening on Twitter, etc.
But here's what stopped me cold this morning: page 131.
I stopped writing this book a dozen times. Each time, the force that got me to pick it up again was the resistance. I realized that my lizard brain was afraid of this book, which is the best reason I can think of to write it.
- Seth Godin on page 131 of his bestselling LINCHPIN
Now there's an admission I haven't heard before from Seth Godin. Writing a damned book is hard. Seth has pumped out so many he makes it look effortless. It's not. Somehow that admission gives me huge courage. Enough blogging for today. It's another form of writing warm up and, as such, a good thing. Back to the new preface.
Update: the 2010 edition of THE CORPORATE BLOGGING BOOK has shipped, to use Seth Godin's terminology. Read it on your smartphone, iPad or Kindle.