My Brain is Running a 5K (or EOY Mind Games)

Posted by on Dec 3, 2011 | 0 comments

I dream edits.

This blog post could end with those three words, because they sum up my current state of mind.

Wordsmithing content for direct mail, blog posts, eBlasts and other outreach efforts is one of my favorite things, but it can be exhausting.

Last night I fell into my bed after a zillion hours at my laptop – OK, maybe only 18 hours. I fell asleep almost immediately, but all night long I rewrote the direct mail piece I had worked on for over half of the previous day. In other words, I kept working in my sleep (and not all that effectively, I might add).

When I awoke this morning, my muscles hurt. I felt like I had run a 5K, and you know what? I think my brain did!

Wordsmithing for days on end can be compared to the training necessary for a 5K run culminating with a blazing cross over the finish line. Only, with wordsmithing, you aren’t done at the finish line.

There’s always one more edit, one last tweak, and sometimes (even after a valiant effort) you need a complete redo. Now that’s something you can’t do at a 5K: cross the finish line, decide you’re unhappy with your time, and head back to the starting point to run again that same day.

Effective wordsmithing, or writing, is an art, and a science, and sometimes even involves a little bit of luck. It takes planning, preparation, practice, focus and execution.  I’m not a trained journalist or creative author or professional blogger or technical writer. But here I am writing, here and there and everywhere.

I know many of you are in the same race. Here are 6 simple tips to help you succeed:

  1. Hit the ground running (pardon the pun) – in other words, do your research first, then write
  2. Push forward – if the words aren’t flowing start with an outline
  3. Take breaks when your mind goes blank – give your brain time to rest –  focus on something else for a while
  4. Finish your first “final” draft and walk away – your brain needs a pit stop
  5. Dream edits – take a break from writing and go back later when it will seem fresh again
  6. Cross the finish line – edit, tweak, sign off

My brain is exhausted, it feels like it has run a 5K. I must need better sneakers.

I dream edits.

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