A Simple Palate: A Family’s Fight Against Eosinophilic Esophagitis

By Megan Sandberg, Staff Writer at Ink Wordsmiths
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7-year-old Kai and 5-year-old Mckenzie Tran live with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, a rare disease in which the body’s response to food allergens results in potentially fatal reactions and chronic tissue damage. Their mother, Jaclyn Tran, agreed to let me accompany her and her children for a night to see what it is like to live with this life-threatening condition.

I sat in the front passenger seat of Jaclyn Tran’s Escalade at 5:30pm on a Monday night, my heels touching two boxes of nutritional shakes. The passenger door slid open. Kai Tran, an adorable 7-year-old with dark brown skin and black hair, looked up at me with large brown eyes.  Before I could say who I was, he launched into his own introduction.

“I am allergic to dairy, peanuts—”

“Honey, she knows. She just wants to hear about your day at school.” Jaclyn helped him into his Spongebob Squarepants car seat while I noted on my clipboard dairy, peanuts.

He nestled into his car seat and spoke to Jaclyn. “I did the dessert one. The answer was either chocolate or ice cream and I picked the right one. So they gave me a Smartie.”

He held up a roll of Smarties, and I instantly wondered if he could eat it. Jaclyn froze. She held the seat belt in her left hand. “What?”

“The answer was chocolate or ice cream and I picked the right one,” he repeated. Jaclyn and I looked at each other. Did he eat either?

“Okay,” she said, sighing with relief, clearly understanding him better than me. “Did your teacher make you smell anything again?” Jaclyn asked.

“No,” Kai said, playing with the wrapper of his Smarties before placing it in his lap.

Jaclyn climbed into the driver’s seat and reversed from the parking lot of Kai’s reading and writing center. After a harrowing incident of bullying in his public school, she chose to virtually homeschool Kai, with supplementation from centers like these. It still came with its issues.

“Lately, everything has revolved around food,” she said to me. “The kids got Oreos last week and the teacher knows he can’t have them so she just told him to ‘smell them.’” Jaclyn grabbed a McDonalds soda from the cup holder and passed it back to him. “Honey, we have to do your shake once we get to Sprouts. It’s long overdue.”

In a previous phone conversation, Jaclyn told me the “story of the little blue chair:” the stigmatization of his allergies at public school. During a 504 meeting (part of a statute which ensures the accommodation of children with specific medical needs), Kai was supposed to sit at the head of a nut-free table. Instead, administrators forced him to take a blue chair, sit by himself, and watch everyone else eat in front of him.

“So no one went with you?” I asked.

“No. I was alone.” He looked out the window and sipped the soda.

“People think I’m terrible for giving my children soda,” she said, noticing me watching. “But this is his treat. Imagine if you couldn’t eat anything. Wouldn’t you still want to have some taste?” 

I tried to imagine only drinking Coke or Sprite for the rest of my life and had to refocus on the road ahead—I couldn’t do it.

Doctors diagnosed Kai with Eosinophilic Esophagitis in June of 2015. The disease causes white blood counts to skyrocket while the immune system plummets. Its symptoms include overall pain, hives, swelling, vomiting, malabsorption, bowel obstruction, and choking, among countless other horrifying symptoms. Nine weeks premature, Kai spent his first days in the NICU, already experiencing difficulty swallowing. By three years old, he exhibited extreme behavioral problems, and only ate three things: Oreos, Cheetos, and Goldfish. Everything else he refused. And he wouldn’t eat much of it—one small box of Goldfish for an entire day. Soon, an endoscope of his stomach showed over 15 eosinophils, the meter to diagnose the disease. This meant his body was attacking itself, releasing an exorbitant amount of toxins in the face of allergens, damaging organs and tissues. By five years old, his esophagus was completely closed.

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Once, at a Halloween party, he ate two mini M&Ms, and had to be rushed to a hospital. Three men held him down to inject steroids and an epi pen. He now avoids all regular foods and relies on a hypoallergenic formula. It is too daunting to list what Kai can’t eat so I will list what he can: tortilla chips (but not all brands), sprinkles, marshmallows (but not all brands), and popcorn (but not all brands). Because of this scant list, Kai receives most of his caloric and nutritional intake from a feeding tube, which was inserted two years ago.

“I lost two teeth!” Kai shouted from the back.

He pulled at his lips to show me. I squinted in the dark car. “Wow! Did the tooth fairy give you a good reward?” 

“I got 10 dollars.”

“10 dollars?! I wish my tooth fairy was that generous.”

He threw his arms up. “I’m rich, bro!”

Jaclyn chuckled. “Tell Megan what you can ask for Christmas now.”

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!” he sang.

Jaclyn turned to me. “See? He’s just a normal seven-year-old boy.”

***

We pulled into the parking lot of Sprouts, passing a Pizza Hut and Subway.

“Are we going to Pizza Hut?” Kai asked. I looked back and saw a smirk on his face. I didn’t think a 7-year old could muster such spot-on sarcasm.

We pulled into one of the back spots, where Jaclyn pulled a steel water bottle and medical equipment from the trunk.

“I used to be a nurse,” she said, rummaging through a bag of medical equipment. “I loved it. Once I had him, they were going to give me the perfect hours. But once he was diagnosed, I couldn’t do it. Kai, you can hop down. Let’s show Megan.”

He jumped out of the car and stood on the curb. He pulled up his shirt. About one inch to the right of his belly button sat a hexagonal blue patch. Jaclyn clasped a thin, translucent tube to the small, plastic opening in the middle of it. Clear liquid settled in the tube.

“That’s stuff from his stomach. When you see it come up like that, it means you did it right.” She attached a fat syringe to the tube, then positioned the water bottle above, filling the syringe with white liquid. She passed the syringe to Kai, who stared out into the empty parking lot.

I knew I would sound naïve but I still asked: “Do you feel anything?”

He shook his head. “No,” he said, holding it steady.

After the syringe emptied, we walked into Sprouts. He immediately spotted a barrel of marshmallow products and handed a bag to his mom. She showed the ingredients label to me. “He can actually have these. This brand just has cane sugar and soy lecithin.”

He grabbed the bag back and carried it with him.

In the middle of the produce section, Jaclyn stopped. She pointed to the large, cardboard display housing different nuts.

“If he touches this, he will go anaphylactic,” she said.

Kai stood dangerously close to the display. I held my breath. I wanted to reach out and grab him, just in case he lost his balance.

“The problem with this is cross-contamination,” Jaclyn explained. “Let’s say someone touches the nuts, then touches a potato. If I pick up that potato and bring it home? Anaphylactic.”

I shook my head, incredulous, as Kai looked at all of the food he couldn’t eat. Jaclyn pointed to the various displays of fruit. “The only thing I could get in this section are potatoes anyways.”

 I looked around at all the mangos, pineapples, peaches, and apples. The staples I picked up in my own grocery trips were fatal to her two children.

She spent $3.50 on the marshmallows then walked back out to the car. While Kai trotted in front of us, she whispered, “He won’t eat them.”

I frowned. If marshmallows were the only thing you could put in your mouth, wouldn’t you want to eat a lot of them?

“Do you think he’s afraid of a reaction?”

“I don’t know.”

In the car, I turned so I could keep the corner of my eye on Kai. He reached in and ate two marshmallows.

“Kai, what do you like to eat? What does your mom make for you?” I asked.

“French fries.”

“When you eat them, how much do you eat?”

“Thirty fries!” He shouted.

Jaclyn raised her eyebrows. “I’d like to see that. Let’s test that out tonight, Kai.”

“Are you going to eat a lot of marshmallows?” I asked.

Kai nodded, then stuffed a palmful of white fluff in his mouth. 

Jaclyn looked in the rearview mirror. “Did he really put all of those in his mouth?”

“Yeah,” I said, hoping she’d be happy. Instead, she looked shocked and mildly concerned, like this was the first time he had eaten that much food in one sitting.

***

Kai started coughing in Ralph’s. At first I dismissed it. A lot of little kids cough. Maybe I heard him coughing before.

“Why are you coughing, Kai?” Jaclyn asked as we passed the deli section in Ralph’s, our next grocery stop.

He shrugged, bouncing off to the next aisle.

“He’s reacting to the marshmallows.”

I put my clipboard to my side, feeling betrayed. “But you said he could eat those.”

“It’s also about the amount.” 

I watched Kai pass the dairy section. He almost bumped into an elderly man with his partial-skip, partial-run. To anyone else, he did look like the normal 7-year-old: always on the brink of running into a customer’s leg or shelf of food. As long as he kept his shirt down, no one would know his survival depended on that blue patch permanently attached to his stomach.

In the car, Jacklyn had momentarily broken down. Trying to hide her tears from Kai she whispered, “This is his reality. He may never eat.”

Her words rung in my head as Kai’s cough deepened. Suddenly he turned around and opened his mouth again. “Do you see it?” he asked me. He pointed to his bottom teeth. “Do you see the loose tooth?”

I hid my frustration. Not at him, but at some divine body; now he couldn’t even have his favorite marshmallows? Everywhere we turned, something else was taken from him. I desperately wanted to give it back.

 Kai ran ahead again. I asked Jaclyn if she severely restricted her diet too. She nodded.

“One time Kai saw me eating a sandwich and he said, ‘Are you trying to kill me?’”

I looked at Kai, trying to imagine this precocious bundle of energy saying such a biting comment.

“Hey Kai,” she said, baiting him, “I think when I get home I’m going to eat some eggs and peanut butter.”

He turned. “Then I’m feeding you medicine, bro!”

Jaclyn shook her head and laughed. “He knows I’m allergic to some medicine,” she explained. Kai didn’t say this aggressively, nor do I think his use of ‘bro’ was intentionally disrespectful as much as another opportunity to use his favorite word.

In the next aisle, Jaclyn searched for the right brand of popcorn. “Kai, I think they only sell it at Albertson’s.”

“We got jipped, bro!” he said.

“He would’ve barely eaten it anyway,” Jaclyn whispered, then held her hand up. “Maybe a small handful.”

The rest of the grocery trip revealed further complications. He could have Tostito’s Tortilla Chips, but not Mission Tortilla Chips. He could have Pacific Cooler Capri Sun without a reaction but not Fruit Punch Capri Sun. He could have soy lecithin but not soy. The more Jaclyn explained, the more I thought about the nearly fatal trial-and-error it took to distill their grocery list.

As his cough deepened, I became increasingly nervous. I watched Jaclyn, who remained calm and attentive, for any sign this could get worse very quickly. I also couldn’t help but think Kai knew his stomach better than any microscope. He knew, intuitively, what his body could withstand before a reaction. Maybe he lied to me, the stranger, about the 30 french fries, because he thought that’s what ‘normal’ people ate.

Standing in line for check-out, Jaclyn told Kai he could pick out a soda. “Ask Megan if she wants anything,” she added.

He opened the door of the miniature fridge and mumbled, “What do you want?”

He reached for the Sprite.

“Sprite’s actually my favorite too,” I said.

“Really?” he asked, handing me a bottle.

“Yeah, we can be buddies.”

“I like Sprite because it’s green,” he said. “Green makes me feel better.”

***

Back in the car, I sorted through my notes. “Kai and his sister both have the same disease, right? And how do you spell—”

“Kai, spell Mckenzie’s name for Megan.”

“M-c-k-e-n-z-i-e,” he said from the backseat. “She’s actually my sister.”

“Oh yeah?” I said. “Good, I’m glad she actually is.”

“Do you know when her birthday is?” Jaclyn asked him.

“It starts in December.”

I laughed. “Yeah? When does it end?”

He shook his head, giggling.

“They have different allergies though. And it’s shown differently,” Jaclyn explained. “With Mckenzie, it’s more visible. She will break out in hives and scream. He is more quiet. He’ll come up to me and whisper ‘Mom, there’s a rope around my neck.’”

I paused, looking at the road again, imagining a lasso whipped around my collar bone.

“Sometimes he’ll come up to me and say, ‘I want a knife to cut out my stomach.’ Or, sometimes he’ll talk to his stomach. I hear him. He goes ‘it’s okay, I know you’re scared.’” 

Eosinophilic Esophagitis is genetic. Khoa Tran, Jaclyn’s husband, discovered his allergies to soy, peanuts, and fruits in his late 30s. These allergies can pass down, and if they cause cell to cell mutations, it can develop into this disease. The only partial “cure” to alleviate some symptoms is steroids. But these can be bad. Especially for Kai.

They made him hallucinate. He stood on a street corner and screamed for his mom and dad even though they stood right next to him. Jaclyn kept yelling “I’m right here! I’m right here!” but it was as if Kai couldn’t even see them.

After Kai got some yelling and singing out of his system, we entered their gated community and drove down the dead-end street to their beautiful home. Kai started talking about his Hot Wheels collection.

“When I get a car,” Kai said.“Then I can have a wife and two kids.”

Jaclyn laughed. “He always says that.”

I turned around in my seat and smiled at him. “Kai. You are well beyond your peers.”

***

Doctors told Jaclyn this disease involved the lowest quality of life for its sufferers, even more so than cancer patients. This is because there is no course of treatment which may put it in remission. Instead, the disease evolves as the child grows, and puberty may cause those affected to experience subdued or escalated symptoms. There is no way to predict how Kai’s body will change, or remain static, in the coming years. All she can do is closely monitor him and his food supply.

Back at the house, I watched Jaclyn put away the meager groceries, eying the pantry. Shelves of protein powders lined the walls. Jaclyn explained her and Khoa try to drink a lot of shakes so Kai knows they “do shakes” too.

Mckenzie, dolled up in princess gear, remote-controlled a Hello Kitty car up to my legs. She said hello per her mom’s request then re-focused on her driving.

Mckenzie was also a premature baby, in the NICU for 3 weeks, also with feeding issues. By six months old, she began developing rashes which doctors dismissed as eczema. Just in case it was allergies, they gave Jaclyn an epi pen. Two weeks later, Jaclyn had to use it. Mckenzie’s body swelled up so severely it looked like her face was tightened by saran wrap. But because she eats (chicken, steaks, chips, cheerios, and the occasional, allergy-free baked good), she does not have a feeding tube.

Kai sat at the table, playing with a Lego toy. After I took a picture of Mckenzie, he said, “My sister is kind of cute.”

Jaclyn smiled. “Kai, tell Megan what you tell the girls at your school.”

He pushed the Lego up and down. “You look very pretty today.”

“Good boy,” Jaclyn said, putting away the Cheerios.

Jaclyn sees the silver lining in Kai and Mckenzie’s shared diagnosis. No one is eating pizza while the other drinks only water. They will always understand each other’s plights. 

Once Jaclyn finished stocking the pantry, she showed me a picture of Kai before his feeding tube.

“Do you see his ribs?”

A slight sound escaped from my lips as I took in the difference. Kai’s ribs peeked through the skin, his belly distended like a starving child.

“Kai,” Jaclyn said suddenly, turning. “Don’t get mad.”

I turned around and saw Kai in front of his father, who was sitting on the couch. Dancing With The Stars played quietly in the background as Mckenzie scooted around her car. Kai remained silent, but jumped up and down in frustration, shaking his dad’s hands. Apparently, Jaclyn had told her husband about Kai’s coughing when we came in the house.

“Kai, really. It’s okay. It’s not his fault,” Jaclyn said to him from the kitchen.

I looked at her, confused.

She leaned into me. “He thinks his dad won’t let him eat the marshmallows anymore.”

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***

For Kai and Mckenzie, living with this disease is their reality. Instead of using pity, Jaclyn teaches them how to be their own advocates. Kai is learning to analyze the “May Contain” list on food packages. He also makes others aware of his allergies, even, as evidenced with me, before saying his own name. He is learning what his reactions are connected to, and what he can do to prevent them. Jaclyn strives to educate her children as best as possible, but she also wants to make the world—already impossibly dangerous—just a little easier for her children by educating others.

To build this awareness, Jaclyn started her nonprofit organization My Simple Palate.  She hopes to educate communities on allergens, raise awareness of rare diseases, and advocate against the type of bullying and stigmatization Kai experienced in his own classroom. She has also joined community groups and participates in the Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce. 

When I walked back in the kitchen after chatting with Jaclyn in private, Kai had calmed down and returned to playing. Mckenzie watched her car zoom past the couch. Jaclyn asked Kai one final question: what do you want to be when you grow up? 

“A police officer. But don’t worry mom, I’ll still do my shakes.”

Jaclyn Tran is the founder of My Simple Palate, a nonprofit organization aimed to raise awareness of food allergens, rare diseases, and bullying. She has recently become a certified Aller-Coach to begin teaching other families how to manage these types of severely restricted diets. You can read her recipe ideas and contact her at www.mysimplepalate.com.

Megan Sandberg is a Staff Writer at Ink Wordsmiths, a content-creation company located in Mission Viejo, CA. You can browse through our writing services at www.inkwordsmiths.com

 

Building Brands, Changing Hearts and Minds

By Izzy Williams, Content Creator at Ink Wordsmiths
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In a meeting with the founder of Ink Wordsmiths, Michael Ashley, and the founder of Accountability Brothers, Ron Patarello, we reviewed the company’s website and brainstormed how to transform their existing content into bite-sized stories to immediately attract viewers. Critical feedback is only helpful when it’s constructive and respectful to the writer. If we didn’t agree on a page’s layout or the web copy, we would communicate our individual perspectives, then arrive at a creatively-motivated conclusion. We also made sure to identify the company’s main demographic.

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As with many new organizations, Accountability Brothers was having difficulty generating external funds, so they wanted to aim content towards potential donors. During this initial meeting, we identified the most beneficial changes to their website and written content, always keeping that demographic in mind. Images also play a large role in supporting the desired narrative. Think of how a film uses both visual and verbal communication to relay a particularly powerful message. With the ease of digital platforms, we can incorporate both of these into our client’s stories. In the first meeting, we mainly discussed the website’s color schemes, and how this impacted a potential audience. 

On Accountability Brothers’ previous website, the main color scheme was white, black, and red. While this combination has biblical significance, the mixture also creates a sense of despair. Instead, we suggested different shades of blue to evoke a lighter, more welcoming feel when entering the site. Additionally, we replaced the images of tearful children and imprisoned men with former inmates who had been guided by Accountability Brothers. This emphasized the goal of Accountability Brothers and illustrated their success in rehabilitating those trapped in what can be a cyclical system. By brainstorming as a team, creating an outline for the new website, and writing content specific to their demographic, Ink Wordsmiths was able to provide wide exposure and awareness for the admirable mission of Accountability Brothers. 

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We are continuing to work alongside Accountability Brothers to help build their brand, allowing them to be recognized by an even larger audience. This process includes continued assistance on their website, maintaining their LinkedIn page, crafting and publishing future articles, and writing a forthcoming book about the Brothers and their journeys. Once Ron has been established as a thought leader, we will also tailor our content work to angle him as a future Ted Talk speaker. We wish to create the narrative essential to Accountability Brothers’ mission, but we also demonstrate Ron as the pioneer of the movement.

Whether it’s a home page of a website, a new blog, or a revolutionary speech, we want to tell your story. At Ink Wordsmiths, our communication expertise brings exposure. Through effective communication, aesthetic designs, and emotional storytelling, we give our clients the opportunities they deserve.

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Personal Branding: Where Creativity Meets Entrepreneurship

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By Danny Avershal, Content Creator at Ink Wordsmiths

If you’re an aspiring author, chances are you’re willing to go above and beyond traditional sales methods to get your book read. The internet has changed the way content creators interact with their fans, mostly by means of social media. Gone are the days when a publisher would shell out the better part of their PR budget to promote an author. Publishers now look to the author to complete his or her branding since everyone has the ability to create an internet platform.

To purists who view their writing as more art and less commodity, there is room for both in your life. Branding is something everyone must do, even if it’s minimal. Just because you have the desire to build an audience and sell books, it doesn’t mean you’re not an artist. In fact, positioning yourself as a marketable writer people recognize through your work is an art form in itself.

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Consider Stephen King. He’s one of the most famous authors of all time with an incredible array of novels, yet when you’re reading his work, you know it’s Stephen King because of his specific style and brand aesthetic. King decided at a certain point in his career he would sacrifice some time and energy branding to facilitate opportunities for future books to be sold. He’s still an artist. Yet, he’s also a best-selling brand.

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With InstaFreebie, you can release your book on the internet to a wider audience. Such reach can create a deeper connection with your existing fans as you cultivate a broader following, gaining future customers for upcoming projects. You’ll start to see that mailing list grow, as well as interest in you as an author, when you begin to build a personal writing brand.

Taking your book to the internet rather than utilizing a conventional marketing strategy can be intimidating at first. However, think of it as an investment in future sales of books you have yet to write. Ultimately, what you sacrifice in direct sales has the potential to pay off in the form of greater readership down the line. Before, people might have only found your book through the bookstore or a google search, whereas using InstaFreebie potential audiences can search social media platforms, as well as online recommendation engines to find your book. In short, you’re giving up a little profit at the outset so you can sell more books to more future readers. InstaFreebie is simply a means of bringing literary consumption to the 21st century.

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Struggling with your manuscript? Contact Ink Wordsmiths for writing, editing, branding. and ghostwriting support today. We can assist you in taking your writing and author platform to the next level. Write to us @ hello@inkwordsmiths.com

 

Modern Media

By Danny Avershal, Content Creator, Ink Wordsmiths
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Let’s face it. All you can eat subscription services have taken over several entertainment industries including music, television, and film. Apps, like Spotify, have nearly killed the record industry, quickly pumping in new subscribers every day with an entire catalog of music deeper than any that you could physically own. And all at your fingertips for $9.99 a month.

Netflix operates on a similar model, and is one of the top reasons people don’t attend movie theatres anymore. In fact, the  LA Times says “the number of actual tickets sold this summer paints a bleaker picture, with total admissions likely to clock in at about 425 million, the lowest level since 1992, according to industry estimates.”

In the end, people are going to pick what is most convenient for them, and these days, streaming is the name of the game. But it doesn’t stop at electronic media. Book sales are beginning to go this way as well. With the advent of Kindle, and other services, like Scribd, and Oyster, consumers have even more freedom in the way they choose to read books.

Critics of the new wave of “temporary ownership” may point out these services are killing the entertainment industry. While these applications may be putting dents in age-old media institutions, like film studios, and record companies, people are consuming now more than ever.

Whatever content you create, whether it’s music, film or writing, keep in mind that it’s not that people are consuming less, it’s just that they’re doing it differently than they used to. Being a creative in this day and age isn’t about sticking to your ways, it’s about adapting to the newest technology which is changing faster every day. People don’t buy media anymore. They rent it, or stream it. Although monetizing your creativity may be done differently now, personal branding and marketing has never been easier.

Seize the resources you have, don’t be afraid to build your brand, and be prepared to adapt to the ever-changing world of media consumption.

Contact hello@inkwordsmiths.com for support today, so we can assist you in taking your creative content to the next level. 

Humans = Emotional Creatures Bound Together By Stories

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Author and marketer, Dale Carnegie famously said: “When dealing with people, remember, you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” The popular belief that “emotions are the curse of logic” places logic and emotion in an antagonist relationship. However, as Carnegie points out, once we accept humanity as more emotionally-driven than rational, we can make peace with our nature.

Recent neuroscience concerning decision-making seeks to identify just how our mental processes works. In Forbes’s “How The Most Common Emotions Affect Business Decision Making And What To Do About It,” Erik Larson claims that “scientists have found that without emotions we [would] become completely ineffective at making decisions.” Neurologist, Antonio Damasio, came to a similar conclusion in his book, Descartes’ Error. Damasio claimed that the separation of mind and body, of logic and emotion was in fact an “error.” 

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There is also a profound connection between memory and emotion based on our capacity to create and store powerful internal images. Ask someone to recall where they were when they learned of the 9/11 attacks and most likely, they can paint a visual picture of the scene for you. As human beings, our combination of memory backed by potent feelings allows us to recall important information in a truly functional way. The stronger the emotion, the more powerful the memory, the more it resonates in our being.

So where does logic come in? One place it can be seen is in classical rhetoric. Rhetoric, defined as the combination of persuasion and argumentation, is derived from the teachings of Aristotle and Plato. The main thrust of classical rhetoric suggests the emotional impact of any narrative is essential to the retention of its meaning.

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The power of narrative is something that should not be overlooked. As the co-creators of our own lives, our ongoing role is to inspire, compel, and persuade. No matter what we do or what business we are in, we have the capacity to shape meaning through hearts and minds (emotionally and logically.)

Every day we write the stories of our lives through running narratives. This doesn’t mean all of us are writing things down or penning articles or books—instead, each of one of us is constantly telling stories to get what we want. Just think about the stories we tell every day to get what we desire. The server informs his table how the fresh salmon came to be on the menu. The lawyer narrates her client’s actions in court.

Once we recognize life is made up of lots of little stories told by different people and that these are most effectively understood through the filter of our emotions, we can better achieve what we seek.

The power of the narrative extends to all facets of our lives. Let’s use it wisely.

At Ink Wordsmiths, we specialize in content marketing empowering professionals to connect with their audiences in an emotional way that converts. If you are interested in learning more about our process, contact me today @hello@inkwordsmiths.com.

Get in the Door Yesterday with a Professional Resume & Cover Letter

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Though we learn much in school, vital skills can fall through the cracks. Perhaps you understand the depths of computer science and programming but were never taught the importance of penning a stellar resume or cover letter. Dedicating quality time to both can make all of the difference when it comes to landing an interview and winning a job.

Just like an engaging narrative, your resume opener must catch the recruiter’s eye, enticing this gatekeeper to keep reading. Put it this way: if you’re not lured into reading your own resume, why would a potential employer be? Marketer and author Dale Carnegie has two important quotes apropos to this conversation. The first applies here: “People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.”

Carnegie is famous for instructing his many devoted readers to think like the other person they wish to influence. Put yourself in the employers’ shoes. They want to find the person that will make their job hunt easier. Do them (and yourself) a favor by taking the guesswork out of their search. Construct a concise, focused resume that’s easy on the eyes and gets to the point. After all, employers don’t have all the bandwidth to analyze your resume; spoon-feed them the info they crave to get yourself in the door.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion,” is another Carnegie quote germane to this topic. Though coldly analytical HR algorithms would have us believe resumes must pass some sort of SEO semantic keyword test, the truth is employers are flesh and blood organisms longing to be moved, to be affected. Again, do them (and yourself) a favor by eschewing broad, boilerplate cover letters in favor of something gripping, authentic, and whenever possible, inspiring. A generic cover letter will do you no favors. Research what makes your intended company special and why you would be special for them.

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When it comes to the technical mechanics of resume writing, it’s imperative your resume be laser-focused. Yes, though it’s preferable to be perceived as multi-skilled and adaptable, employers desire employment consistency. They would much rather see five previous jobs listed in a similar field than ten that are all over the place. In the same vein, cater your resume to each specific employer. Overtly display your interest in working for them instead of using a scattershot approach, spraying every vocational opportunity in sight. Again, do your research so you can discuss how your qualifications are perfectly matched for the company’s needs.

Next, decide what kind of template is right for you. A chronological resume featuring your most recent employer at the top, working chronologically down, can be ideal if you have been consistently employed in the same industry. However, if you’re switching fields or you’ve had a shaky employment history, this format won’t do you any favors. If your employment tenure is spotty, consider a skills-based resume, highlighting your proficiency in specific departments. This format can distract from employment gaps while capitalizing on your stronger qualities.

Never shy from boasting of your accomplishments. This is your opportunity to shine. If your resume and cover letter won’t get your foot in the door, you will never have an opportunity to interview and land your job. Seize this moment to sparkle on the page (while remaining concise, focused, and mindful of your reader’s needs). Last, a resume is never done. Continue to update yours as you proceed throughout your employment, adding new experiences and skills along the way to land your next position.

Still feeling stressed about penning your cover letter and resume? Ink Wordsmiths excels in crafting outstanding content for professionals, especially C-Suite executives. Contact us today for more info or samples of our work: hello@inkwordsmiths.com or inkwordsmiths.com.

Why Do You Need a Ghostwritten Book?

GHOSTWRITING can seem like a confusing process. However, it is really quite simple and I can explain it this way: go into any Barnes & Noble and scan the shelves. 50% of the book titles you see were not written by the author on the spine. They were ghostwritten by someone else.

Bottom Line

Someone paid another writer to write their book so they could get credit. Amazing, right? Don’t have the time, background, or skills to write a book, but still want to be an author? Hire a writer to do it for you.

For professionals, especially CEO’s, writing a book can significantly increase their business success. Why? A book holds value regardless of the industry you operate in or where you work. Whether you are accountant, business coach, marketer, therapist, public speaker, doctor, lawyer—a book can differentiate yourself from your competition.

Let’s imagine you are a chiropractor. If you search for “chiropractors” in your city, the list of options will seem endless. Thousands of chiropractors are competing for the same business. So how can you differentiate yourself from all those other chiropractors?

By being the only one with your very own book. By being a published author.

A personal book by you is your 21st century business card. Through writing about your specialty, you become more authoritative and influential in your field.

You Become A Thought Leader

Authors are subject experts. Anyone can say they are the best at what they can do, but you can show this to the world by being a published author.

Having a book also provides you with quality content in perpetuity. The next time you have to post something on your Facebook wall, write a LinkedIn piece, or tweet, simply reference your own material.

Why quote someone else and give them the credit? After publishing, you will forever have content. All this content shows up in search engines, distinguishing you from your competition. Instead of looking for customers, now your customers will look for you.

It doesn’t stop there. Need a reason to give a speech, get invited to a radio show, podcast, or TV show? No problem. You can go on any of these to talk about your very own book.

We Live In Interesting Times

Consumers, especially millennials, don’t consult the Yellow Pages when looking for a specific product/service anymore. People use Google to search for what they need.

But when you have written a book—when your name pops up, when it is considered quality, shared content—you bust out of the pack. Now your content appears at the top of the search page.

Authors Make More Money

Published authors can charge more for their expertise. Not only can you make money from your book sales, you can succeed as a consultant. As a perceived expert, people will feel intrigued to know more about you and your thoughts. 

Is Ghostwriting Ethical?

Yes. The most important elements in writing a book are the ideas, not the execution. Most professional writers know creative projects can involve many un-credited people. For instance, many successful writers depend on editors, critique groups and/or beta readers to help bring their work to fruition. You can think of a ghostwriter as your partner, but ultimately you are the true creator of your book.

How Does It Work?

Ghostwriters, like the ones at Ink Wordsmiths, have a simple process: you supply us with the raw data and information, then collaborate with us either in person or remotely.

You may be asking, “But how do you write like me? How do you know my industry so well?”

Our team of writers have worked in a variety of industries, from finance, construction, insurance, health care, technology, politics, economics, and entertainment. We have written Amazon Best Sellers, business books, memoirs, histories, technical books, and even science fiction and fantasy novels. We specialize in research and want to get to know you and your brand as well as you know it.

Once potential leads have the opportunity to know your story, they will become your trusting customers, spreading positive testimonials about your services.

If you’re interested in becoming a thought leader in your field and publishing a book, Ink Wordsmiths is here to help. We specialize in telling stories andwant to tell yours.

Go to www.inkwordsmiths.com for more details on our services, or say hi at hello@inkwordsmiths.com

How to Choose Your Writing Niche in Two Easy Steps

This blog is part of a series of helpful pointers for fellow writers in the “The Six-Figure Writer” Community

A working writer must be a “Jack (or Jill) of All Trades” when it comes to their abilities. He or she must be versatile and easily adapt their craft to various writing formats in order to meet client demands. You don`t want to be a one trick pony when it comes to selling your services.

The hard part is actually choosing what your niche should be.

Often times, what we may think of as a niche is actually too broad. Or we just aren`t sure which one to choose. For example, many business-minded writers pick “marketing” as their niche. But marketing isn`t a niche; that’s far too big of a discipline with multiple sub-categories.

I too struggled with finding my niche and it cost me a lot of time and missed opportunities. I tried to position myself as knowledgeable in multiple disciplines, but by doing so I diluted my focus. After careful consideration, my niche became very clear: content marketing and strategy. That’s my niche. It’s what I specialize in. Am I well-versed in other areas outside my niche? Absolutely. I have years of copy writing experience. But with so many copywriters going after this area, why throw my name in an already overfilled hat?

So how do you go about choosing this elusive, mysterious niche?

Step one:

Begin with a candid self-audit. What are some things you are genuinely knowledgeable about? What are topics that know through and through? What do you have a lot of experience in? Do you have a unique approach or experience in a particular field that sets you apart?

The key here is to choose something where you actually have credibility. That may sound like pretty obvious advice but you would be surprised at how many people try to brand themselves as experts when they have no actual experience. It shows. How many of you have come across so-called marketing “experts” offering online courses on how to get clients, yet they don`t really have any?

Step two:

Once you have listed your strengths, ask yourself an important question: which of those topics are you genuinely passionate about? Which ones do you actually love exploring, discussing, and learning about? Case in point, I`m well read on SEO, but I would never try to promote myself as an expert on it because truthfully the subject doesn`t excite me. I`m not passionate about it.

Next, don`t choose a niche because you think it’ll make you money. If you`re not authentic about your niche, chances are you`ll never build the audience necessary to actually make any money.

Final Thought

Selecting a niche is about finding that wonderful equilibrium between passion and expertise. Seek out topics you enjoy. But also look for something that you`re knowledgeable enough about to teach others and engage with them. Let these two items be your guiding principles: passion and knowledge. 

How to be Extremely Productive by Doing Nothing

This blog is part of a series of helpful pointers for fellow writers in the “The Six-Figure Writer” Community

We live in a day and age where everything is about productivity. Increase profits, reduce costs, sleep less, work more. There’s a cultural anxiety. We buy books on time management and how to get organized. We live in a perpetually caffeinated state just to create more time in order to be more productive.

For a professional writer, productivity is determined primarily by self-governance and the ability to focus. We measure our productivity in terms of word count and pages written in a day along with the quality of what we write. Rather than live and die by the clock like most professions do, we`re slaves to document size.  

Rather than be told what to do in terms of tasks and duties, like most jobs, we writers must be in a perpetual state of creation. We have to pull words from our imagination and somehow group them together in a way that is engaging and at the very least, coherent.

Therefore, in order to create, we must make the space and time to allow ourselves to do so. As much as we may love the thrill and joy of writing, it does require mental strain to consistently conjure up words. Far too many writers hinder their creativity by not allowing themselves time to decompress. Space for yourself is needed in spite of the urge and panic of “being productive”.

That’s why it’s important you make time every day to be the opposite of productive. To do nothing mentally demanding. This even includes reading, because reading requires your brain to work. In other words, it’s necessary to be lazy.

How much time should you put into this non-activity?

30 minutes a day. 30 minutes is the optimal amount of time for your mind to decompress and recharge. Take a walk, nap, sit and watch mindless TV, browse the Internet. Just do something where your mind is on autopilot.

This seemingly wasteful time will provide two important things to optimize your writing.

1)      Give you a Break

Think of your brain like a muscle. You don`t work the same muscle, day in, day out without taking some kind of break, do you? Your brain needs brain-breaks too in order to function at its top performance level.

2)      Make You More Creative

By giving your brain needed rest, it will help you avoid writer’s fatigue and writer’s block. Practicing non-activity will also help alleviate stress, providing you separation from your work. A relaxed brain generates better quality content. 

Why I Do What I Do

I recently listened to Joe Rogan interview the very talented Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys. Several times in the Podcast, Rogan couldn’t help remarking how tremendous it was to hear someone so passionate about what they do. Auerbach adores making music. It’s in his soul. All day he long he gets to do what he loves. How great is that?

What we’re talking about here is passion. Passion is an incredible thing. Little kids have it when they play. My son has it and he’s a year and half old. How do I know this? Because when he starts playing with his “tet-tet” (his word for a train) nothing can distract him. Time seems to disappear.

Time disappears in a different way for people as they age. The exigencies of life force us to become “serious” and get a job. Jobs don’t engender passion. They’re what we have to do to participate in society. Unfortunately, if we are not careful, our passion can ebb and ebb until we are no longer in the present. We are merely fulfilling obligations. We are bereft of former passions.

I meditate every day. My instructor, Light Watkins, once taught me that after you are done repeating your mantra you should do something constructive to cool down for two minutes. I use my cool down period to say what I am grateful for. I always say to myself that I am grateful to be a writer. People have told me how refreshing it is to see someone so passionate about something that their enthusiasm feels contagious.

So why do I do what I do? Joy.

When I was a little kid, my “tet-tets” were Star Wars Action figures and G.I Joes. I loved story-telling. I used to make up elaborate tales about my toys which I would play out in real-time. That was my passion. As I got older, I planned my life so that I could continue telling stories. Like Auerbach, even if there was no paying attention, I would still do what I love. I would still write.

That’s how you know you’re passionate about something. What are you passionate about?

The Five Mistakes Fiction Writers Make and How to Avoid Them

This blog is from “FICTION IN A WEEKEND” brought to you by Alicia Dunams
— http://www.aliciadunams.com/askafictionwriter/

People often ask me if writing is hard. My answer is always this: “Yes, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Writing a novel, whether it’s a fantasy involving new worlds or a romance containing scintillating love scenes, can be a challenge. The key to not being overwhelmed when authoring your book is preparation and perseverance.

Here are five common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 Plunging into the Actual Writing with No Outline

Take it from someone who made the mistake (more than once!) of not creating an outline, you should ALWAYS structure one before beginning any writing. The rationale is analogous to building a home. It would be foolish not to draft a blueprint before initiating construction. The same mindset applies to writing a book. “Winging it” is a recipe for disaster.

Mistake #2 Not Thinking Through the Plot at the Outset

Similar to the preparations involved in outlining, you want to know where your story is going throughout. The more you map out each chapter before writing, the better prepared you will be to tackle the actual scenes you will eventually write. A good idea is to consider which character will be in each scene, the setting, and what each character will want as well as their obstacle(s).

Mistake #3 Creating Unsympathetic or Two-Dimensional Characters

Fiction readers want to fall in love with the characters they read about in books. Even the villains. It’s crucial to take the time to make your characters’ qualities as specific as possible so they feel real. Find reasons for your audience to empathize with your creations. Give them strengths, but don’t be hesitant to make them flawed too. Perfect characters are boring.

Mistake #4 Procrastination

Once you begin writing, don’t take time off. Breaks for more than a day or two at a time are detrimental to your success. Inertia can be a powerful force. Don’t put off your writing. Even if you hate every second of it, force yourself to do a certain amount every day until the work is done. You’ll feel incredibly satisfied when your book is finally complete!

Mistake #5 Failing to Follow a Consistent Writing Schedule

This relates to #4. Establishing daily goals is key. Set a quota, such a word, page or timer count and follow through with your program no matter what. Little milestones matter to your overall mental health. So long as you feel productive, you will stay productive. Even if you don’t think your work is outstanding yet, continue to make your quota. The most important thing is to get all the ideas out of your head and onto the page. You will have plenty of time to revise the material later. Once your first draft is finished, rewrite and rewrite it until it is perfect.

Then rewrite it again.

For more information related to this topic, click here: http://www.aliciadunams.com/askafictionwriter/

5 Tips for Writing Your First Book

This blog is part of a series of helpful pointers for fellow writers in the “The Six-Figure Writer” Community

I get this question a lot: “Is it hard to write a book?” It depends on what you wish to write. Writing a novel, especially a fantasy epic involving new worlds and a rich backstory, can be challenging. Writing a non-fiction book on the other hand, may require less conceptual imagining but more time-consuming research. The key to not being overwhelmed when penning either is preparation and perseverance. Below, please find some suggestions on how to begin your first book.

1. Always Create an Outline

Take it from someone who made the mistake (more than once) of not creating an outline, you should ALWAYS create one before beginning any writing. The rationale is analogous to building a home. It would be foolish not to draft a blueprint before initiating construction. The same mindset applies to writing a book. Simply “winging it” is a mistake. You want to know exactly where your story is going. The more you map out each chapter, the better prepared you will be to actually start writing.

2. Do the Heavy-Lifting at the Outset

Similar to the preparations involved in outlining, you want to tackle the taxing mental work upfront. I suggest front-loading each project with all the difficult aspects. The more prepared you are, the more you know your material, the better off you will be down the road. You want to make all the significant content choices as early as possible in the process so you don’t end up painting yourself into a corner later by not thinking things through first.

3. Leave Room for Innovation

The flip-side to suggestions #1 and 2. Know your book’s through-line or trajectory but don’t get (unnecessarily) bogged down in the specific details. Though it’s important to be highly prepared, you want to leave room for spontaneous creative bursts. Build in some room for flexibility.

4. Don’t Give Up

Once you begin writing, don’t take breaks for more than a day or two at a time. Inertia can be a powerful force. Don’t stop writing until you’ve completed your first draft. Even if you think what you’ve typed is not ideal, don’t halt. The most important thing is to get all the ideas out of your head and onto the screen (or paper if you’re oldschool.) You will have plenty of time to revise the material later.

5. Consider a Ghost-Writer or Writing Coach

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck. Depending on the ambitions for your project, perhaps bringing in a professional is a good idea. If the purpose of writing a book is to give your business credibility and it’s not your literary opus, then it is okay to acknowledge the fact that it was your idea, but you may need someone else to bring it to fruition.

There are many, many more tips to writing your first book. Please feel free to share yours. For more info and helpful resources, please visit the Six-Figure Writer Page.

 

3 Philosophical Concepts To Make You Look Smart

This blog is part of a series of helpful pointers for fellow writers in the “The Six-Figure Writer” Community

As a wordsmith you deal with ideas, not physical objects. A handyman, for instance, needs to know his way around a hammer. If he didn’t, you probably wouldn’t hire him to fix your door.

Likewise, a writer needs to be well-versed in concepts. It would be highly embarrassing to be in a creative meeting and not understand what’s being said. You could even lose a client if you are not well-versed on topics educated people are expected to know. Never fear, fellow writer. This primer explains three fundamental philosophical concepts to help you look smart.

1. Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Imagine a cave where prisoners are forced to work. Since birth, they have all been chained so their arms and legs are immobile. They are forced to look at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is a fire. The fire casts flickering shadows on the wall. Since the prisoners have never seen the flames, only their shadows, they assume the shadows to be real. They have no concept of the greater reality: that the fire exists and that the shadows are merely images.

What Plato is trying to say is that often times, human beings mistake illusions for reality.


How might we escape such limited thinking? In the story, one of the prisoners breaks free from his chains. He looks directly at the fire. It’s so bright, the illumination hurts his eyes. But as his eyes adjust, he comes to recognize reality’s true nature: there are (often unnoticed) primary causes that create our world. This prisoner helps the others to wake up from their delusions too by leading them out of the cave and into the enlightening brightness of the sun.

One of the most insightful attempts to explain the nature of reality, this metaphor is meant to describe the limited mental state of many human beings before reaching enlightenment.

2. Mind/Body Dualism or the Ghost in the Machine Debate

Rene Descartes (famous for saying, “I think, therefore, I am”) theorized that the body and mind were two separate entities. Thoughts exist on a different plane than the physical. Modern scientists disagree. They contend the brain is the physical thing inside controlling everything. The ongoing debates centers on this: how can thoughts (immaterial things) cause material things to occur?

3. Existentialism

Existentialism concerns the search for self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. Most people think that existentialism is only about moody intellectuals brooding about alienation, despair, and absurdity. However, this important movement was borne out of the angst of post-war Europe. The unifying idea is that individuals are seeking to discover who they are as they make personal choices. An existentialist believes each person must be responsible for his/her own actions without the need of laws, culture, or traditions.

For more information and helpful resources, please visit the The Six-Figure Writer Page.

“Big Magic” and the Provocative Theory of Ideas as Living Entities

Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book on inspiring creativity, Big Magic contains a startling notion. It is Gilbert’s unusual contention that ideas exist on this planet in the same way other sentient entities, such as humans, cats and bugs do. Unabashed in her assertion, Gilbert owns her words by suggesting not only does magic exist — but it exists in the same deliriously whimsical way that say, Hogwarts does.

So what are these disembodied entities Gilbert speaks of? Are they platonic ideals our earthly realm deigns to duplicate as droll but ultimately derivative facsimiles of the one true source? No. Ideas exist in the psychic sphere, beckoning us to bring them forth as physical manifestations. The only hindrance to their expression is our own creative will.

Gilbert speaks of inspiration in the same way the ancient Greeks used to talk about genius. People weren’t geniuses. They possessed a genius: an attendant inner spirit assigned to each person at birth. The modern conception of creativity usually features an individual tapping into the flow, “being in the zone.” A more alchemical, non-rational viewpoint such as Gilbert’s or even the teachings of Carlos Castaneda, would suggest that life is a lot weirder than we presently fathom. When we usher in ground-breaking concepts from the deep recesses of our unconsciousness, we are not so much plucking proto-thought forms from the Idea Tree, we are actually summoning forth ideas as beings.

Likening ideas to freewheeling Jinns evokes a kind of pleasing fairy tale aspect to the creative process. It suggests that powerful thoughts have a kind of plasticity and can flitter in and out of people’s heads, symbiotically interacting with their hosts. If the person is willing to put in the necessary time and focus towards manifesting the idea, then the entity will remain loyal, whispering in their ear sweet nothings until both the creator and the created are validated by the effort. Likewise, an idea not nourished, not lovingly wrought, will engender nothing corporeal and will assuredly dissipate into the ether before passing to the next willing collaborator.

Such unusual meditations on creativity’s nature will assuredly inflame critics eager to denounce anything smacking so highly of the suspect mystic. But even those ideas have their rightful place if we are to consider Gilbert’s provocative notion. More interesting than that old debate is the pragmatic implication. Do we dare birth heart-stopping ideas when they playfully dance on the edges of our dreams? Shall we take the lead of fearless thinkers, like Copernicus, two-stepping with alien thoughts and thus birthing our Heliocentric cosmology? Shall we shrink from the sight of wild new economic paradigms? Groundbreaking artistic forms? Divergent new modes of existing?

One last thing. Gilbert points out that what makes humans so special is our ability to be creative. Excavated works of art predate practical antiquities by thousands and thousands of years. That means the primal urge towards creativity was far more pressing than the rigors of farming and livestock domestication. We were put here to be creative. Let’s find ways to live up to that ideal.

You'll Never Guess How Many Words These Authors Type a Day

Daily word count is a daily concern for me. As a writer with my company specializing in written content, it’s my job to be prolific. If I don’t knock enough words every day, I don’t earn a living.

The good news is I have multiple ongoing projects that require my literary services. Not only do I have retainer accounts that pay me every month for content, I have been commissioned to ghost-write several books. Additionally, I am paid to coach other aspiring writers pen their own material. I’m not telling you this information to brag about how much work I’ve got lined up. I mention it to demonstrate the practical reality of a working writer juggling creativity with commerce. Ultimately, my daily output predicts how well I am managing my responsibilities to my clients.

In recent months, I have been averaging 3,000 words a day in order to not fall behind on my work schedule.

An important caveat here: When I say I write 3,000 words a day, this refers to days when I am strictly batching for writing. What does that mean?

Well, as an entrepreneur whose business is dependent on relationships, I must do many other things besides writing. I attend networking events, meet with (potential) clients, and of course, invoice and do all the boring paper work stuff. Therefore, there are “catch up” days when I do not put in 3,000 words. I may write 2,000 words on these days. Then on the days in which I batch writing, I actually write 6,000 to 8,000 words. You see how this averages out?

One more thing- when I mention these numbers, they refer to first draft-writing. The object of this practice is to figuratively vomit all my ideas onto the page so I can edit the material later. For me, the hard part when writing is always the initial draft. That’s why I try to write quickly. The fun part is editing all that goop later.

Okay, so enough about my output. Let’s look at some other authors. The idea behind supplying you these numbers is to help you see where you land on the scale of productivity. And before someone writes in to tell me it’s all about quality, not quantity, let it be known I agree.

But all those soon-to-be quality words have to come from somewhere first.

 Barbara Kingsolver: 1,000

Ernest Hemingway: 500

Jack London: 1,500

Jon Creasey: 6,000

Mark Twain: 1,400

Maya Angelou: 2,500

Norman Mailer: 3,000

R.F. Delderfield: 10,000

Stephen King: 2,000

W. Somerset Maugham: 1,000

This article first appeared on The Six-Figure Writer website. Click here for your copy of the book.

What Happens When You Stop Writing Alone

This blog is part of a series of helpful pointers for fellow writers in the “The Six-Figure Writer” Community

When you think of a WRITER what mental image comes to mind? Is it a person alone hunched over their computer typing away? Emphasis in that last sentence on the word “alone.” The archetype of a writer is an introvert. Popular depictions of writers depict a solitary individual working in isolation. Though that reality may be true for certain writers (at certain times), a strong case may be made that some of the best writing occurs in collaboration. I’d like to give you an example.

Soon after graduating my master screenwriting program, I begin collaborating with Charles D. Borg, a fellow screenwriter from Chapman University. Together, we “beat out” our story ideas, talking over every aspect of a script from theme, to dialogue, to characters. Then we wrote each screenplay together. It was an amazingly beneficial experience for both of us.

Right now, I’d like to go over some reasons why you too should consider partnering up with other writers to achieve greater levels of success.

1. Conceptual Help

Whether dreaming up a screenplay, a fictional book or a non-fictional guide, it doesn’t hurt to have someone you can bounce ideas off of. To me, the most challenging aspect of writing is creating the broad picture or concept that will eventually be captured through an outline. Having another person to discuss and figure out your big idea can be helpful. Together, you can refine and polish your approach until you feel happy with the material.

2. Real-time Responses

Charles and I wrote many comedic TV and Feature scripts together. Unlike other genres, such as drama, comedy is easily measurable based on the visceral human reaction. Essentially, I could tell if something was working if my writing partner laughed aloud. The feedback was instantaneous and helpful. Regardless if you are writing comedy, though, receiving another person’s reaction can save you time. You know right away if you are headed in the right direction or not.

3. Reduced Workload

This may sound obvious but it’s important to recognize. Being able to split the work amongst a collaborator should be one of the prime motivators of writing together. Though some writers are of the mind that it only counts if you are the only person responsible for the material, I beg to differ. There are monetary benefits of sharing the workload. You can produce more content quicker, allowing you to take on more assignments and thus earn more pay.

Author’s note: Charles D. Borg operates his own screenwriting analysis and development company @ http://www.smashtoconsulting.com/. Contact him for outstanding script coverage or to write your screenplay.  

For more information and helpful resources, please visit the The Six-Figure Writer Page.

 

  

Great New Interview about our company...

What would your customers say they love most about your business?

We hear all the time they love our attention to detail. Our anchor clients are those individuals who hire me to ghostwrite their books. The feedback I have received so far is that they are tremendously happy about how I manage to channel their thoughts when writing.

I deal with very personal stories that require significant research and I like to think that because I am an empathetic person, I am able to tap into their feelings, hopes, and desires as well as capture their unique voice. Our clients report being continually amazed by how I manage to convey what they wish to say in their own words.

Click here for the full interview with the outstanding Parisa Houshangi of Keller Williams.