On a very snowy Saturday morning one January, I braved the frozen tundra and headed for my first Philly Social Media Moms (#PSMM) workshop. Since I’ve decided to put alot more effort into my freelance career I decided that I needed to attend more workshops to hone my skills.
And honing we did.
Taught by the enigmatic CecilyK of Uppercase Woman the writing workshop reminded me of skills I hadn’t practiced purposefully since college, which, since I’m 27, was like, last year.
PammyPam is, of course, the perfect student so I took a few notes.
I also took a few photos, which can be seen here and here (see below).
Cecily’s most obvious writing tip is this: “the best way to become a writer is to WRITE.” Well, aside from this most obvious advice, many of us wonder if we really are writers. Cecily suggests that if you write for seven hours a week, then you are a writer.
That said, if you consider yourself a writer or are aiming to become a writer, here are a few tips to improve your writing.
- Kill your internal editor. It’s hard but it does not deserve your time.
- Write what Cecily calls morning pages. Write three pages worth by hand with a pen. No corrections, no editing, just get it all out and write forward. It clears the deck and your internal editor.
- Your writing needs a beginning a middle and an end. Everything needs an end: tweets, blogging, interviews, etc.
- Leave out what doesn’t matter.
- Say the most with the fewest words. Why? The average blog post peple are willing to read is 350-450 words. So, you have to be concise and get your point across.
- Your story is your version of truth, not someone else’s which means that everything has a touch of memoir. When telling a story, hone down the rough edgs. You don’t have to tell every single detail for people to get the feeling.
- When you write from the heart, your story becomes both beautiful and universal. Tell people how youre feeling. This will involve letting go of your fear (of being vulnerable and visible/opaque??) and allow your writing to become beautiful and universal.
The second exercise was a six word short story and the example we were given was one written by Hemmingway: For sale baby shoes never worn. I found this exercise to be challenging and couldn’t do it, however, when I tweeted about it, someone pointed out that my tweet was six words!
The third exercise was a 25 word short story, title included. I found this exercise to be easier. Editing was allowed.
The final exercise was writing our own bio, keeping it brief: fifty words. We were told to “Think about our bio as telling a story of you. Answer some whys. Tell who you are” Many of us found this difficult because we had to brag about ourselves, which Cecily insisted was ok. It should be a call to action to YOU.
We learned that a good place to place our bio is on a site called about.me.
After writing our bios, Cecily personally offered constructive criticism for each of us!
Pam is an educator librarian who is drawn to the little ones. In her purse you’ll find a cup of coffee, a book, and her iPhone. She loves social media, writing book reviews, and curating children’s literature. She is an information specialist, maven, connector.
This was my Cecily-fied version. She told me that she thought I was funny (YAY!!!) and that needed to show more, hence the “in her purse” portion that I added.
Such a wealth of knowledge and personality she is. It was the best time!
I look forward to attending more Philly Social Media Moms events. Real Soon.