I am in the lightning business

Mark Twain once said that the difference between a word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

I am in the lightning business. It’s a business where words have the power to illuminate, electrify and change what people think and do. And when those words are crafted together – sentence after sentence, idea after idea – to tell a story, then they create a valued experience in a person’s life. Whether it’s a short blog, a long resume or a seminal book, the selection, order, form, color, sound and feel of each word is an opportunity for the reader’s senses to discover, experience and understand your story. Anything less, and it’s just more noise and blather in the ether.

If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. (Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936)

Fast, cheap and predictable is NOT what you want in your writing (photo: top10list.com)

Writing is not the fast food business

There’s nothing wrong with the fast food business, it’s fast, cheap and predictable, but it’s not out to change peoples’ minds or move businesses. But stories do. At least good stories do. And if minds don’t change and businesses don’t move, what’s the point of the story?

Why do we think that we can just homogenize thoughts and ideas into a gaggle of words and straggled them out in straight lines across a page and get someone to pay attention? Oh, they might read some of it, maybe all of it, but do they absorb it? Get it? Feel it? Believe it? Want to do something? If they don’t, then you wasted their time and yours.

Writing is not about piling information on top of information and assuming people will  care. Writing is about telling a story, which has valuable information in it. And it’s not about what you want to say, it’s about what they want to hear.

Great storytelling wins, every time. The reason O. J. Simpson got off in his murder trial was that Johnnie Cochran told a better story than Marcia Clark.

We are inundated with information and gobbledygook but we seldom hear a good story. Stories are at the center of all experience and indispensable in people’s lives and decision-making. Too often, the people responsible for creating blogs, articles, resumes, reports, and executive summaries, forget that it is a story, presented in a particular “voice” with a clear purpose and promise. If it is to be heard above the din, feel better than the rest, and understood by the audience, then it needs to be told by a good storyteller.

Chief storyteller and ghostwriter

Everything is a story. And every story is a human expression that requires clear thoughts that need to be turned into the right words and crafted into an emotional and practical understanding of what you want to say. That is what a chief storyteller does.

A blog is a blog is a blog until it is written well (photo: seopher.com)

Your blog

The data-mining of the web reduces individual human expression to a primitive, retrograde activity. (Jaron Lanier, from his book You Are Not A Gadget)

There are millions of blogs. And a blog is a blog is a blog, until it is well written. The good ones, the effective ones, are as well written as a bestselling book and are as interesting, entertaining and informative as the best news, documentary and movie – combined.

Writing a blog is about great journalism in the midst of a black, roiling thunderstorm. You need lightning.

How you say it is as important as what you say!

Life is a pitch: Your proposal and presentation

You win, you lose. You go forward, you go back. You don’t get a second chance to make that first impression. Great proposals and  presentations can always be boiled down to one – at the most three – points. And if those  gems are buried in a pile of facts, figures and findings then you risk losing. Well written proposals and well structured presentations significantly increase your chances of achieving your goal. Writing them is an art – especially the executive summary. As some one once said, “Life is a pitch.”

Executive summary

Can a thousand pages be summarized in ten? A hundred in five? Ten in one? Yes, it can be done. No matter how outstanding the content, if the summary does not capture the power, the conviction, the essence and the merit of the idea, the value of the content is greatly diminished.

Resumes work for the herd and the hordes – is that you?

Your resume

Resumes may work for the herds and the hordes but is that you? Resumes are nothing more than a homogenized walk through a swamp of information, an itinerary of where you’ve been, which says very little about who you really are.

I write personal profiles – the real story about you, in your voice. Of course, it contains all the requisite information but more importantly, it presents a real-life glimpse of the real you. You are not your resume. So why would you ever depend on it to get you in the door, let alone in the position and career you want? Sometimes you only get one shot so you need to be compelling. Grab them by the lapels, look them in the eye and tell them your story. They don’t have much time and they won’t give you much time, unless you make it persuasive and convincing. That’s what your story in a Personal Profile does.

Allow me to explain the power of Profiles.

Your article

A writer’s world is lived in the world of rewriting. John Maynard Keynes used to say that he did not start the serious business of writing until the galleys were returned from the printer. Today, they would be digital files but the principle is the same. Great articles and essays are created in the rewriting and when you, the author, is not a professional writer, or does not have the necessary time, the ghostwriter is invaluable. From a quick edit to a complete creation, I ghostwrite business articles, personal stories and essays.

When you want what you write to matter, we should talk.