5 Ways Gamification Can Transform Your Writing

5 Ways Gamification Can Transform Your Writing via KLWightman.com
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Does your writing need a jolt? A shake-up? Anything to make it fun again?

So you’re not writing, but it’s not because you don’t like to write anymore. You wouldn’t take the time to read this blog post if writing is just a hobby that’s fading from your life. You’ve just reached that phase of writing we all hit from time to time: writer’s block.

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My NaNoWriMo Round 3: Week 1

My NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Round 3: Week 1
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My NaNoWriMo Round 3: Week 1

Credit: erinmorgenstern.com

It’s every writer’s favorite month: NaNoWriMo-vember.

For the past few years, I’ve dedicated November to ramping up on my creative writing projects and documenting my progress on my blog. 2015 won’t be any different.

Well, that’s not true.

The first year of my version of NaNoWriMo, I committed to these solid rules:

  1. I choose one writing project to be my focus.
  2. I write at least 10 pages each week.
  3. I blog each week in November about my progress.

Last year, I stuck by the rules and made some serious progress on my full-length play. And as I recently reported back, I finished writing that play.

But this year’s going to be different.

I’m changing the rules. It’s not because I need the crutch. Instead, I need the new direction in order to set my writing up for success.

Before last year’s NaNoWriMo, I spent all summer outlining character arcs and plot structure for my play. When November came around, jumping into my writing project went smoothly. In fact, it was easy to go back to writing the play everyday with eager excitement.

That’s what my next writing project needs.

I could write 10+ pages on it every week and make physical progress. But that’s not the best use of my November.

In an ideal world, all of this outlining would’ve happened last summer. But it didn’t.

So for this NaNoWriMo, I’m dividing my time between two pursuits:

  1. Outlining character backstories, character arcs and plot structure
  2. Submitting my full-length play to playhouses and theatre opportunities

My goals for each weekly pursuit won’t stay consistent. I plan to state my goals in each blog post and reporting back the following week with my progress, my successes, my failures and my new goals.

My Week 1 goals are:

  1. Outline backstory for one character
  2. Submit my play to three opportunities

(If I can find the time, I’ll try to also bring back the mini road trips to the mix like last year.)

How are you spending your NaNoWriMo time this November? Share your goals below.

My Writing Adventures: An Update

My Writing Adventures: An Update
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My Writing Adventures: An Update

Credit: magnetgeniusmachine.com

I’m very excited to share with you all that has recently happened in my writing career. It’s only fair that I not only share tips of the creative writing and content marketing world but also give you a glimpse of what goes on for the writer behind the blog post.

You’re Looking At The New Content Marketing Manager

That’s right. Next week, I start as the Content Marketing Manager at Nutshell CRM. After uprooting my life from the Southwest, I’ll be packing my bags again for Ann Arbor.

Downtown Ann Arbor

Credit: omnilexica.com

In a nutshell (see what I did there?), Nutshell is a web and mobile customer relationship management (CRM) service for small businesses and sales collaboration.

Nutshell CRM

Credit: nutshell.com

How do I fit in the mix? I get to work my content marketing magic while working with an innovative, energetic and goal-driven team.

Nutshell CRM team

Doesn’t this look like a fun team?

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

I Finished Writing My Manuscript

For those who follow my version of NaNoWriMo, I focused November on writing my first full-length play. I didn’t finish writing it in November, but I also didn’t stop then either. After 120 pages, I completed my first draft.

Blackout. The End. End of My Play Manscript.

My three favorite words…

I’ve gone through it several times, edited, revised, rewrote, reread and repeat.

For the last several months, I have submitted my new play to theatres across the country. And I’m sure I’ll be submitting it to even more places and I’m sure I’ll have to go back into the manuscript with a red pen.

But that’s the writing process, right?

So, What Should You Expect Next?

October is going to be a busy month for me. I’ll be hitting the ground running at my new place of work while making new friends in my new city.

November’s just around the corner, so you can expect round 3 of my version of NaNoWriMo. October will be dedicated to outlining the scope of my next writing project so that I can launch into it on November 1.

In the meanwhile, you can count on finding a new blog post here every Monday.

What news do you have to share about your writing career or writing projects? Share the news below.

Keeping Marketing Copy Consistent

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The first mistake I made as a marketing assistant was on my first assignment.  I was in charge of creating the copy for the events spread in the upcoming alumni magazine.  I spent hours scavenging the college website and marketing handouts, and even more hours writing up event descriptions.  I was a creative writer, and I wanted the most creative take on the upcoming galleries and plays.

 

I was fortunate to have an understanding boss.  She kindly told me to erase what I put down and to insert the already-existing marketing copy for each event that I found online and in print.

 

Fixing my mistake only took an hour.  And I never made that mistake again.

 

Marketing has refined the art of consistent copy.  Businesses, campaigns, and brands are recognized by one slogan, one jingle, one mascot, one graphic, one font, and one font color.

 

But why is consistent copy so important?

 

It’s like training a puppy how to sit.  The owner makes a sitting hand gesture (or moves the puppy’s rear into sitting position) and says “sit” in a commanding tone whenever s/he wants the puppy to sit.  A puppy isn’t equipped with the English language, so the puppy won’t make the connection right away between “sit” and actually sitting.

 

Until one day, the puppy has a non-English thought: If I sit down when I hear “sit,” then I get a treat.

 

And then the puppy sits!

 

The owner had quicker success teaching the puppy how to sit because s/he used the same word each time.  If the owner decided to switch it up by saying, “sit,” “take a seat,” “pop a squat,” and “plop down” every other try, the puppy who is already confused by English will never make an effort to learn to sit.

 

Consistent copy in marketing works the same way.

 

Here’s an example.  Every Wednesday, you find a QRST Pizza postcard in your mailbox (it doesn’t yet exist, but perhaps this example will be an inspiration).  It is the same size postcard that has the same red font, same logo that makes a pizza out of a Q, same slogan (“Quality Romano, Sauce, & Toppings!”), and same $2 off a large pizza coupon.

 

Every week this postcard gets tossed.

 

But on the seventh Wednesday, as you’re walking to your mailbox, you suddenly get a huge craving for pizza.  Your stomach is growling just at the thought of quality Romano, sauce, and toppings.  Where have you heard that before?  That’s right, QRST Pizza!  Now what pops into your head are the pizza Q logo, the red font, and the QRST slogan.  You sure wished you kept that coupon.

 

But there it is again in your mailbox.  And this time you use the postcard.

 

What if QRST Pizza printed a different font and font color, drawn a different pizza Q logo, or scribbled up a new slogan on each postcard?  Would you have remembered them as easily?  Would you have remembered them at all?

 

Consistent copy is easy to remember.  Companies don’t do this because the customer is stupid but because the customer is efficient.  We like mantras to chant, catchy jingles to sing, acronyms to recite, and mascots to root for.  And we like reciting these when we have a demand for that company.

 

Like for QRST Pizza.  Quality Romano, Sauce, & Toppings!

 

Consistent copy is easy to pass along.  When a friend says they have a need for pizza, you are able to pass along the name and the slogan as well as the font and the logo on the sign in front of the store.  Consistent copy makes the passing of information quick and effortless.

 

And then your friend orders a pizza.  Or attends a college play.