coffee + content [round up]

Well hey, there…grab your cuppa + cozy up! You’ve landed on coffee + content, a bi-weekly round up of great content I’ve stumbled upon that make for interesting reads/views over my Sunday morning coffee. Got a great piece of content you’d like shared? Throw it in the comments below — but be sure to also share others’! Cheers.

coffee + content: a roundup of reads on real talk, WordPress, being “authentic” + more

When it comes to real talk…

Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette: This is up there as one of my favorite podcasts to listen to on my daily walks because of the unscripted, casual, but deeply insightful conversations that Nicole has with her (incredible) guests. My top episodes so far: Paul Jarvis, Alexandra Franzen, and Ash Ambirge. Maybe because they’re three of my entrepreneur idols; maybe because they’re just genuinely awesome. I’ve got loads more to listen to, and can’t wait.

When it comes to what makes your blog tick…

nerd alert from tiny blue orange: What do you get when you put a total WordPress pro together with a super nerd? One of my favorite online people to follow: Alison Monday of tiny blue orange. I’ve got a serious crush (okay, and reliance) on her nerd alert column, where she shares DIY tutorials (and more) for WordPress. Those enviable branded social sharing icons you see at the bottom of this post? Yeah, I have Alison to thank for that.

When it comes to being a (strong) female…

A Story of a Fuck Off Fund: This is what I want every girl, every where to read, so I’ll just leave it right here, where Paulette Perhach says it perfectly: “You want to be, no, you will be the kind of woman who can tell anyone to fuck off if a fuck off is deserved…”

When it comes to being “authentic”…

The dark side of voice: authenticity vs. sensitivity: “Authenticity” is little more than a buzzword these days, but the meaning behind it stands: In life and in your writing, it’s important to do you. Yet, there is a line — especially when you’re running a business. Abbey at Life and Writing shares the risk of using the “Friend at the Bar” voice, and what you can learn from AppSumo’s mistake.

When it comes to doing business…

11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business: An oldie, but goodie: I read this post from Stephanie St. Claire for the first time a few years ago, right when I started freelancing, and I’ve had it bookmarked ever since. Each time I re-read it, it seems I’ve learned one the lessons I could’ve just taken from her all that time ago. Do I think we need to experience these things to really learn? Yes, most of the time. Do I think it’s still worth reading other people’s riffs on their experiences? Double yes.

When it comes to reading…

Currently midway through: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Currently midway through: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Finished: The More of Less by Joshua Becker
On deck, in the life department: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

When it comes to inspiration…

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

[Photo cred: UserThink]

Note: Links within the coffee + content series may or may not result in me receiving an affiliate commission. My promise to you: I’ll only include affiliate links for resources that I truly feel can help you + your biz.

Why writing is (and isn’t) just like riding a bike

Why Writing Is (and Isn't) Just Like Riding a Bike

I’m an avid cyclist. Okay, let’s be serious: I’m an aspiring avid cyclist. I love the idea of traversing the city roads on my bike or trekking off across the country with just my bike and a backpack, but in reality, my cycling is limited to local bike paths, a few longer rides up to Lake Ontario, and one (super important) big ride per year.

Amid concerns of drivers who aren’t really paying attention, neighbors who like to throw their lawn clippings in the bike lane, and a sincere fear of being the upper-20s “adult” who still falls off her bike because she forgets her feet are clipped in (cough, cough), I do think of other things while I’m riding.

I think about what I’m reading. I think about how great the wind feels. I think about what it would be like to live in a place where I could commute by bike year round. I think about how hungry I am. And, because it’s impossible not to, I think about business and the omnipresent brainstorm that never stops in my head when it comes to solopreneurship.

And, finally, I think about how we so casually use the phrase “it’s just like riding a bike” when we’re persuading someone that they can do something or that they should try something. With that motto cycling through my head (see what I did there? #nerdalert), it naturally got me thinking — can we say that for writing?

Is the art of writing “just like riding a bike?” Can it be?

So this week, I took to the spin bike (it was raining here), and here’s what I came up with:

Why writing is “just like riding a bike”

The old adage “just like riding a bike” comes from the fact that despite there being a learning curve, once you’ve learned to ride a bike, you can walk away from it for weeks, months, — even years at a time, and hop back on and start cruising naturally.

In that sense, writing is much like riding a bike. Once you’ve learned to write, you never forget how to write. At any given moment, you can sit down and put pen to paper or fill a blank canvas on a screen with type.

If you’re saying “I’m not a writer” in your head right now, I’m going to urge you to delete that phrase from your vernacular for the rest of your life. I’m a firm believer that we are all born writers. Yes, the talent permeates some more than others, but if you’re literate, you are a writer. And, much like riding a bike, once a writer, always a writer.

But that’s about where the similarities cease. In most ways, writing is nothing like riding a bike.

Why writing can never be said to be “just like riding a bike”

Aside from the fact that I don’t have to worry about distracted drivers when I’m writing, or falling off my chair (except that week I used the stability ball), there are two very prominent reasons why I don’t believe that writing is anything like riding a bike.

1. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Becoming a better writer is as simple as showing up. Write for 15-30 minutes per day, and you’ll strengthen your writing. Write more? Get even better. Once you’ve learned to ride a bike, there’s not much you can do to improve upon that skill (besides remembering that your shoes are clipped in and reducing the number of times you tip over).

With writing, though, the improvement never ends. A dedicated writer gets better with each word written, and each word read. Strengthening your craft is an endless pursuit. (And very, very rewarding.)

2. The aches, pains, and bruises endured when learning to ride a bike go away.

Learning to ride a bike can be downright painful. There are a lot of forces in motion, and it takes practice to coordinate pedaling, braking, and turning. But here’s the thing — once you’ve outgrown the training wheels and learned to balance? You’ve got it. You take a few spills, but then learn to stay upright. You get a few black and blue knees, maybe a broken wrist, but that’s all a part of learning. Once riding becomes second nature, the aches, pains, and bruises stop.

With writing, they never go away. (Pause, for dramatic effect.) Even the best writers have days where they just plain feel beat up. Nothing’s working; the words won’t come; the copy doesn’t feel right. It’s a never-ending rollercoaster of metaphorical aches and pains. And it never ends. Writer’s block, a lack of confidence, that voice inside your head telling you your writing isn’t good enough? Those pains creep back up whenever they please.

Why writing is worth it

We stick with the trials and tribulations of learning to ride a bike because we know it’s worth it. There’s nothing quite like a two-wheeled journey when you’re a kid — to a friend’s house, to get ice cream, just to get away. That doesn’t go away as an adult.

The same goes for writing. The rewards of being able to put together the perfect verse, craft the most compelling story, and articulate your message clearly keep increasing as your writing improves.

Stick with it friends. Though writing is hardly like riding a bike, I promise you it’s worth it.

Oh — and in two weeks, I’ll be clipping in those pedals and riding 65 miles to kick cancer’s ass. Want to help me do just that? Head here to make a donation (every dollar counts!), and click to tweet this message to help me spread the word. I can’t thank you enough.

PS: If you need a little kick in the pants? Watch this: an inspirational message for kids everywhere trying to learn to ride a bike. Call me crazy, but his message resonates for writers, too. Thumbs up for rock ‘n roll!

[Photo cred: UsersThink]

coffee + content [round up]

Well hey, there…grab your cuppa + cozy up! You’ve landed on coffee + content, a bi-weekly round up of great content I’ve stumbled upon that make for interesting reads/views over my Sunday morning coffee. Got a great piece of content you’d like shared? Throw it in the comments below — but be sure to also share others’! Cheers.

coffee + content: a roundup of reads on being a writer, doing business, learning CSS + more

When it comes to being a writer…

26 Obvious Signs You’re a Writer: #1 on this list: “You keep a journal and pen by your bed — you know, for those middle-of-the-night bursts of inspiration.” Check. #26: “You write. As simple as that.” Check. I nodded along to nearly every one of these — and the GIFs added a laugh, too. If you’re a writer (even if you don’t like to admit it), this one’s for you. (Love how this was modeled after our “You Know You’re a Solopreneur When…” roundup over on One Woman Shop.)

When it comes to creativity + entrepreneurship…

Reconciling Your Creativity and Your Identity with Chase Jarvis: It took me three walks to listen to this 74-minute episode of The Unmistakable Creative in its entirety, and I’m not going to lie: I’ll probably listen again. From entrepreneurship to education and creativity to writing your own story, Chase Jarvis has an incredible amount of insight. The cornerstone of the interview is a thought I’ll be post-it noting soon: “This is the first time in the history of the world where the risky thing is to do the traditional thing.”

When it comes to what makes your blog tick…

What is CSS? A Beginner’s Guide for Bloggers: If you’re like me, you have a working knowledge of HTML, but get stopped short when it comes to CSS. Yet, there’s been more than one occasion where you so wish you could tweak that stylesheet on your website. For this, I turn to Marianne at Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog, who’s a pro at making programming digestible for bloggers. Her beginner’s guide to CSS has a cheat sheet I reference all.of.the.time.

When it comes to doing business…

22 Creative + Surprising Ways to Show Your Business Community: “I LOVE YOU AND I’M HAPPY YOU ARE HERE.” I absolutely love being a daymaker — but it can be overwhelming to think of ways to show gratitude in your business that don’t a.) take up a whole day, or b.) cost an arm and a leg. That’s why I love lists like Melissa Cassera’s here, that remind me that simple notes, tweeting a coffee, and delivering ice cream are easy ways to say thank you.

When it comes to marketing…

What Marketing Can Learn from the Most Outstanding Meal I’ve Ever Had: This isn’t just another “What XX Can Learn from XX…” post. Okay, well, maybe it is. But…it’s Ann Handley (a content genius) and she’s giving the inside scoop on how a top restaurant, Maaemo, in Oslo, Norway, manages to pull off an epic experience that we can all learn from when it comes to running and marketing a business. (Disclaimer: Don’t read this when you’re hungry.)

When it comes to reading…

Currently midway through: The More of Less by Joshua Becker
Currently midway through: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
On deck, in the life department: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
On deck, in the biz department: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

When it comes to inspiration…

“I read hungrily and delightedly, and have realized since that you can’t write unless you read.” – William Trevor

[Photo cred: Unsplash]

Note: Links within the coffee + content series may or may not result in me receiving an affiliate commission. My promise to you: I’ll only include affiliate links for resources that I truly feel can help you + your biz.

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