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Popping Popcorn: 5 Lessons About Yesterday's Blog Post (119/365)

"But I don't want to be a writer, I only want to be a ..."

- You and I both

Yesterday, I wrote 5 Writing Lessons From a Best Selling Author (118/365) after an unexpected personalized Twitter masterclass, an exchange of tweets with Bryan Eisenberg.

While our conversation focused on writing, I woke up today thinking, what if a reader thinks, "But I don't want to be a writer, I only want to be a ..."?

The good news? The 5 lessons may be applied to nearly any field, either personal or professional. If you are a family member, parent, or community member, or in the education field), work with students, colleagues, or parents (as a teacher or administrator, for example, these lessons may be for you. In another field where it's expected that you articulate your thoughts, serve others or work as a member of a team, these lessons may be for you.

The key: Swap out some key terms. Then watch what happens.

Think of your role in either a personal or professional capacity, one that's part of your identity, who you or, whether or not you are actively engaged in that role at any moment.

Now reread the lessons from the prior post:

Here are the 5 lessons:

  1. Write early and often. Stop when necessary.

  2. When a New York Times Best Selling Author asks you questions, answer them. And get ready to learn.

  3. Write for them (the audience), not for me (the author).

  4. Zoom in. Write small and write specific.

  5. To find out what people want, ask them good questions.

I've noted the action-oriented terms to draw attention to them These are the terms to swap out, in exchange for more specific ones, pertaining to your specific role, your identity as anything but a writer.

Let's say, in your role as either family member (spouse, parent, child) or as professional (I will use teacher or administrator here), or community member writing doesn't apply to you.

Is it important for you to be able to effectively:

  • Communicate with others?

  • Work with others?

  • Be receptive to acquiring new knowledge or a new skill?

  • Aid someone else's growth as a learner?

  • Build, maintain, or repair a relationship, in order to achieve any and all of the above?

Choose a key word from the questions above is your focus, the one that may be leveraged to create opportunity and impact on a relationship, that will result in positive outcomes.

Now plug that word into the lessons.

For example:

If I am a teacher, and I'm thinking about helping my students succeed and thrive in the class I teach, I may choose the word communicate. (This one was important, even crucial, to my effectiveness as a classroom teacher for the first ten years of my career.)

With my students in mind, this is what my lessons will look like:

  1. [Communicate/Clarify/Explore/Apply new strategies/Follow up] early and often. Stop when necessary.

  2. When a [child/adolescent/young adult/learner/student] asks [me] questions, answer them. And get ready to learn.

  3. [Communicate/Clarify/Explore/Apply new strategies/Follow up] for them [the students], not for me [the teacher].

  4. Zoom in. [Communicate/Clarify/Explore/Apply new strategies/Follow up] small and [Communicate/Clarify/Explore/Apply new strategies/Follow up] specific.

  5. To find out what [students] want, ask them good questions.

And now, a few good questions to ask yourself:

  • How does applying this idea change yesterday's post? Does it change my viewpoint, my perspective?

  • Is it more meaningful and relevant? Why?

  • Does it bring focus to my purpose as an educator? How?

  • How is it helpful? In what ways is it helpful to me and helpful to those I aim to help?

One thing remains consistent, from yesterday's post to today's follow-up post:

The key is still, asking good questions.

Whether you're writing, or rereading the post and exchanging the word writing for one more relevant to your purpose, generating and asking questions is a lot like making popcorn.

(Credit: Bryan Eisenberg.)

What makes a tub of popcorn even better? Sharing it with others to enjoy with us.

Click here to visit the Learning Leadership 365 site, where you may read all posts I've written.


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