Me: So, when you were writing songs, were there any rules you adhered to? Things like chord structures, progressions - things like that?
Jon Anderson (from Yes): No. Some of us knew that stuff. For most of us, we just did what felt right. What felt real to us in that moment.
Paul Westerberg (from the Replacements): What are you talking about??? Rules? We never paid attention to rules. There were times when we played a song six different ways on six different days.
Steve Chandler (an awesome coach): Write the book you'd want to read. Don't pay attention to the way you're supposed to do it. Leave the shoulds behind...
Me: Thanks guys. Thanks for reminding me to write what's real for me. That goes for writing books, posts and music.
The above "paper conversation" was yet another exercise in the Accidental Genius by Mark Levy. While my writing over the past couple days may seem a bit like a book report, I find that the best way to put new ideas into practice is to put them into action. I'd recommend that for anyone committed to change. And I do it here in the hope that my attempts at these things might help you if you're looking for new approaches.
But to the point of the conversation above, over the past few weeks I've gotten a bit caught up in whether there's a "right way" to write. I think this may come from being a musician. I've known since my early days of learning music that there are chord structures, progressions and melodies that work - simply put, they're pleasing to the ear. And there are plenty of books and articles out there about the right formula for writing an article or book that connects with the audience. For example, a typical how-to for writing is "Start with a Grabber". A grabber could be a shocking or inspirational quote, a brief story or something like "These are the top 5 mistakes people make when...". I have no doubt these things do have a wide appeal and can get the attention of a reader. I may even do them from time to time.
Anyway, don't get caught up in the identities of the people I'm talking to in my paper conversation. Suffice to say they're musicians and a professional coach that I have a ton of respect for and admire. More importantly, they're what I would call Originals. They do what they do in a way that leads and doesn't follow whether it's with the music they're written or the coaching they're offered and books they've written. Holding this little conversation was my way of reminding myself and you of one of my favorite sayings:
Don't be the next (fill in the blank with someone you want to be like). Be the first and best version of you.
Simply put: Be an Original