An entry into a diary I kept when I was 13

Dear diary, the last time I wrote in you I was a boy,
now I’m a man

I remember when you’d meet a 27 year old,
you’d think they were so big and scary

Big, scary, prepared,
with all their shit together

But, now I’m here, I can tell you that
deep down
I’m still you

Still a little bit lost,
still a little bit ready for adventure
still wide-eyed when exciting things happen

You know those things you worried about?

Zits and bullies and not being as clever as everyone
else?

Well, I’ve got good news,
in the end nothing you’re worrying about right now matters

But, what does matter is the lessons you learnt from them,
they made you feel inadequate yet also resilient

And that feeling of inadequacy will cheer you on to do
better things than you ever thought possible

And that resilience will mean you can roll with the punches,
while others find it hard to get back to their feet

I’m still you, you’re still me,
and wherever we go there we’ll be

The last time I wrote in you I was a boy,
this time I’m a man

Perhaps next time I write I’ll be an old man

With more stories to tell.

‘WHAT IF’ will be the most powerful words in your life so far.

They’ll keep you up many nights, wondering, thinking, planning and creating.

If I can offer you one bit of advice
when it does pay off,
drink in those moments – enjoy them, don’t move right onto the next
thing, and make the most of the people who understand you while they’re there.

That’s all I have to say.

I’m still you, you’re still me.
and wherever we go there we will be

Even though I look at the world with slightly older eyes, I’m still that
boy deep down.
I’m still you.

Finally, here’s proof that less is more…

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter” – Blaise Pascal, 1657.

As the years roll by and the digital world advances that quote becomes more and more relevant to our busy newsfeeds.

Here’s to not silencing our inner-editors so we can deliver chopped, concise messages when we need to šŸ™‚

How this one thing I learnt from working in radio can help you write content for your audience…

I used to host a radio show several years ago.

Alongside a couple of friends/co-hosts I’d present a 2-3 hour program every week.

It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and I still miss it today.

In real life I talk a little fast sometimes, and when I first started talking on air I was a little hard to understand.

But soon there was no stopping me – same with my co-hosts.

Presenting became easy for us, we didn’t even need to think about it – we just automatically began to adapt our speech so the listeners could follow.

We often used to have guests – musicians, local people of interest and even students who wanted some work experience.

After a while I began to notice that some of them struggled to talk to the mic. They’d stare at it intently and change the pitch of their voice as they tried to imagine this invisible audience that they were talking to.

Sometimes talking too slow, other times talking too fast.

It didn’t make for good radio.

So, after a few shows, I began to think to myself – how did I first overcome this problem?

Part of it was through practice, but the other part of it was due to me looking across at my co-host as I spoke.

So, rather than talking blindly into a mic, I was focusing and talking in a conversational tone to someone opposite me.

For me that was the key. Simply visualising someone and talking to them.

So I began to tell the guests to look at me as they spoke, rather than talking into the microphone.

It worked.

Nerves ebbed away and confidence skyrocketed.

It’s the same with writing.

If you’re writing for purpose don’t just blindly write – visualise the person you’re writing for.

Wrap and direct your words at them.

Seems obvious, but time after time I read posts and articles that just don’t connect or flow.

Maybe even print off a picture of someone who looks like your audience demographic and blu-tac it to the wall in front of you.

I promise you tone and flow becomes easier when you’re looking at who you want to talk to.

(that’s me in the middle of the featured image in case you were wondering)

by Ashley Brown age 27 and 3/4 2018

In a world where everyone wants a quick hack, is there actually a quick hack for creativity?

It was Steve Jobs who said it.

You’ve probably seen it plastered over the internet many times.

But, no matter how often it’s shared – it doesn’t make it any less real.

Here it is, just to refresh your memory:

CreativityĀ is just connecting things. When you askĀ creativeĀ people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while”.

And, it’s true. That’s what creativity is.

Whether it’s taking a turn of phrase and fitting it to a product you want to sell, or matching half a sentence to another half a sentence to get your point across – it’s all about connecting things.

It comes easy to some of us and not so easy to others.

There’s no quick antidote for writer’s block (not even a bottle of wine) and there’s no super easy way to force creativity while in a dry patch.

And, in this world where we all want quick hacks, this is a quote worth remembering.

Sure, it’s cool to look at creativity as some kind of magical world of clouds, pixies and dragons where only a few great minds dare tread…

… but, perhaps the easiest way to solve a creative problem is to simply work out what the two things are that you need to connect and then start finding things that connect them together.

You make just strike it lucky somewhere in the middle.

What do you reckon?

Ashley Brown 2018