When I started doing business on the web I quickly discovered that writing for a website was different than any kind of writing I had ever done before. For the first time, I had to write a sales copy and I had to write emails to people I admired asking if they would be willing to…gulp…collaborate with me. I have yet to receive a NO and I think one of the big reasons why is because early on I learned about the remarkable Alexandra Franzen. Alexandra helped craft much of the copy on my site but she helped with so much more than that. With her scripts, her excellent blog, and her classes, I have learned how to be the best possible writer for my online audience. She is wise, kind, and super whip-smart — kind of an unbeatable combination!
In her own words:
ALEXANDRA FRANZEN wants to live in a world where emails are short, love letters are brave, and every “thank you” note is scribbled by hand.
When she’s not scribbling up a storm, you can find her re-reading the collected works of Oscar Wilde, watching obscene amounts of television without a trace of shame, and optimistically checking her mailbox for brown paper packages tied up with string.
Her first book — 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome — hits the shelves in October 2013.
Learn how to write with style, simplicity + astonishing ease at AlexandraFranzen.com.
Discover Alex at the following hot spots:
I know people ask you about the ins and outs of writing and communication all the time — why do YOU love to write? What about the art form gets you hot and bothered?
The philosopher + linguist Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “That which cannot be said cannot be thought.” I like to say: “That which cannot be said cannot be done.”
What I mean is this: If you have got a fantastic idea, but you can’t put that idea into words — words that other people can see, grasp and rally behind — then your idea doesn’t really exist. It’s just a fuzzy notion in your head. It’s got no shape, in the physical world. So: when you wrap words around your dreams, it’s the first step towards making them touchable + real. Words set everything into motion.
How HOT is that?
Write Yourself into Motion workshops — tell me everything!
It all started with a magical walk in the woods. (Literally.) I was strolling along the coastline of Vancouver Island with my dear friend Hiro Boga, and I said to her, “You know? I’d really love to create my own writing workshop.”
She smiled and said something wise + profound like, “And so you shall, young grasshopper.”
The very next morning, I woke up to find an invitation from two women back on the mainland, sitting in my inbox.
“Would you like to teach a writing workshop at our retreat in New Mexico?” they asked.
Oh, universe. You’re the BEST.
Fast forward to this year: I’m teaching my signature workshop — Write Yourself Into Motion — in 8 different cities for over 200 people. It’s a weekend of business and career-focused wordsmithery with me + 20 new friends.
It’s ridiculously fun. I cry almost every time. One time, my mom + dad came to watch. They cried, too.
Yeah. It’s like that.
You love brevity, but your words go deep. What’s your favorite trick to packing a punch with few words?
Before I sit down to write anything — an email, a blog post, a text message, a love note — I ask myself three questions:
1. How do I want my reader to feel?
2. What do I want my reader to know?
3. What do I want my reader to do?
Once I’m clear on those three elements, the rest is relatively simple: it’s just a matter of stringing words together in a way that feels lyrical + pleasant on the eyes (and ears).
Another technique? I often pretend that I’m writing a short poem, like a haiku — even if I’m (really) writing a newsletter or an article.
The end result is usually much tighter + leaner than it would’ve been, otherwise.
You have a new book out: Fifty Ways To Say You’re Awesome. What happens when we learn different ways to express our awesomeness?
Every human being on earth craves appreciation, recognition, and affection. We are all waiting for someone to look us in the eye and say, “You’re awesome. Really, truly awesome.”
Fifty Ways To Say You’re Awesome is an invitation to BE that person — to be a bright spot of gratitude in someone else’s day. To say “you’re the best,” “I see you,” “I get you,” and “wooooow.”
And if you can’t figure out the right way to say “thank you” to someone who deserves your complete + total adoration … well … you’ll find 50 bolts of inspiration, inside my book! ;)
If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?
Knock everything off your to-do list, except for the one thing that matters.
And then shelve that task for later, too … and instead?
Just write a letter to one person you’ve been meaning to thank, for a very long time.