March Wrap Up

There’s something about the third month of any new system I try that often proves to be the failing point. I tend to lose motivation around month 3. My famous enthusiasm wanes, and I get bored. I move on to something else. I stop caring as much.

But it’s not about only working when I’m motivated. I’ve noticed I’ve been sinking into the doldrums. I haven’t been working on this site as much as I might like, for one thing. But I’m still reading. I’m still writing, every single day. I’m still making progress, so let’s talk about what I read in March.

I read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Annie Lamott, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, and How To Turn Words into Money by Ted Nicholas.

Bird by Bird was my favorite of the three. I’ve already written a blog post inspired by this book. Although I found it to be a slow start, it was mostly a delight. Lamott focused too much on the anxiety of being published, the fear of running out of ideas, and the dread of writing yourself into a corner. It was easy to picture her standing in a corner, wringing her hands between drafts.

The other two were good, don’t get me wrong. I loved the insight into automatic human responses covered in Influence. I’ve long had an interest in psychology, and the subject material was fascinating. Both books shared an optimism and an enthusiasm for the work at hand not found in Bird by Bird.

Influence is about the psychology of why people say yes. Why people buy things they don’t need, why people choose one option over another, and how compliance professionals can play on these factors to convince others to take desired actions.

I absolutely love the term “compliance professional,” by the way. Influence is why you see a thousand logos on every marketing site. It’s why you see user testimonials. It’s why the phrase “thought leader” exists. I’m noticing these tactics everywhere in the short time since I finished the book.

How To Turn Words into Money was not the book I thought it would be. While it does touch on copywriting, all it does is touch on the subject. Nicholas takes a shotgun approach to marketing. He writes about infomercials, licensing your products overseas, and yellow page advertising. It’s a book with a central theme of words that convince people to take desired actions. Nicholas isn’t exactly focused on copywriting.

I’m still feeling good about my reading system. April is here, and I’ve read 9 books this year that I wouldn’t have read without it. My writing system is working well. My editing system is garbage. I don’t like editing my work, and still have not gotten through a second pass of my first story.

Short term goal for April: shore this up, find something that works. I’ll write about it, don’t worry!

I'm Tyler, and I blog about marketing, programming, writing, and things I'm working on.

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