Tape Recordings in Our Heads
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
When you read you begin with ABC, When you sing you begin with do-re-me.–the character, Maria, sung by Julie Andrews in
The Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein
Put a sock in it, Julie.
Turn off all of the tape recordings in your head that tell you what you’re supposed to do. They just get in the way. Unique problems require unique solutions.
Beginnings Are Often Irrelevant
Starting at the beginning is a fine thing–if you’re telling a story, teaching a lesson, or giving a presentation. In those cases, feel free to sing right along with Julie Andrews. If that’s not what you’re doing, turn off the tape recorder in your head that says, “Start from the beginning.”
Some things don’t have a beginning or if they do, the beginning is irrelevant. Who cares about how the fire began if you need to get out of the building NOW? You can worry about how it started later. When you’re strategizing a business plan for the future, how your grandfather built the first widget is probably irrelevant, even if it is how the company began.
When you’re creating something new, problem solving, or envisioning what could be, information is nebulous and coming from many directions. The challenge is to order it and give form–not to find the beginning.
Write a Three-Course Meal
If you think of an article as a fine meal, the middle is the main course. That’s where the fine dining is. It’s the centerpiece. The entrée takes the longest time and the most care. The executive chef is the one who plans it and prepares it. Put your best effort there–where it counts.
Use the FIOTB–Content Development Tool to gather thoughts that will make the middle outstanding and delicious to read. Once you’ve got the entrée underway, you can decide on the appetizer and the dessert. Maybe the beginning will be a question that you’ll answer at the end or maybe it will be a story that you’ll reflect on, the middle–the entrée–of your three-course article will help you decide what form the beginning and the end should take.
Great Writing Strategy–Great Brand Promotion
There’s added value in presenting your information as a three-course article. Starting in the middle establishes an important foundation and allows you to concentrate on presenting the information that’s key to your story, your brand, and your business.
- Course 1: Give readers a taste of your topic. This gives you a chance to capture their attention and focus their minds on your ideas. You can draw them in and prepare them for what you are about to say. By starting in the middle you already know what that is. So writing this part is much easier.
- Course 2: Serve up your ideas with facts and details to support them. By starting in the middle, you can spend your time polishing the finer points and placing your brand in the best light for readers to discover its value on their own.
- Course 3: Leave your audience satisfied with tidbits of why your ideas are important to them or give them reason to reflect back on what you said. Show that you fulfilled your promise. Let your audience savor the fact that your article was a service to them, and they’ll understand why coming back to see you is a good idea.
You’ve promoted your brand, your business, and your blog by writing an article from the inside out. Not bad for an hour’s work.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
I started in the middle with Writing 🙂
More Start in the Middle Ideas:
Branding and Problem Solving and a Start in the Middle Idea Bank are on their way.
If you have a situation, roadblock, or a problem you’d like to tackle with an Outside of the Box solution, please leave a note in the comments, or E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll keep your confidence and reply as best I can. With your permission, I might tackle your problem in an upcoming article–other folks might be looking for a new approach to the same kind of difficulty.