Why I am raising my kids to be generalists

jack of all trades

This article is contributed by David Leonhardt.

The stage performance of Billy Elliot (the musical) we took in recently was more than just a dazzling display of first-rate entertainment and a hyper-politicized ode to coal and labour unions. It was also a poignant reminder of one of the reasons I am raising my girls to be generalists.

Both my daughters, who hope one day to be entertainers themselves were mesmerized by the singing and dancing. Both of them saw themselves on the stage. Continue reading

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Three Tips For Choosing Great Blog Topics

Writers Block
Image by bornazombie via Flickr

I noted this morning a blog post by Dean Rieck on 7 Easy Ways to Energize Your Creative Writing Powers.

His key message is that if you’re feeling like you’re in a creative daze, take a new path. Do something different. That’s one way to discover fresh ideas and energize your creative powers. He then suggests 7 others:

  1. Learn your craft.
  2. Get off auto pilot.
  3. Stop avoiding failure.
  4. Focus on important problems.
  5. Find new uses for old ideas.
  6. Break down false barriers.
  7. Set the conditions you need to create.

If you are bereft of ideas on what to write about, Google has a huge store of other places to find how What To Write About. Two that caught my eye were:

I must admit that I think they are all approaching this from the wrong end.  So much has been written already, why add to the mountain.  They all seem to be approaching this in the way an artist might decide to create a work of art, whether there is an audience or not.  It is what is sometimes called the product-driven way of doing business.

A much more productive way of doing business is to be customer-centric.  Let us see how that concept can be applied.

What are three great tips for choosing great blog topics.  Remember the problem is not lack of choice, but rather too many possible topics you might cover.  The solution is the same as the advice in running a successful business.  Focus, focus, focus.  The three tips to focus on are:

  • Picture your ideal reader and what they will be doing at the time they consider reading your fine prose.
  • Try to home in on something you know about that will really take their fancy and may even be a bit of a surprise and a delight to them.  Remember you bring your own unique perspective to what you will write about.  Make sure this will shine through your writing.
  • Now that you have your topic, think of the 3 most important aspects of that topic around which you can create the best blog post you have ever written.

Of course the fourth unwritten tip is if you are not happy with the result of this process today, then don’t do it today.  Instead make sure that, as you live your life today, you are keenly aware of your surroundings.  Smelling the roses or the coffee or watching how a young child delights in unexpected findings may just be the trigger that suggests what the topic should be when you go through the three tips  again tomorrow.

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