What is the basis of all wealth?

Writing is the basis of all wealth, says my pen pal Scott Ginsberg. What makes writing so important? How much time do I have? Not much? Okay, here are a couple of suggestions:

– Writing is often the primary basis upon which your work and your intellect will be judged.
– Writing can be a vehicle for progress.

It’s true, at every stage in your life, authentic & fluent writing can give you a big advantage. And guess what? It is not that hard to improve your writing skills if you set your mind to it. I am constantly looking for ways to fine-tune my writing skills. This is why I recently purchased a copy of The Corporate Storyteller. (I highly recommend it – click here to see the cover.) After I finished reading it, I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with its author Elaine Stirling, and she graciously agreed to conduct a quick interview for sneezr.ca

Jenan: In your book you write about cliches. Why do we reach for them without thinking?

Elaine: Thinking, the conscious variety, that is, requires a lot of energy, and like every other creature on this planet, we are energy-conserving beings. If you had to relearn how to get out of bed, dress and feed yourself every morning, you’d exhaust yourself pretty quickly. We perceive communication in a similar way, as if it’s enough just to go through the motions and “get it done”, so that we can get on with…and here’s the rub.

If we’re not connecting at every moment, if every word is not infused with life and energy, then what do we hope to get on with? This kind of auto-pilot, which in its most granular form begins with cliches typed thoughtlessly, to numbers delivered without meaning, can lead, over time, to a collapsed economy with everyone looking around and saying, “Huh, who did this? What happened?”

Jenan: How did you chose your niche?

Elaine: LOL, the niche chose me. I’d been a fiction writer and creative writing teacher for years when two things happened:

1) A former employer, knowing I’d been a writer, asked me to write a Policies and Procedures manual for her organization of 10,000+ employees. I tried to tell her I’d only written fiction, but she didn’t care. “You write,” she says. So I did. And from that first task, other corporate writing positions materialized. Each one terrified the heck out of me at first, they all seemed so diverse.

2) The university where I taught creative writing suddenly had need of a business instructor. I had three weeks to design two courses from scratch, a deadline so impossible that I could only pull from my creative bag of tricks. Narrative hooks, active sentences…lo and behold, they worked. After about nine years of these parallel streams, I’d become pretty complacent. That’s when one of my university learners came to me with his class notes neatly typed and said, “You ought to turn this into a book.”

Jenan: What perception do you want your customers to hold when they think of your business?

Elaine: Authenticity, first, last and everything in between. I want my readers to know wholeheartedly that the contents of The Corporate Storyteller, the book they’ve just bought, is the real thing. It worked with 1000 business people from all sectors and all levels of industry, and it will work for them.

Jenan: Any advice for someone considering starting a niche business? (I often refer to this as the “If I started today…” segment.)

Elaine: It’s a great phrase, Jenan. I couldn’t have written what I’m about to write yesterday. This morning, I posted a thought to my LinkedIn newsfeed (a fantastic networking source): “If your life isn’t becoming curiouser and curiouser, what are you doing?” This poor suffering world holds her arms wide open for niche businesses. Those who succeed are the ones who’ve thrown away the templates they inherited from others, and taken the brave step of creating their own. The beautiful irony is, that taking your own authentic steps connects you. As an original thinker (read here: entrepreneur) you move from niche, that little carved out bit on a wall, to a central place. From that central place, everything changes!

Thank you for asking amazing questions!

Jenan: My pleasure – thank you and take care!

Oct 2010