Back to school?

by Dennis Blank

Perhaps a more formal approach to learning is called for...

Dear Lou:  I think you’re going to be really proud of me this week. I started looking for a writing workshop to attend. I only know what I know, and it was mostly self-taught, so I thought a little professional guidance might be useful.  It does seem a little more difficult than I had hoped, however. Many of them employ a competitive process for getting in – like trying to get into college, and I just don’t have the stomach for that. And all of them seem to be on some remote college campus I either never heard of or can’t find o the map. But I’m going to keep searching for one that feels like a comfortable fit.

This wasn’t an easy decision to make. I never liked school (at least not the classroom part) and when told to turn right, my natural inclination is to go left. I’m hoping that my genuine interest in writing well will make this different.

I’ve also been hammering away on my goal of writing two essays per month. I have over a thousand words down on the next one but it is giving me fits. There’s no “writer’s block;” this stuff just sort of pours out of me, but I don’t think it’s very compelling reading and I can’t figure out how to fix it. My first effort, Taxi Driver, was a real story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The one I’m working on now definitely lacks drama. I don’t think most people would read it to the end.

I’m also going to continue my “networking, entertaining, risk-taking,” practice. I leave tomorrow for a five day golf trip with some college pals. In addition to golf, there will be cigars, cocktails and poker. Old stories will be embellished. We’ve done this so many times that the embellishments have taken once true stories into the realm of pure fiction. Hmmm. Maybe that’s how good fiction is created?


Dear d':

Well, what happened? Maybe all you needed was a little push and someone to hold you accountable. I love this coaching stuff. It really works.

I have taken courses at colleges through their "Continuing Education" programs. Are there any of those near you? I think that finding some classes is a great way to go because not only do you learn some professional techniques, you also get the benefit of how others are approaching their writing and learning from them. Gee, do you think they assign any "homework"?

Also, please stop beating yourself up regarding your writing. Your writing might sound uninteresting to you because you are living (or have lived) it. But there is a fictional quality to it (maybe because it is all made up anyway) that is appealing to others. So keep to your commitment to write two a month and let's see what happens.

Finally, I just finished a Coaching Wellness class and was reminded that we can create what we envision. So on one of those days when you are sitting in your beach chair and are otherwise mindless, I would like for you to close your eyes and imagine what your life is like one year from now. What are you doing, who is there, how are you feeling? Make it as vivid as you can and then watch the opportunities that open up to start leading you to that end state. The Life 3.0 journey has just begun but you have been on the path for a long time.

Have fun on your golf trip and come back with lots of new stories to tell.

Coach Lou

Coach Lou is a co-founder of Chain Reaction Partners, an executive and leadership training consultancy in Boulder, Colorado.  d’blank is the author of The Daily Blank blog.


by Dennis Blank | Monday, May 3, 2010 | Career Change, Career Change, Dream Careers, Hiring a Life Coach

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