James Greig on Writing

Graphic designer, writer and self-proclaimed bike enthusiast James Greig joined us on Day 2 of Small is Beautiful 2015 to talk about why writing is important for microbusiness owners and creatives – even if no-one is reading your work yet.

Small is Beautiful producer Roanne was inspired by the openness and honesty of James' blog and invited him to speak. He opened by demonstrating time-travel through the art of writing. "Reading what was written earlier is the magic of writing," he told us. "Your thoughts can be put in other people's minds."

James began blogging during a rough patch in his life, and his blog – which he describes as photos of people on bikes – became quite popular. He took his own advice to write before anyone was reading and soon found that blogging isn't about just writing blog posts – it is about telling stories. Soon after, he wrote a blog titled Why I Hate Design and quickly found an audience of likeminded people online. "Writing has become a way of helping people, which is quite humbling."

So if writing is so amazing why don't we do more of it? We make the same excuses as we do about flossing. But James doesn't believe that writing should be difficult or scary. He outlined more reasons to write, saying that…


Gets the gunk out. It can get emotions out of your brain and help you cope.
Builds authority. The top people in your profession are probably getting their thoughts out online – so don't get left behind.
Makes ideas better. The act of taking an idea apart and reassembling it helps you understand things better.
Makes you smarter (selfish, but true). There is an audience effect: shifting from an audience of 0 to 10 people is a bigger mental shift than going from an audience of 10 people to a million. Just knowing someone is reading is the biggest step.

James also busted some more common excuses for not writing:
Excuse 1: You think you have nothing to say. Reality: You wont find out what you have to say until you start.

Excuse 2: You don't have time. Reality: Creativity is a habit, not a feeling.

Excuse 3: You're afraid. Reality: Fear is a good thing. It's motivating.

Finally, James added that it is fine for your writing not to be perfect. It just needs to sound honest and be a reflection of who you are.

If you want to be found online, James recommends not SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), but HEO not SEO: Human Emotion Optimisation."Just be honest," he urged. "It's such a rare trait."

And James' closing words: "If you want to be magnetic, you must be as willing to repel as to attract."

Learn more about James Greig here.

Like what you see? Small is Beautiful 2016 takes place in Edinburgh on 14 & 15 June 2016. Register here.


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