How to write a video script

This week I’ve written three video scripts for my fertility client. One was on the impact of stress on fertility, another on the Weston A Price diet and then today one on going gluten-free for fertility. So what are the rules?

Firstly, aim for between two and four minutes for an audience like this, of people who are specifically visiting for information. Given that it takes longer to impart spoken information than written information, aim for talking at 125-150 words per minute. This means that your script needs to be a maximum of 600 words.

You need to start with a bold introduction telling your audience what you’re going to tell it. The first 60 seconds should explain what they will learn and have a call to action. Here’s the one I wrote for stress.

In this video I’m going to tell you how you can improve your chances of getting pregnant just by doing something you used to do before you started worrying about getting pregnant………..relaxing. Can it really be that simple? Well yes it can.

and this one for the Weston A Price diet.

Dr Weston A Price developed a diet based on years of travelling around the world and observing the effects of traditional societies as they migrated from their native foods to the modern processed foods. He advocates his diet for women wanting to conceive a healthy baby so I’m going to tell you about three things to cut out right now and three things to replace them with to ensure your body is most receptive to conception.

You need to speak directly to your audience and use ‘I’ and ‘you’ because you are speaking to them as if you’re in the same room.

Talk about something they care deeply about. In this case it’s fertility but you will be focusing about what your customers and clients care about. This is not about you, it’s about them.

Don’t waste their time telling them what they already know, they will just leave you mid sentence. Don’t talk down to them as if they know nothing nor should you talk in jargon and professional language because they won’t feel you’re talking to them at all. Instead talk to them as if you’re talking to a friend over a cup of coffee.

It’s good to engage them with a good story that they can relate to but keep it short and relevant. Here’s one I wrote for the stress video script.

We all know of people like us who have been trying to get pregnant for years, they’ve read all the articles, he’s wearing loose pants, they’ve filled the fridge with healthy food and she’s taking her temperature every day to work out when she’s ovulating. You know the story. Then they decide they aren’t meant to have children or they go on holiday, give up and resign themselves to being loving aunties and uncles. Then ‘boom!’ out of nowhere, they get pregnant! Friends of mine even decided to cycle the length of France because they didn’t want to keep putting off doing things on their ‘bucket list’ any more. She came back saying she’d found some of the hills rather hard and when she also noticed she hadn’t lost any weight her doctor suggested she might be pregnant. She said ‘I can’t be, we haven’t even been trying!’ but did a blood test because she wondered what could be wrong. Maybe she’d picked up an infection. Guess what! You know the ending of this story don’t you? Yes she was pregnant, by then about four months pregnant! 

If you want to refer to a study, just mention it briefly because video isn’t a great medium for conveying statistics and sources, samples and the details of the source of the original article.

Here’s how I tackled this in the gluten-free script.

A recent study in the US looked at 188 infertility patients and found that 5.9% had undiagnosed celiac disease. Now that’s not very high is it?  But when you look at the fact that in that study after they went gluten-free, they all got pregnant.

Leave them with a call to action so they are reminded what you said at the beginning and have no doubt about what they should do.

Here’s the end of the stress script.

And laugh!

Did you know that our body isn’t so very clever, after all?  It may know when you’re stressed even when you don’t but it can’t tell the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh. It assumes both mean that you are relaxed so go on, laugh your way to fertility.

So I hope you’ve learned some of the rules of writing a video script and feel confident to write your own now.

 

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How to write a blog post

I’m hoping many of you reading my Blog are readers of my books, whether they be my NLP books, children’s books (as JudyBee) or Marketing/Market Research titles. I wanted therefore to tell you something of my writing life. In this post I want to tell you how I write a Blog Post. Many of you will have blogs and may be interested in my process although this is by no means the best or only way to write them! Everyone has their own style and process regardless of content.

I always have something I want to write but sometimes it takes time for the thoughts to take form as a piece of writing. The thoughts seem like pieces of paper thrown into the air by the updraft of a bonfire. They hover and drift off so I have to metaphorically gather them up and make sense of them. I have to be in the right frame of mind to do that.

I have to want to do it first and foremost because if that desire isn’t there then nothing will happen, I will sit at my desk gazing out into the garden.

Secondly, I have to have a nice pen and paper. I think most writers hanker after lovely pens and pretty paper or notebooks. Yes of course I use a computer but my first draft is hand written. I like to see my writing fill the page. It’s as if the thoughts are my thoughts and the words are my words as they are in my handwriting. It’s the most personal writing form there is.

I like to have a mug of tea while I’m writing and frequently a peanut butter sandwich, I’m more savoury than sweet.

When I’ve written all I have to say and those pieces of paper or different thoughts are all on the page(s) I thn leave them for a bit to settle. It may be a day or so before I revisit what I’ve written and go to type it up on the computer. During that time I may play tennis or do yoga but I probably won’t write anything else until the draft is committed to the computer. I don’t usually change much of the first draft because the changes have happened as the thoughts are processed. Many thoughts don’t make it onto the page of writing althought they may reappear at another time and become another piece.

When I’m typing up from the handwritten draft I don’t read what I’ve written as I type, it is merely a process.

Then when it’s all typed up, I go back through checking for typos, grammar, sense and make sure it’s easy to understand for a busy mum.

Then I go back through it again, this time more as a reader to decide where I want an image and search on google for the best image to illustrate my point.

Then the important last stages are to tag the relevant keywords and link anything that readers will find useful , assign the appropriate category and write a short summary description for the SEO (search engine optimisation).

Then I press ‘publish post’ and this is what you get! I love it when people like a post or comment so do get in touch.

If you’d like me to write a blog post for you please complete the form below and we’ll have a chat.

Mind and Body are ONE

How well do you know your body and recognise the symptoms of  stress?

We all have pressure in our life, whether we are a small child, a teenager or adult; whether we are in a full-on job working all hours or out of work and worrying about it or looking after the kids all day.

As pressure builds, most of us respond and even find it exhilarating to have things to do, challenges and a sense of achievement. Our performance increases in line with the pressure for a while. However, as the graph below shows, your performance peaks and your peak will be unique to you. We can each manage a different amount of pressure and different types of pressure. Once you peak, performance plateaus and then decreases markedly and you suffer stress.

stress

 

 

How do you know when you are stressed?

If you can’t sleep.

sleepyhead

 

If you’re having trouble sleeping at night that is a sure sign of stress.

You need your sleep so that your body can function properly and recover ready for the next day. We all need different amounts of sleep but we do all need to switch off completely and relax for at least 5 hours.

If you’re getting ill all the time.

flu

If you’re catching every bug going round, this is your immune system not being able to protect you because you’re run down and stressed.

 

If you’re getting irritable and snappy with your mates and your family.

angry-woman

 

 

If you can’t concentrate.


concentrate

 

If you just can’t step back, prioritise and make good decisions.

This could include self-harming, drinking heavily, having indiscriminate sex, taking drugs or driving dangerously.

If you are experiencing any of these signs or several of them then you are not managing your stress and are already on the downward phase of the graph.

So how do we avoid this happening in the first place and what can you do about it right now.

  1. The first thing to do is to recognise the signs. Accept the situation as it is. This is feedback. These negative behaviours have a positive learning for you and you need to take action.
  2. You need to release the emotional aspect of the stress. You have perhaps suppressed these negative emotions; so express your frustration and your feelings of despair . A good way of doing this is to write down how you feel.

Talking about your feelings with others may help but you’ll find they give you their feelings back and their solutions. The solutions are within you. You have all the resources you need and you have the answers so get rid of all those unhelpful negative thoughts on paper. This is called ‘freefall writing’ and comes from the subconscious mind. It can be a great stress reliever.

You might  find it easier to express these feelings as a picture instead. Do what feels right for you.

  1. Now release the physical stress. Exercise is great for this. If you play a sport or like to go running then fit in an exercise break into your day. It gets the blood flowing, oxygen to your brain and a break for your eyes.
  2. The next stage is called ‘grounding’ and it means getting back in touch with yourself and what’s important to you. Do you have a favourite place to go or friends you haven’t seen for ages? Facebook and texting is all very well but it doesn’t replace the physical connection you experience with friends as you meet and have a laugh together.

These first four stages are the winding down cycle. The next four are about winding up.

  1. Have a sense of purpose. Remind yourself about what you’re doing this thing for. What will doing it mean to you and what you want to do in your life? What is important to you?

Sometimes we get on a treadmill without really thinking about where we are going. Where are you going?

  1. Set goals. Be clear about what you’re committing to. The more you are in control of your goals the more likely you are to achieve them and the less stress you will have.
  2. Make plans for how to achieve your goals and make priorities, make choices.
  3. This last stage is the ‘action’ stage and is about achieving what you want in life.

Notice where you are in the process at the moment and get back in touch with your mind and body. They are ‘one’ and how you feel in your mind is reflected in your body and vice versa.

Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP Master Practitioner and author of Teach Yourself:Be a happier parent with NLP. She offers one to one coaching either face to face or on the telephone and runs workshops either in the workplace or in local venues. She can be contacted on 01628 660618 or 07917 451245 or email judy@hitchamvale.co.uk

 

Mindfulness and writing

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:

on purpose,

in the present moment, 

and non-judgmentally.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

 

This is the first of a series of posts about mindfulness and writing. In this post I want to take you through a beginners guide to mindfulness so you can have a go before we add the writing dimension. First let me explain why I think mindfulness is an essential skill for writers. I wonder if like me you sometimes sit down at your computer and it seems like there are no thoughts in your mind at all. You feel empty of ideas and easily distracted by social media or suddenly remember you need to get something out of the freezer or hang up the washing. Other times the thoughts come thick and fast but all over the place with no structure or meaning, just random ideas. In these situations your mind is taking control.

Imagine your subconscious mind is like an elephant and your conscious mind is a rider on that elephant. How difficult is it going to be to turn the elephant in a different direction? If instead we can train our elephant then we have more chance of having some control. The analogy is particularly real because our unconscious mind is far bigger than the conscious mind and is processing thoughts all the time, millions of them. It can be helpful to label them. Mine can be ‘worrying thoughts’ about my kids or my elderly parents, ‘planning thoughts’ what I need to do later or things I must remember, ‘happy thoughts’ as I think about something nice,  can you label yours?

Some of these thoughts can be helpful, after all we need to remember to collect the dry cleaning or pick up some vegetables for supper. However, they don’t necessarily need to be in our mind right now as we start writing. Thoughts about the future or the past are also unhelpful. You can’t do anything about the past and the future is just that, the future. For your writing you need to be totally present with nothing else you need to be doing, nowhere else you need to be. Yes, in our non writing life we have things to sort out, fix, solve perhaps, but this isn’t what we need to do now. You just need to write. What I find helpful is to imagine I am at a bus stop and buses go past with destinations like ‘worrying about the kids’ or ‘thinking about what to give them for supper’ or ‘ have to clean the bathroom’ and I know if I get on any of those buses I will not write. I will have allowed myself to get distracted by thoughts. So I look at the bus and say “No I don’t want to get on that bus right now, you can drive on past because I’m where I need to be.” It’s about being aware of the distracting thought but waving it past because we don’t want it.

 

mindful-writing

 

 

 

So here’s your first exercise. It’s a multi sensory one because writers like to be aware of all our senses when we write. It’s called mindful eating.

Take a raisin or a chocolate, something that has taste and smell.

Step 1. Visual. Hold the raisin in the palm of your hand and look at it with amazement and curiosity as if you’ve never seen one before. What do you notice? Look at it from different angles, from close up and further away, are there any features that take your eye? Can you imagine the country where it comes from? Can you imagine it growing, being picked, being packed?

Step 2. Touch. Turn it over in your palm and feel it on your skin. It may help to close your eyes so you can focus on the texture of the raisin. Use the finger of your other hand to gently touch the raisin. How does it feel? Does it remind you of anything?

Step 3. Sound. Put it to your ear. Does your raisin have a sound? If it did have a sound what sound would that be?

Step 3. Smell. Now raise it to your nose and smell it. What can you smell? Where do you feel the smell? Does it remind you of anything else? Smell can be very evocative, let the smell take you where your mind wants to travel.

Step 4. Touch. Put the raisin against your lips, what can you feel? Run it along your lip and then pop it in your mouth, on your tongue. What sensation do you get? Move it around your mouth. What is happening?

Step 5. Taste. You can eat it now! Slowly start to let your teeth bite into it and start to chew it. What is going on now? Where are you getting sensations as the saliva drips down the back of your throat. Where are you experiencing taste? How do you feel now that you have swallowed the raisin?

rasin-meditation

This exercise gives you the experience of living completely in the moment and becoming aware of your different senses as you do one single simple thing. It is mindful eating and you can apply this type of mindfulness to other things you do daily such as showering or brushing your hair, making a cup of tea and so on. That intense focus pushes thoughts from your mind but if you do find your attention wandering and find that thoughts are popping into your head then notice them and label them; worrying thought, planning, remembering or whatever they are. Then return to the exercise. There is nothing else you need to be doing. You are enough just as you are. There is nothing you need to fix or do.

Practice this every day and when you finish the practice, pick up your pen and paper and write. It doesn’t matter what you write, just write what you feel, what sensations you are experiencing in this very calm and quiet space you’ve created where you’ve found some room in your head because you’ve waved away those distracting thoughts.

NLP for Writers

How you think, your beliefs and experiences impact on what you tell yourself and others and what happens as a result. If you’d like something different to happen, something better, then come to this workshop and find out how NLP can help your writing.

I’m running an NLP for Writers online workshop via Skype with webcams on please April 15th 8pm onwards. Cost is £10 . I’m going to cover strategies and techniques for keeping on track, overcoming limiting beliefs and writers’ block, confidence for approaching agents and publishers and resourceful beliefs around skills, prioritising your own needs etc. It’s relevant for non-fiction writers, fiction, children’s fiction, bloggers …

Online event

15th April 8pm

Skype – judy.bartkowiak

£10 via Paypal

possible

 

20 rules of writing for the Web

writing-for-net-image-e1423579699164

 

Nowadays there’s no getting away from it, we all need a blog and a website, whatever our profession. I talk to loads of people who say they don’t know where to start, what should they write about –  “I’ve got nothing interesting to say”, they tell me. Writing for the web, writing a blog post, updating your website, needs to be done regularly to refresh it, ensure Google picks you up in a search and more importantly I think it keeps you focusing on your business. Here are some tips. 

  1. Write what you know and have an opinion about. Your reader may feel differently but they will recognise your own passion.
  2. It needs to be ‘of the moment’, readers want topical posts that pertain to what’s going on right now.
  3. Your title needs to be attention grabbing with keywords that will be picked up on a search.
  4. Avoid jargon, your reader isn’t going to share anything they don’t understand and that’s your aim, to get them to ‘share’ with their network to grow yours.
  5. If you quote someone else, make sure you quote accurately and give the source, name, book, date.
  6. By all means base it on another post you’ve read, but make it your own, unique to you.
  7. A good image to accompany your piece is ‘a must’.
  8. Avoid straight sales pitches, add your credentials at the end and a link to where the reader can buy your book or make contact.
  9. Use first person for your blog post and a more disassociated third person for your website.
  10. Check grammar and spelling. You lose credibility with mistakes.
  11. 500 words is the norm for a blog post, break up website copy into paragraphs with sub titles to help the reader navigate.
  12. Get to the point in the lead paragraph and proceed convincingly from there.
  13. Use tags and categories to help people find your post.
  14. Write daily or at least three times a week.
  15. If you are clean out of inspiration, copy and paste an old blog post then go back through it making changes to update it with your new thinking on the topic and hey presto you have a brand new blog post.
  16. If you’re feeling really creative one day, write all the posts for the week and then schedule posting so they are spread over the week.
  17. Respond to comments and engage your reader.
  18. Use the ‘share’ button to spread the word onto Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and anywhere else your target market will see.
  19. Keep your blog and website separate, the tone of a blog is ‘entre nous’ but your website needs to be your business card.
  20. Enjoy! If writing isn’t your thing, you can commission blog posts on Elance, Fiverr, People per hour or use the contact form below!

Self-Hypnosis

close eyes

 

This is a great technique for focusing the mind when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, confused or distracted and want to clear those troubling thoughts and focus on what you need to do or want to do right now. It’s easy to think, “I don’t have time for this, I need to press on and meet my deadline”, but you are way more likely to do that with some focus.

Some people worry about the idea of hypnosis but we’re talking here about you developing the skills to relax and separate yourself from outside distractions so you can focus completely on your writing.This is a truly liberating experience whether you want to tackle a big problem in your life, whether you just want to relax or whether you want to clear your mind of trivia and become more creative.

Before you start self hypnosis you need a goal, a statement that sums up what in NLP we call the ‘desirable outcome.’ This should be expressed in simple positive terms, for example, ‘I want to see my word count at the bottom of my document as 1,000′ or ‘I want to press send’ or ‘I want to be able to tell my client that I’ve finished’. The first is visual, the second kinaesthetic and the third is auditory. Say it over and over a few times to get the words just right so that they express what you really do want. Now you’re ready to begin.

Firstly find somewhere quiet and comfortable and turn off the phone. Ensure you will not be disturbed for about half an hour.

Now close your eyes. If you have a busy life you are bound to start thinking of everything you really should be doing. Let these thoughts come but as each one emerges, mentally pop it into a box and stack this box outside your room. Do this which each of these thoughts and keep going until you are free of them. They will be there for you afterwards but for now you need to put them out of your mind.

Become conscious of your body. Start with your feet. Gently squeeze your toes and rotate your ankles then let them relax.

Now your calves, squeeze and relax a few times.

Your knees need to be flexed a few times then relax them into a comfortable position.

Lots of people hold stress in their stomach. Breathe in deeply right to the stomach, place your hands on it and feel it move. Place your hands higher on to your chest and breathe deeply feeling the air move in and out of your body.

Now for your shoulders. Hunch them up then relax. Rotate the shoulders forward and then back a few times, then let them fall.

Stress is also held in the neck. Rotate your head and rock it from said to side and nod front and back. Then let your head relax back on the pillow if you’re lying down or onto a cushion or the back of your chair.

Some people find music helpful for relaxing especially if it helps drown out any background activity or noises. Others prefer the quiet. Whatever your preference, focus on it and continue to breathe deeply.

You should now feel pretty relaxed both in your body and mind. To increase the state of trance though you need to take one step more. Think about somewhere truly relaxing. This may be somewhere you’ve been on holiday or a walk you enjoy, a picture you love or music perhaps.

Go to this place and state your goal, say over and over again the statement you devised before you started. Really let it be absorbed into your subconscious by hearing the words, feeling them, seeing them and believing them to be true. Imagine you have achieved this goal, how are you feeling? Imagine living the goal, how does it feel. In this trance state your limiting beliefs, those barriers you put in the way of achieving your goal, are removed. You can achieve your goal, nothing is preventing you now.

When you are ready, leave this wonderful place and return to a conscious state. You will feel incredibly relaxed and able to cope with living your goal.

You will still feel a bit sleepy and may need to gradually ‘come to’ so allow time to do this slowly. Once you’ve done this a few times you will find the process quite accessible and you will be able to do it quicker and apply it to all sorts of situations to give you greater balance in your life, relaxation skills and the ability to override those troublesome limiting belief we all share.

Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP Trainer and Coach. To find out more about NLP go to her NLP website or download her NLP app. Her books can be purchased from the website or Amazon.

Editing, Copywriting, Blog Posts, Features, Proofreading and Coaching Writers using NLP