Miquiel Banks
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Forget Blogging, do you understand the Writing Process?

By September 30, 2017 Blogging, Books, Storytelling

Problem

Here’s the problem.

Writing is Visual Organization, Project Management, and Jigsaw Puzzling.

And we can argue about whether it’s creative, but we can’t argue the way it’s being taught is WRONG.
If it was right, then writing wouldn’t be a problem.

And it is.

A HUGE ONE!

Here’s the pain points I hear all the time.
• Why does it take so long?
• Why is it so hard for me?
• Why does this cost me so much of my time?

Here’s the frustrations I hear all the time.
• Why is my second act so weak?
• Why is my blog so flat in the middle?
• Why is my writing SO boring?

How can I get better?

First, let me say, I agree with you, but I’m here to tell you.

It’s NOT your fault.

Writing has three tiers of thinking and unfortunately, if you don’t work in the right tier, you’ll be confused.

But that doesn’t help you because without this information, your writing will ALWAYS be boring, hard, convoluted, flat, and confusing.

And that kind of writing doesn’t help you communicate.

So, let’s fix that little problem right now.

Potential

Are you tired of spending all night on one blog post and in the morning, you realize that you tried to cram 5 ideas into one?

Are you tired of writing blog posts that sound like cheap and plastered Christmas jingles?

Are you worried that when you FINALLY post your blog . . . no one will notice?

Imagine a world where you crank out four blogs before breakfast?

How about finishing one novel every year for ten years?

How about finishing four screenplays in one year?

How about blogging a book in six months?

Or the ideal fantasy.

Wake up, turn on the computer, and write a blog post in ten minutes and click PUBLISH!

Is that possible?

Absolutely!

Unfortunately, you have to learn a few principles and with this new info, I promise, the writing will get easier.
And better.

Pitfalls

I was just like you when I was younger.

I wanted to write something that would change the world and I would get worldwide accolades.

But that dream faded fast because I realized something early on.

Writing isn’t hard, it’s the PROCESS of writing.

And so I became a Tech Writer and soon learned how to do swimlanes and Process Maps.

I spent decades working on this skill and one day, I purchased a book that changed my life.

 

In his book, he explains the structure of a Short Story, but this architecture also applies to Blog Posts and any type of Short-Form Writing.

And by short-form, I mean writing that goes from one up to 30-something pages.

But here’s a problem, the book cover didn’t help, did it?

Me telling you isn’t going to help either.

This is why Writing is a VISUAL system of organization, so let’s move on to the Persuasions part.

Now I wrote all that and it sounds great, doesn’t it?

But that’s not what’s important, we must impart information to YOU.

The Reader.

Below is the infographic for you to SEE what the different levels are.

 

Persuasions

I’ll summarize his system into two parts (Story Structure and Storytelling).

Story Structure deals with the first part of writing, its elements and how a piece of writing looks.

Storytelling deals with how writing is revealed to the reader, how it FLOWS on the page.

First, you have to wrap your head around this before you move forward.

One approach is CRITICAL and the other is CREATIVE.

And you get five bonus points if you recognize that our brains have two parts – analytical and creative.

So remember, the first one is CRITICAL.

Story Structure is HOW a story is shaped and HOW writing works.

This blog post was written VISUALLY before I wrote the words, below are screenshots of the method I used for this blog post.

 

 

 

Now that wraps up the CRITICAL Part, so let’s go into the other one, which is CREATIVE.

Storytelling is WHY a story affects readers and WHY it works.

Predicament

So here’s why you’re having problems writing.

Sometimes, writing requires analysis.

Sometimes it requires creativity.

You can’t analyze while creating and you can’t create while analyzing.

That’s it – that’s all you need to know about the LIFE of a Writer.

Now that you know the requirements for YOU, let’s focus on your new project.

You want to crank out Blog Posts, so let’s go through the exercise.

This won’t take long.

I’ll provide the steps first, then I’ll provide an infographic to help you move forward.

The Writing Process is a simple checklist of items:
• Title and/or Headline
• Problem
• Potential
• Persuasions and Pitfalls
• Predicament
• Power Move
• Professional

Now armed with the steps, turn on your analytical brain and jot down several ideas, something you think will be
PROFOUND to the reader.

Good.

Now turn on your creative brain and go through the steps, veering off on tangents as you see fit.

Good.

Now, turn on your analytical brain and look at what you have in front of you.

Where does this fit?

Where does THAT go?

Just like a puzzle, you shift the parts around until they start to make sense.

After they make sense to the analytical brain, then you go through with the emotional brain.

Oh I’m sorry, did you think there were only two brains?

This is where you strip everything down to its essence and find the primal POINT.

Good.

Now you wait.

And this is the hardest part for ALL writers.

No one wants to wait, everyone wants to release their writing NOW.

But trust me, until you’ve learned to POLISH quickly as an Editor, please wait.

During this blog post, I needed some p words to match polish and the other areas, but I couldn’t figure it out.

So I reached out MasterWriter and I was given pages of Options.

 

With this tool, I was shown a more powerful way to package this Blog.

After finishing the first draft, then you let the draft COOL DOWN.

Just like exercise, writing requires cool down exercises.

After waiting a few days, you come back to your project and you TURN ON the analytical brain.

At this point, you’re working to ensure the project solves the primary PROBLEM and PAIN POINT (if it’s non-fiction).

We’ll deal with fiction in another blog post.

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

I’ll finish the Power Move and the Professional part in another blog post, but here’s a few images for you to truly understand how diverse the Visuals can get for Writing.

 

 

 

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This is my life – A Tech Writer after Hurricane Irma

By September 27, 2017 Assets, Blogging, Criticism

This is my life.

I get up, go to work, and solve problems.

Most of the problems are documents, procedures, and processes.

But today, this is a new challenge.

Today, I have to help my co-worker.

Driving through the scraps of trees and branches scattered on the street, in lawns, and in gutters, the path to work is a labyrinth of fearful fathers, angry mothers, and desperate college kids.

Between the ragged textures and rain-stained windshield, I find relief by tuning into 104.7.

As Q105 plays another song by Journey, I wonder how faithful things would work out today.

Would Cindy finally stop worrying about her son and accept God will step in and help?

I park and plop down on my desk and listen to my messages.

TECO needs this information for the power outages off Gandy.

VERIZON is down in Temple Terrace, Egypt Lake, Channelside, Westchase, and Carrollwood.

Our intranet is down.

Our sharepoint is down.

I go to my desk and go over the details.

I smile and repeat my mantra for the day.

This is my life.

I pull out my phone and browse my emails and Cindy knocks on my door, “Come on Miggy, we got a meeting in five.”

As we walk, Cindy’s conversation races from Project Milestones, the hiccups, and just how far behind the hurricane put us.

The more she talks, I realize she’s not concerned about work, she’s concerned about her son.

“How is your son doing?”

“I’m not sure, we lost contact after we had that big argument and now, he’s not returning my calls.”

Her eyes water a bit and I slow down and point at the water fountain, “you remember when he pushed the button too hard and he messed up the floor and people were slipping on the water after the Town Hall?”

She forces a laugh, but she’s not doing well.

I push her back to work, “Don’t worry about the meeting today, I’ll do the minutes and give you a break.”

She said thanks and we walk into the meeting.

I grab my pen, sit beside Cindy, and the lights dim and the VP goes over the problems we have right now.

The biggest problems are customers with Home Insurance Claims, then the next batch are those with Auto Insurance Claims, and then the Property damage claims. She explains that FEMA gave her direction, but it’s not sufficient, and she sighs, “anyone got any great ideas?”

My hand shoots up, “I think that we should segment our teams against the first responders and piggyback off their lead and from there, we can match our workload against theirs and at least, have a better direction.”

She rubs her chin, her bane softly bounces, and she rubs her chin again, “Hmmm, you might have something there. Well, that’s all I have for today people and we’ll talk about this tomorrow, now go and help somebody.”

As we walk from the conference room, I explain to Cindy my plan.

“Cindy, I got this covered, you should take an early lunch and go find your son and let him know that you were not at him, but at work. It’s ironic though, isn’t it? We’re at work and you can’t stop thinking about him.”

“Miggy, I’m really not getting it why you volunteered our team for that huge workload?”

“I got faith that things will work out.”

“Work out? Don’t you know we’ve got thousands of claims on our desk.”

“But you got one son, those claims will be there after lunch.”

“Ha ha ha ha, now you spitting out hallmark lines, I told you a thousand times, you should’ve been a copywriter.”

Cindy’s eyes dart behind me and I know what that means, the VP is approaching.

“Miggy and Cindy, ha, you sound like a bad folk acoustic band! Just got off the phone with TECO, they need a rep from your team out in the field.”

“That wouldn’t happen to be off Gandy?”

“Wow Miggy, how did you know?”

“It just seemed like that’s where Cindy needs to go.”

As the VP walks away, Cindy pauses and sighs, “How freaky is that? What’s the chance of that happening? Now I gotta get my stuff and get outta here.”

I stop her, give her stuff and her eyes GROW like excited yeast in an oven. “Oh My God, you always remember to get my bag after the meeting, thanks and I’m outta here.”

“Before you leave, can we do a quick prayer, just to see if it works.”

“You know what, I’ve been meaning to go with you, but since you got me a break from here, I’ll try it now.”

I grab her hand and she holds mine, a bit tight.

I say a short prayer and as we finish, she looks at me and manages to smile. “I hope my son knows how much. . .”

RING, RING, RING!

She smiles, “who’s calling me this early?”

She reaches into her bag and pulls out her phone, “Oh My God, how weird is that, It’s him.”

“And I’ll bet that he’s off Gandy where the TECO people are.”

She holds up her finger and speaks and then eyes me with a mother’s WARMTH, “That’s really weird, he’s stuck in traffic by TECO. Wow, I don’t know what to say. I guess it’s time for me to come and worship with you.”

“Don’t worry about it, go hug your son and help TECO assess the damage off Henderson and Himes. Ha, you know what’s really funny, remember when we played darts at Pete’s Place and the lights went out.”

She smiles and shakes her head, “Thank you.”

As she walks away, I listen to her voice go up and down like the new ride at Busch Gardens and her happiness bounces off the walls as she disappears outside in the rain.

A mother’s warm smile and big heart is enough to burn away the blemishes of bad memories.

And Cindy’s is so BIG right now, I’m certain the rain will be nice and get out of her way.

I tune into Q105 and the Fray sing about how to save a life.

I don’t know what that feels like, but I do know I just helped a mom know that her life is going to be ok.

I lean back in my chair and smile.

This is my life.

And it’s a good one.

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Plot Infographic – Once Upon A Time (S03E08)

By September 25, 2017 Assets, Blogging, Criticism, Storytelling

Once upon a Time is a powerful TV show based around a simple wish – what if fairytales were real?

Armed with this power, it pushes the viewer to accept things that make no sense elsewhere:

  • What if Peter Pan was the bad guy?
  • What if magic existed here, but we just didn’t know?
  • What if fairytales are not mythic, but based on actual events?

This infographic captures the power of a deep episode entitled “Think Lovely Thoughts.”

Now, look at again at this powerful infographic that captures the essence of what made this episode so powerful and enlightening.

It has three plot lines:

  • Story A – Stopping Pan
  • Story B – Young Rumpel
  • Story C – Saving Prince Charming

The beauty lies in the mixture of the first two plot lines, Stopping Pan and Young Rumpel, and this is where OUAT shines most.

It has the power of using flashbacks to not only enlighten the present, it uses them to also characterize the motivation for certain characters and their behavior.

In the hands of less skilled storytellers, this flashback would be a contrived and detrimental to the story’s progress, but in the world of fairytales, it colors the plot with a magical potpourri hard to capture in today’s fast-paced world of storytelling.

All we can do is peep and say – Job Well Done.

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What you know about an ATL Talent Show?

By September 25, 2017 Blogging, Criticism, Music, Storytelling

Atlanta Georgia (Early 1980s)

The Southern United States

Within the confines of Hip Hop’s dance scene, three branches appear to accommodate the flames of passion:

  • Breaking
  • Popping
  • Yeeking

And here we are again, scratching our heads.We know about breaking and popping.

Come on now, we saw Beat Street, Breaking, and The Last Dragon.But we have to ask again.

Just to be clear.

What the hell is Yeeking?

And what the hell does it have to do with Crunk?

Perhaps the answers can be found in a wooden stage in the SWATS, on a quiet and serene street called Mt. Gilead.

D.M.Therrell High School Talent Show

A Precursor to Reality Shows like American Idol, the event known as the Talent Show is a huge event for the American teenager.

However, in Atlanta, the Talent Show is on steroids!

Tonight, in the historic gym of Therrell High School, a monumental event is about to take place.

As the parking lot fills with cars and teens get off the MARTA buses and rush to get a good seat, the energy soars through the air.

Izod shirts, Sebago shoes, Guess jeans, and Legwarmers crowd into an old and worn-down Gymnasium.

As the host walks to the stage, the frenzied teenagers yell and scream and shout.This is the night they’ve been waiting for.

There’s more than magic here.There’s power and energy and a presence.And it’s EVERYWHERE!

And suddenly, the host speaks, “Tonight Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special treat here on this stage and I promise, you will not be disappointed. For the first time in the history of Atlanta talent shows, the top four groups from around the city will compete in one talent show. No longer do you have to call your buddies and bet your Friday pizzas and chocolate milk about who’s the best. Tonight, you’re going to find out.“

Loud shouting and cheering!

“That’s right, tonight, we’re giving you what you’ve been waiting for. Tonight, you are going to see the following acts on one stage:”

  • Your very own Kool-Aid and Raheem
  • Broken Arms and Crooked Legs
  • Hot Gritz and No Eggz
  • and a new kid on the block – the infamous FDC!

Incredibly loud shouting and cheering from the crowd!

And with no further ado, let’s bring out the renowned Hot Gritz and No Eggz.

There it is.

The frenzy, the hypnotic trance!

The teens behind us scream and kick the back of our seats and we listen.

Shawdy, this is what I’ve waiting for!

This is going to be AWESOME shawdy!

I told Black and Junebug they should’ve come, they missed out, this is the best talent show of all times!

Of all times!

Of all times!

Yeah shawdy!

SSssssshhh, here they come!

And silence.

Not your typical silence, but a new kind of silence, a dramatic silence.

The kind of silence before you light the stove to sizzle bacon.

The kind of silence before the flames explode from the Space Shuttle.

The kind of silence before a Nuclear Bomb explodes!!!

And the energy escalates with every performance.

The Hot Gritz performance is electrifying and intense.

Then, the Broken Arms gang entertains at a high level, totally intense,but a different feel.

And everybody is eating it up, we can’t get enough!

The only thing more intense than the energy in this place is the repeat button.

That’s right the repeat button.

Every ten seconds, from behind us, we hear the word shawdy.

Shawdy, shawdy, shawdy, shawdy, shawdy!

Oh God, put an end to our misery!

And just as we are sick to our stomachs and can’t deal with it anymore, a MASSIVE storm takes over the building and two rappers take to the stage.

And the beat is pulsing, pounding, engaging.

And one of them turns to the other one and they look out at the crowd and hold their mics in our direction.

And the crowd screams on cue.

Cause it’s AWESOME!

And the beat returns as each rapper delivers a powerful message about them being the greatest.

We’re caught off guard, we thought this was a dance-off because all the performers up to this point had been dancers.

But in our awestruck seats, we are entertained by two powerful personalities and we wonder what the future holds for them.

We look down and around, we don’t have any way of knowing.

We turn around to the teens, excuse me, can you tell me who was that on the stage?

Two girls giggle and laugh and murmur something under their breaths, then they respond.

That was Kool-Aid and Raheem, the greatest rappers in Atlanta shawdy!

Oh My God!Not Shawdy again!

Before we can respond, the lights flicker a few times and a heavy drum roll as a powerful beat escapes the speakers!

Finally a song we know!

As we groove in our seats, we eye the stage as a new group emerges and performs one of the most intriguing, intricate, and inspired routines we’ve seen.

Ever!

We mean it, ever!

From the Freddy Krueger to the New York Smurf to the Prep, this new group is performing at a high and intense level.

The highest tonight!!!!

And we can’t take it, they got us.And we can’t sit, are you serious right now?

We get up and start dancing and moving and we’re unable to stop or slow down or even talk.

We leave our seats and follow the kids out into the walkway and against the balcony and in the aisle.

Wherever there’s room, we dance and dance and dance at a high pace.

For a few seconds, we look down at our arms and notice goose bumps.

On our arms!

On our legs!

They are all over our body!

But we can’t stop and well after the group leaves the stage, we are still dancing and grooving to Doug E Fresh’s The Show.

Boom! Boom! Oh My God!

And it engulfs us.

The beat, the dancing, the beatboxing, the lights!

And the teens surround us.

And push us to continue.

Every time we dance in a sequence, they chant.

Yeek!

And then we spin and bend down, close our eyes, and lose our minds.

Nothing is real.

Nothing exists.

There is light and darkness.

All in the same space.

There is no past or future.

There is ONLY NOW!

There is only music and our bodies.

In one harmony.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…………….

UUUYYYYAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!.

And when we stop, the frenzied twitching continues.

Our bodies still move.

They won’t stop twitching.

They want to go back.

From wherever we came from.

They want to remain in this frenzied state.

What is happening to us?

To me?

And one teenager taps me on my shoulder and smiles, “How does it feel to be so CRUNK shawdy?”

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ATL Hip Hop History – The Yeek Culture

By September 25, 2017 Blogging, Criticism, Music, Storytelling

INTRODUCTION

Forget break dancing and all that other nonsense.

There is still one area that ATL is known for – that’s right – YEEK!

I don’t need to go interview anybody or ask for other opinions because I was there.I was there when it began.

This is known as The Founders Era.

Many people from ATL will recognize some of these names:

  • Hot Gritz, No Eggz
  • Broken Arms and Crooked Legs
  • FDC (Fresh Dance Crew)
  • The Stray Cat Preps
  • The Atlanta Dream Team

THE STORY

It’s hard to say how it began.

It wasn’t so much something that was made, but something that happened.

Back then, when people challenged each other, there wasn’t a word for it.

We didn’t talk about it, we didn’t question it, we didn’t overthink it.

We accepted it.

Period.

There was only three kinds of dancing back then:
Breakdancing
Popping
Regular Dancing

That’s right, it was regular dancing to us, it’s what we grew up with.

It’s amazing, what was regular to us has become a global sensation.

Sorry, let me get back to my story.

Where was I, oh yeah, that’s right.

We accepted it and if someone wanted to talk about it, we tossed around dozens of names:

  • The Prep
  • The Snake
  • The Freddy Kreuger
  • The New York Smurf
  • The Wop

Those days are long gone, but they linger in my soul.

I can still feel the tension when the DJ drops Play at your Own Risk (Planet Patrol) and you step back and do the Prep hard as you can, damn near hurting your neck, and dancing so hard that you feel like you’re about to throw your back out!

As you get deeper into the dance, something strange happens.

No one makes any gestures, they huddle around you like an electrical fence shooting you with thousands of voltage, and then you hear their battle cry.

YEEK!

YEEK!

And from behind you, you hear females screaming in unison, “Do him Gwell!!!!!”

That’s what I remember and that’s what I know to be true.

And to honor that regal time in our past, I have an infographic detailing the beauty of this time.

With no further ado, I present to you, a history of YEEK Culture.

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