Written by Karen D. Swim
How to Look Good Naked is a television program which first aired on British TV and now has a USA version. The premise of the show is helping ordinary women to rebuild their self-esteem through a series of confidence boosting exercises culminating in a nude photo. The lesson of every show is learn to love your body “as is” and then add the proper garments to flatter it.
I caught the show at a gym and it helped pass the time on the dreadmill (I hate indoor runs!). In spite of the cotton candy pop psychology, and corny tiara chirpiness, I found myself smiling as I picked up a lesson or two about “dressing for success.” As I stole a peek at my own sweaty silhouette (and wondered if my sweats made me look fat), I began to see the parallels to writing. Whether writing articles, novels or marketing messages we can all benefit from learning how to first look good naked.
- Start with a solid foundation. On the TV show, all women get an attitude makeover before they begin shopping for a single garment. For the writer the foundation begins with listening. You must attune your eyes, ears, and mind to hear the words and the silences between them. When you listen with all of your senses and without imposing your own prejudgment you will really hear the your characters, your story, your muse or your target audience.
- Add the right first layer. With the body the initial layer makes a huge difference in how clothes look and fit. Your idea must also be outfitted with a good structure. Before you wrap it in artsy covers, graphics or glossy brochures, your writing must stand on the strength of the words. Your message/story must be able to stand in just their skivvies and still look good.
- Don’t hide out in a muu muu. It is tempting to hide flaws and imperfections under bulky outer layers. However, rather than hiding the muu muu only brings attention to the most unwanted areas. You cannot cover a flawed idea, or message in layers of words. It adds unnecessary girth and makes your structure look unattractive.
- Work what you have! You may not be the writer you desire to be today. Rather than wringing your hands in angst or comparing yourself to others, work what you have today. Play up your strengths (yes you have them!) as you work on areas that need improvement.
- You are your worse critic. We are often so much harder on ourselves than others will ever be. We distort the truth with our own feelings of inadequacy. You will not churn out a masterpiece every time you sit down to write but you also will not suck every time.
- How to Look Good Naked reinforces that every woman regardless of shape or size can learn to put her best self forward. Women are transformed from frumpy to fabulous without diets, exercise, or surgery. With just a few tweaks, you can have the same results with your writing.
What are your tips for looking good naked?