[Coaxing Creativity Tip] Time to laugh and learn…

 

erma bombeckIt’s National Humorists are Artists Month. I consider Erma Bombeck to be one of the world’s most beloved humorists, of course, and also my first writing teacher.

When I was the Humor Editor for the Adams Tiger Tales, I modeled my writing after her style of taking ordinary life and shining a light to find the humor in what could be actually breaking our hearts. Erma’s philosophy was, “if you can laugh about it, you can learn to live with it.” A philosophy which continues to influence my writing as it has evolved from covering the student council meetings, to parent-child negotiations, breast cancer stories, cross-country moves and numerous job changes.

Erma combined wit and wisdom and bridged the generation gap so that parents and teens identified with her material. I never realized until sitting down to write this essay how much I had in common with her. During college, our guidance counselors encouraged us to forget about journalism and pursue a secretarial career. As a 30-year-old college freshman, my advisor already knew I’d quit a 10-year  secretarial career to pursue my dream of a diploma from the School of Journalism. He steered me to the Mass Communication track instead of Journalism because he didn’t think I could handle the reporter’s curriculum.

Little did he know I’d spend the next 30 years as a reporter specializing in personal profiles for magazines, newspapers and on-line venues.

I love my life!

Everyone needs and deserves encouragement to follow their dreams. When your dream is to be a writer, you dig deep inside you for the extra boost to move forward. Having your guidance counselor tell you to look for another line of work is not a vote of confidence. But, Erma and I found encouragement from caring professors who recognized our talents and gave us what we needed to continue writing. They said those magic words:  “you can write.”

Now, I’m saying them to you:  “Yes, you can write!”

  Hop over to my Facebook page and share with us where find the humor in it and let us in on the laugh!

 

Big Writing Ideas…

life writing with Writer UnleashedWhether you are a seasoned writer, or new to the world of words, we all dread getting started. Started on that blog, report, article, e-mail response, letter to your colleague, or an overdue thank you note. We share the stress of finding exactly the right words, organized in precisely the right sequence to convey the thought we want to express. The motivation to write is different for everyone, but for simplicity sake, I will give you three options:

  • start at the end
  • start in the middle
  • start at the beginning

What? This isn’t making any sense. How can you start in the middle? 

Start at the beginning…

Starting at the beginning is scary because it is a blank sheet of paper or an empty computer screen. In that case, the only thing to do is begin. Julie Andrews sang, “When you read you begin with A, B, C. When you sing you begin with do re mi.,” in the Sound of Music. Well, put your pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard and begin…start already!

You will be out of the freeze frame of inaction and actually writing. Give yourself permission to have a lousy first draft. Set the timer for five minutes and let the words tumble out. Make a list of words or phrases associated with your topic. Remember, if you edit as you write, it will take a very long time to complete anything. Jump in and do it!

Start in the middle…

Pretend you have already written the entire piece and talk about the heart of the matter. Explain your viewpoint with every detail you can possibly include in the argument. Perhaps you tell a story to illustrate your point, or include a favorite quote. Allow your readers to accompany you in your thought process and learn how you came to your conclusion.

Start at the end…

When you write your conclusion first, you know how to create your supporting statements. Yes, this is backwards. Think of it as knowing your destination before you start out on the journey. You have already determined where you want your readers to end up, now you simply present a logical map for them to follow.

I always begin by writing in my journal to get ideas about my theme, quotes I may include, and what my first sentence should include. Once I know that first line, I’ve got a tone and a direction for the entire piece. But, that’s just me.

Regardless of the method to your writing system, whatever gets you writing is the best darn system on the planet.

Now. Go write…

By the way, we’re celebrating International Idea Month…when you have a great idea…write it down! Let’s hear about your writing system.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

 

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] My big blessings…

travel writingMy big blessings…

Friday five-minute writing prompt

Take out a fresh sheet of paper. Natalie Goldberg uses a “fast-writing” pen. I suggest using your favorite writing instrument and an unlined piece of colored paper for fun. I use a fountain pen with purple ink. Some folks opt to use their computer. If that is your preferred method to write, then just open a new word document on your computer and go for it. The point is to keep your fingers moving for five minutes and not stop. I want you to experience how much writing can be accomplished in a short period.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – My big blessings… or any other phrase that is comfortable for you. Do not stop to edit, correct spelling, look up a better word, or rearrange a sentence. Do not question what comes up in the five minutes: this doesn’t make sense, where did that come from, or what a crazy notion. This is a timed writing exercise so be sure to set the timer on your watch, phone, microwave, computer, or kitchen stove. Whether you use an egg timer, a No. 2 pencil and a spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, hum a tune, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Writing results at WNBA-SF Pitch-o-Rama…


womens-building-01a

Get your work seen at the

2017 WNBA-SF Pitch-o-Rama

Saturday, March 25, Women’s Building

3543 18th Street (between Guerrero & Valencia) San Francisco CA 94110 
(Includes pre-session coaching* and a continental breakfast) 

If you have a writing project that is about ready, absolutely ready, or somewhere in between, take advantage of this opportunity to come speak to an Agent/Independent Publisher to get feedback on your what your next steps should be.

Worried that you won’t know what to say? We’ve got that covered. Be at the Women’s Building at 8 a.m. and I’ll be there along with my colleagues to assure you that when it’s your turn in front of an agent, your time will be spent productively speaking about your work.

Pitch-O-Rama delivers the 4 Ps that lead to publication:

POLISH. You’ve polished your manuscript. Now polish your pitch with our pre-pitch coaches.

PITCH. We’ve assembled top agents, editors, and publishers to hear your pitch.

Normally, you have to attend a conference to have access to so many agents, editors and publisher all at once. You get the chance to do it for a minimal cost! Many attendees over the years have found the experience beneficial to their current projects and future writing experiences.

Here’s what one participant had to say:   

“The chance to get feedback on your writing project by Bay Area agents or acquisition editors in such a supportive environment is not to be missed.  Although we were told it is extremely rare, I left the 2015 event with a contract offer from an agent as well as positive feedback from all the editors I spoke to. Many thanks for the hard work and efforts that the San Francisco Chapter members bring to this event for all who attend.”  -Elaine Rock, Author

Hurry, space is limited. Register today

Schedule:

8 to 9 am Continental Breakfast

8 to 9 Pre-Pitch Practice Sessions 

9 to 11:30 Pitch to agents & editors (2 one-hour sessions)

11:45 to 12 pm Author’s Guide to Social Media Success

12 to 12:30 From Page to Screen

Holding on to secrets and lies…

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-climbing-to-success-image12779921It’s time to tell the truth. How often do your secrets and lies stop you?

What secrets and what lies?

You know, the stories you hold on to…the ones you tell yourself that stop you from being who you know deep in your heart you were born to be…Your strong, confident, powerful and shining self.

Of course, those stories are just whispers in the dark…never anything big. And they certainly don’t hurt anyone…except you. The truth about the secrets and lies that you tell yourself is that they are not the truth. Stop and pause the next time you hear yourself saying something like:

  • It doesn’t matter what I think
  • My voice is never heard
  • I might as well be invisible

Instead of blending into the background once again and keeping silent, speak up for yourself and take action.

Yes, this could be uncomfortable.

No, let’s face it, this will be uncomfortable or you would have done something by now.

Consider this…your life is not a fairy tale no matter how much you wish it were filled with butterflies and rainbows. Nor is it a melodrama where you are tied to railroad tracks with a freight train rumbling towards you. Both scenarios may be how you feel at times given your daily stress and anxiety, but they are not your life.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-hand-scissors-cutting-rope-image18142874You can choose to unleash from the old stories holding you back.

Every journey begins with one single step…one decision to travel in a new direction. Make a simple shift today to step into your new self.

Where to start? How to begin?

  • Write it down – make a list of what you want to change
  • Set a date on the calendar to meditate on who you want your new self to be
  • Reach out for guidance and support
  • Read for inspiration and encouragement
  • Give thanks for the life you have and the blessing you are to the world

I’ve been a journalist for over 30 years, and I believe a good one. But telling other people’s stories didn’t help me cope when I was diagnosed with breast cancer…twice. I’ve changed my story about my words not being enough to influence anyone.

My mission is to help you be visible, vibrant and prosperous. I offer complimentary Unleash Your Story Worth Writing Consultations if you’d like to explore your impact on the world further.

That’s the truth as I see it. Please let me know how this message impacted you by hopping over to my Facebook Page.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

 

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] Dear Younger Me,

travel writingDear Younger Me,

Friday five-minute writing prompt

Take out a fresh sheet of paper. Natalie Goldberg uses a “fast-writing” pen. I suggest using your favorite writing instrument and an unlined piece of colored paper for fun. I use a fountain pen with purple ink. Some folks opt to use their computer. If that is your preferred method to write, then just open a new word document on your computer and go for it. The point is to keep your fingers moving for five minutes and not stop. I want you to experience how much writing can be accomplished in a short period.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – Dear Younger Me, or any other phrase that is comfortable for you. Do not stop to edit, correct spelling, look up a better word, or rearrange a sentence. Do not question what comes up in the five minutes: this doesn’t make sense, where did that come from, or what a crazy notion. This is a timed writing exercise so be sure to set the timer on your watch, phone, microwave, computer, or kitchen stove. Whether you use an egg timer, a No. 2 pencil and a spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, hum a tune, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

[Free Virtual Workshop] Step into Your Story Training

women.adventure.edit

In honor of Women’s History Month, please register today to join me for a free virtual workshop you can attend from the comfort of wherever you choose.

Step Into Your Story 

Living Your Legacy – Your HerStory

Unleash Your Story Worth Writing

Thursday, March 23, 8 a.m. Pacific

(you must register to get the recording)

 

We’re going to explore Stepping into Your Story and Living Your Legacy. Yes, I did mean to say Living Your Legacy because I think what we do in everyday life is just as important as anything we will leave behind. Polish your words of wisdom and share your story…your personal journey…your HERstory. We’ll discuss how your personal story is a vital part of the universal story.

What is important to you right now? How do you spend your time? What are you passionate about? You live your Legacy every day of your life. I’m passionate that you embrace the fact your story has value! My mission is to support you to claim your voice and deliver the message you are here to share with the world.

Writing is how I tap into my creativity and give voice to my message on a daily basis. I start my day with a pot of tea, my journal along with my favorite fountain pen, and a collection of inspirational reading material. 

Some folks find letter writing to be their favorite way to journal. Unsent letters are one way, Anne Frank addressed her thoughts to “Dear Kitty,” you could do something similar. That was her story. Tell Your Story. Don’t worry that you need a new program for your computer, or a fancy leather bound journal to record your thoughts. Registration for this workshop includes all materials necessary to start your story journey.

Worried you won’t know what to say? Wondering how to “do” this writing thing? We’re going to cover all of that so register today!

Please don’t miss this opportunity to Step Into Your Story and Unleash Your Story Worth Writing!  

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Writing your hurt story

sunrise success

 

I recently had a fabulous coaching session with an amazing new client. What she shared with me and what I want to share with you are perhaps universal fears when you think about sitting down to write…

  • you don’t know enough
  • you won’t know what to say when you do decide to write
  • your flaws will be exposed when you share…discrediting your message

The good news is you can put those fears to rest…

You have the stuff when you tap into your head and your heart to connect with your readers because…

You know plenty! The fact that you are concerned that you have enough to say speaks to your passion to share information of value…to educate, inform, uplift and transform…you want to make a difference in the lives of your audience. 

You will know what to say when you decide to write. Think about a shy child who is excited to share a discovery of an amazing thing…it could be a mud puddle to splash in, or a giant cloud shaped like an elephant…she’s so fascinated by the news she wants to share that she forgets she’s the child who is afraid to speak in public.

Your passion is just like that little one’s enthusiasm, and you can’t wait to share something amazing with your audience. 

Your message has a better chance to be heard because you expose your own flaws… in your admission of feelings of vulnerability…insecurity…shortcomings allows your audience to establish a connection…to feel what you feel…identify with you…and dare I say to see a reflection of them.

Your flaws make you human. Your audience wants to build a relationship with another human being in this world of amazing technology there continues to be a great need for old-fashioned human contact.

Writing has been a way for me to connect my head and my heart and sharing my truth ever since I started confiding in my journal as a pre-teen. And when the inner critic chatter starts in…just remember we are in excellent company…

“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.” Maya Angelou

The words on the page open doors and reveal paths to travel beyond your dreams into worlds of wonder.

Now that we’ve talked about the fears of what to say, who will listen, and sharing your truth…what will you share?

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] I express my creativity when I…

travel writingI express my creativity when I…

Friday five-minute writing prompt

Take out a fresh sheet of paper. Natalie Goldberg uses a “fast-writing” pen. I suggest using your favorite writing instrument and an unlined piece of colored paper for fun. I use a fountain pen with purple ink. Some folks opt to use their computer. If that is your preferred method to write, then just open a new word document on your computer and go for it. The point is to keep your fingers moving for five minutes and not stop. I want you to experience how much writing can be accomplished in a short period.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – I express my creativity when I or any other phrase that is comfortable for you. Do not stop to edit, correct spelling, look up a better word, or rearrange a sentence. Do not question what comes up in the five minutes: this doesn’t make sense, where did that come from, or what a crazy notion. This is a timed writing exercise so be sure to set the timer on your watch, phone, microwave, computer, or kitchen stove. Whether you use an egg timer, a No. 2 pencil and a spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, hum a tune, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

[Coaxing Creativity Tip] The story only you can tell…

Happy woman with stretched arms in flower fieldEveryone has a story…everyone has lots of stories. Now, I’m not talking about the old line, “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it,” where somebody may be telling tall tales to get out of a sticky situation.

I’m talking about the stories you tell yourself to keep motivated and on the right path to success.   The stories of your life…fundamental to open communication with others as well as yourself. Take a few minutes to write a character sketch about you. What do you want to be remembered for? Skip the statistics, you can find those almost anywhere.

  • Were you the first one in your family to graduate college…go to college?
  • Were you known for blowing the biggest bubbles with your bubble gum.
  • Were you the first kid on the ice every year?
  • Are you known for picking out exactly the right gift for each person on your list…Christmas, birthdays, celebrations?
  • Do you bake, sew, build, garden, or____________?
  • Do you travel, explore, ramble, or stroll?
  • Are you the person who is the first one on the scene when a friend needs a word or encouragement, or an outing to cheer them up?
  • Do you paint pictures with a brush, pen or camera?
  • Do you decorate, design, or create environments to nurture those who inhabit the spaces?

Write about something no one else knows.  We’re listening! Give us a story…

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com