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

 

 

[Coaxing Creativity Tip] I believe in you…

 

Mary "Writer Unleashed" Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

Mary “Writer Unleashed” Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

Have you ever received a note of encouragement in the mail at the exact moment you needed to hear positive words?

You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth…Oh, I believe in you. I believe in you. Lyrics from the musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

 For many years I have attended a women’s retreat in Northern California. On the final morning of our retreat, our beloved workshop leader passes out envelopes and 3 x 5 index cards. We are then invited to follow a set of simple instructions:  address the envelope to yourself, write something on the 3 x 5 card, put the index card in the envelope, seal the envelope, then drop the envelope in the box provided in the front of the room. The note can be one word or a paragraph. It could be congratulatory words about how far we’ve come in realizing our dreams, simply a question asking what have we done to bring about the fulfillment of our goals, or a loving reminder to practice the nurturing spirit we experienced while on retreat.

Our retreat leader then takes the box home with her. Six months from the end of our retreat, she stamps the self-addressed letters and mails them. Many, many times I have been delighted to receive the pleasant momento of that spirit-filled weekend and astonished at the prophetic words I’ve written by the Fragile Me attending the retreat to console, inspire and reassure the Future Me who so appreciated receiving the loving gesture.

What better way to honor Effective Communications Month than to communicate with someone we are extremely close to, yet seldom acknowledge her strengths, talents, and passions.

Today take out a pen and some pretty paper, a note card, a post card,  (an index card in an envelope will do) and write a sentence or two in praise of YOU! Not sure what you want to say? OK, write down a favorite quote, or a line of poetry. Something that will inspire you, gives you pause, or evokes a sigh of delight.

What about song lyrics…I believe in YOU!

I’d love to hear what this post has brought up for you.

I can’t wait to see what the mail will bring… 

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 your readers 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

Encouraging words are effective communication…

 

Mary "Writer Unleashed" Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

Mary “Writer Unleashed” Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth…Oh, I believe in you. I believe in you. 

Lyrics from the popular musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Have you ever received a note of encouragement in the mail at the exact moment you needed to hear positive words?

 For many years I have attended a women’s retreat in Northern California. On the final morning of our retreat, our beloved workshop leader passes out envelopes and 3 x 5 index cards. We are then invited to follow a set of simple instructions:  address the envelope to yourself, write something on the 3 x 5 card, put the index card in the envelope, seal the envelope, then drop the envelope in the box provided in the front of the room. The note can be one word or a paragraph. It could be congratulatory words about how far we’ve come in realizing our dreams, simply a question asking what have we done to bring about the fulfillment of our goals, or a loving reminder to practice the nurturing spirit we experienced while on retreat.

Carolyn Foster, our beloved retreat leader, then takes the box home with her. Six months from the end of our retreat, she stamps the self-addressed letters and mails them. Many, many times I have been delighted to receive the pleasant memento of that spirit-filled weekend and astonished at the prophetic words I’ve written by the Fragile Me attending the retreat to console, inspire and reassure the Future Me who so appreciated receiving the loving gesture.

What better way to honor Effective Communications Month than to communicate with someone we are extremely close to, yet seldom acknowledge her strengths, talents, and passions.

Today take out a pen and some pretty paper, a note card, a post card,  (an index card in an envelope will do) and write a sentence or two in praise of YOU! Not sure what you want to say? OK, write down a favorite quote, song lyrics, or a line of poetry. Something that will inspire you, gives you pause, or evokes a sigh of delight.

Hop over to my Facebook page to share what you come up with.

I’d love to hear what this post has brought up for you. 

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] My state of grace…

 

Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt

writer unleashed timed writing prompt

My state of grace…

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 of time.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – My state of grace… 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 spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and/or 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.

[Coaxing Creativity Tuesday Tip] Encouraging words…

 

Mary "Writer Unleashed" Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

Mary “Writer Unleashed” Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth…Oh, I believe in you. I believe in you. 

Lyrics from the popular musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Have you ever received a note of encouragement in the mail at the exact moment you needed to hear positive words?

 For many years I have attended a women’s retreat in Northern California. On the final morning of our retreat, our beloved workshop leader passes out envelopes and 3 x 5 index cards. We are then invited to follow a set of simple instructions:  address the envelope to yourself, write something on the 3 x 5 card, put the index card in the envelope, seal the envelope, then drop the envelope in the box provided in the front of the room. The note can be one word or a paragraph. It could be congratulatory words about how far we’ve come in realizing our dreams, simply a question asking what have we done to bring about the fulfillment of our goals, or a loving reminder to practice the nurturing spirit we experienced while on retreat.

Our retreat leader then takes the box home with her. Six months from the end of our retreat, she stamps the self-addressed letters and mails them. Many, many times I have been delighted to receive the pleasant momento of that spirit-filled weekend and astonished at the prophetic words I’ve written by the Fragile Me attending the retreat to console, inspire and reassure the Future Me who so appreciated receiving the loving gesture.

What better way to honor Effective Communications Month than to communicate with someone we are extremely close to, yet seldom acknowledge her strengths, talents, and passions.

Today take out a pen and some pretty paper, a note card, a post card,  (an index card in an envelope will do) and write a sentence or two in praise of YOU! Not sure what you want to say? OK, write down a favorite quote, or a line of poetry. Something that will inspire you, gives you pause, or evokes a sigh of delight.

What about song lyrics…I believe in YOU!

I’d love to hear what this post has brought up for you.

I can’t wait to see what the mail will bring… 

I love having a dream…

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14496244I love having a dream…I don’t know about you, but when I was a child my dreams came out of books. Books from the library…books from my mother’s book club…books from the classic reading list.

But my favorite of all time was the one I was was writing about what I’d do someday…my journal.

My book of dreams.

What I could imagine came to life between those pages.  My favorite scenes were of me writing and talking about my books around the world. I wasn’t sure exactly what the books were about, but they had an a tremendous impact on the world.

My words mattered. What I said mattered. I mattered.

Sometimes I was writing in my cottage in the Cotswalds, or on an island surrounded by tropical palms, white sands and turquoise blue water. Temperatures were never too hot, or too cold. Warm breezes and sunny days.

I agree with Eleanor Roosevelt who said, the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

I have a beautiful life and is so much better than I had ever imagined of the places I’d go, the people I’d meet and the experiences I have had.  The beautiful thing is that we all can dream. And our dreams can take us places when we believe…desire…do! Every great invention, work or art, or scientific break through was once a germ of an idea…a dream.

Dreams can reach for the stars, but wanting to take in a starlit night from the comfort of a down comforter on a crisp fall night is a worthy dream too.

Writing has always been a part of my dreams.

Whether you are writing for the world, to enhance your relationship with your customers, or just to make sense of your own thoughts is a worthwhile dream.  

What do you love to dream about?

 

 

[Friday five-minute writing prompt] What are you grateful for?

Friday five-minute writing prompt – What are you grateful for?

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 of time.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – What are you grateful for? 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 spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and/or fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment. Enjoy!

Writing to heal

Writing has always been a constant in my life. A journal writer since the age of 11, writing in my journal helped me cope with whatever I was experiencing in my life. Big or small,  whether it was childhood teasing from my older brother, or my all too adult entries about my 20th century breast cancer surgeries. I wanted to give back and show my gratitude for my good health and chose to volunteer Breast Cancer Connections (BCC), a unique non-profit organization located in Menlo Park. What I love about this incredibly dedicated and talented group is that they offer warmth, compassion and understanding in generous doses along with access to free programs and services. Recently, I had the privilege to be able to help two amazing women from BCC, Ann Rivella and Robin Salafia, tell the stories of their breast cancer journeys and finding their “new normal” in Gentry Magazine’s 2012 Health issue. Yes, writing is very healing on all sorts of levels. Sharing information about this wonderful organization is a joy for me. Thank you, Gentry Magazine for inviting BCC to submit an article. Thank you, BCC for allowing me to be part of the opportunity to spread the word about the women (and men), and the work of Breast Cancer Connections. 

Peace – Coaxing Creativity Tuesday Tip Dec. 20, 2011

Peace…peace and tranquility, peace and quiet, peace be with you. Let the word settle over you like a blanket and wrap you in solitude. This time of year we may be so caught up in all the preparations, we’ll be too exhausted to actually enjoy what we are preparing for! Take a few minutes of whatever gives you peace:  sitting quietly with a cup of tea, working on a craft project, taking a walk in nature, listening to some soothing music, writing in your journal, sitting in a hot tub with a glass of something bubbly, or whatever calms your jangling nerves. Above all, remember to be present in this moment. You will never have another one like it again. May you be at peace. 

Ideas on where to begin writing from Your Writing Mentor

Whether you are a seasoned writer, or new to the world of words, we all dread getting started. 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 beginning, start at the end, or start in the middle. What? That doesn’t make any sense, start in the middle? Start at the end?

 

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! Then 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!

 

How does one 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.

 

If you start at the end, write your conclusion first and then create 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 your readers to follow.

I often 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…

 

Your Writing Mentor

 

Mary E. Knippel

 

P.S.  I’d love to hear your writing system.

 

 

Start something creative today – Coaxing Creativity Tuesda Tip May 4, 2010

May is Creative Beginnings Month and today is a perfect day to start something you’ve been thinking about but never seem to get around to doing. Is there an idea or project that’s been waiting in the wings for you to find a few minutes to do some research? Are you ready to tackle a challenge…fly-fishing, watercolors, knitting, journal writing, gardening, cooking, or baking? What’s been lingering in the corners of your mind until you decide it’s time to actually bring it into the light. No, I realize you can’t just pick up a new skill in half an hour. However, you can flip through a magazine, surf the web, or just kick back, plant the seed, and imagine the possibility.