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

 

 

What are your 2017 dreams?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image871073Dream a little dream with me and decide how you want to design a brand new future for yourself in 2017!

January offers us all a new beginning and an opportunity to start over. That’s why so many of us, approximately 40%,  spend Dec. 31 writing resolutions. 

  • 34% of us set resolutions related to money
  • 38% of us set resolutions related to weight
  • 47% want to do something geared toward self-improvement or education
  • 31% of us set resolutions related to relationships

Are any of these topics on your list?

How confident are you feeling about making the journey from resolution to reality?

Are you ready to do something about that dream to…

  • get the education you need to pursue your heart’s desire
  • start that new business
  • enter that marathon
  • launch your website
  • write that book
  • develop a lasting relationship
  • save for that dream (vacation, home, car, boat, horse)

You don’t have to go it alone. Join a professional organization, heck start one of your own! Or organize a Mastermind Group. Research your mentors to observe how they surround themselves with a team. If you’d like to brainstorm with me, schedule a complimentary time to talk.

In fact, human nature suggests that when we share out loud our hopes and dreams we are much more likely to achieve our goals. And people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

Little Mary

Little Mary photographed by E..A.Overland

As a child, I didn’t see myself living beyond 100 miles of where I was growing up. Today my dreams have taken me half way around the world writing, speaking and living in joy!

Hop over to my Facebook page and share where your dreams take you.

 

 

 

graphics photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

What are your 2016 dreams?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image871073Dream a little dream with me and decide how you want to design a brand new future for yourself in 2016!

January offers us all a new beginning and an opportunity to start over. That’s why so many of us, approximately 40%,  spend Dec. 31 writing resolutions. 

  • 34% of us set resolutions related to money
  • 38% of us set resolutions related to weight
  • 47% want to do something geared toward self-improvement or education
  • 31% of us set resolutions related to relationships

Are any of these topics on your list?

How confident are you feeling about making the journey from resolution to reality?

Are you ready to do something about that dream to…

  • get the education you need to pursue your heart’s desire
  • start that new business
  • enter that marathon
  • launch your website
  • write that book
  • develop a lasting relationship
  • save for that dream…vacation, home, car, boat, horse

You don’t have to go it alone. Join a professional organization, or start one. Research your mentors to observe how they surround themselves with a team. If you’d like to brainstorm with me, schedule a complimentary time to talk.

In fact, human nature suggests that when we share out loud our hopes and dreams we are much more likely to achieve our goals. And people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

Little Mary

Little Mary photographed by E..A.Overland

As a child, I didn’t see myself living beyond 100 miles of where I was growing up. Today my dreams have taken me half way around the world writing, speaking and living in joy!

Hop over to my Facebook page and share where your dreams take you.

 

 

 

graphics photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

[Free Training] Creativity Musings

heartpaintingMEKeditHow do you respond to this question:  Are you creative?

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” Mary Lou Cook

January is International Creativity Month – a whole month dedicated to Creativity! Well, I know that creativity is important on a daily basis. So many people believe that if they aren’t an artist that creativity isn’t important to them. Or, because the art they create will never hang in a famous museum, you shouldn’t presume to call yourself an artist.

I was one of those people. I thought I wasn’t an artist because I’d never have a painting hung in a gallery, or be awarded a prize for my pottery. It took me a long time to think of myself as an artist. To realize that the medium I am most passionate about is writing…and exploring other forms of expression gives me great joy.

Writing changes lives. I have been a journal writer for many, many years. I have found writing as a creative outlet is a tremendous healing tool. And taking ownership in my role in my healing has made a huge difference in my life; in the quality of the state of my mind, my body, and my spirit. After my breast cancer experiences,  I was delighted to realize that the prescription at the ends of my fingertips…the power in the act of writing…and my attitude had and have as much to do with my well-being as any medication I put in my body.

As your Creativity Mentor, I share my own experiences and offer you ideas of ways to tap into your Creativity. 

Consider these forms of creative expression:

  1. Do you like to cook?
  2. Do you like to garden?
  3. Do you ever read a map and choose a different route rather than the most practical…or wing it?
  4. Do you try new things?
  5. Do you take risks?
  6. Are you adventurous?
  7. Do you tinker and invent things?

Being creative is more than making art – it’s an attitude. It’s a state of mind. 

What about you? After all this discussion, where are you creative? Hop over to my Facebook page and share, or show us.

photo credit:  MEKnippel (painted by the author)

[Free Training] This list thing…

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-woman-looking-magnifying-glass-tablet-computer-close-up-image31016251A lot of us are making lists this time of year.

Writing things down…making things happen…getting things done.

Who do you need to connect with before the end of the year to finish off projects and deliver on promises.

Perhaps you are taking stock of how you want to make changes for next year.

Maybe you are assembling a wish list of tasks that need to be completed to feel that you have accomplished specific goals. 

So here’s my perspective on what a list could be… 

L – a list is a way to organize your life…simplify things and give it structure…break things down into manageable chunks and avoid overwhelm when faced with one huge task or an enormous amount of small tasks.

I – a list is a chance to invite others to help you achieve a goal

S – a list is permission for you to schedule time for yourself by putting YOU on the schedule (it could be something like a special treat to eat, a walk to get away from your desk, or a trip to the spa)

T – a list is a piece of paper, if it isn’t working…throw it out and write another one. It is a suggested group of options, it is not a law, critical specifications, nor a series of obstacles to overcome before you can move on to another activity

A list is supposed to help…not hinder your ability to function. It’s job is to assist you in daily life…if it is not assisting you…if it is hindering you…take pleasure in ripping it up, ceremoniously torching it, or flushing it down the drain. Eliminate the plan that isn’t working and create a new one.

Now, I insist that there is something I feel strongly about with this list thing…I believe you should always have a nurturing activity on the list…a reward…a bribe…inspiration…whatever you call it, be sure you have something enticing at the end of the list to make your efforts worthwhile. 

I’d love to hear about your perspective on lists…hop over to my Facebook page to share your story.

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

February…what do you love?

February is about loveMake a list and write about a new subject you love every day this month…

1.  Family and friends

2.  Writing in your journal to remember, reconcile and ramp up

3. Tea

4.  Any romantic movie with Cary Grant

5.  Learning how other women have lived by reading their own words

6.  Volunteering for your favorite cause

7.  The smell of a real Christmas tree

8.  Crisp fall days with the crunch of leaves under foot

9.  Getting a pedicure or having your feet rubbed

10. A tub full of hot water and  scented bubbles

11.  Hearing the words “I love you”

12.  Hearing the words “you’re going to be fine” after surgery

13.  Receiving the “all-clear” on your mammogram reports

14.  Walking on a nature trail or along the beach

15.  Feeling the salt on your lips from the ocean breeze

16.  Eating clam chowder

17.  Eating pop corn with real butter and watching old movies

18.  Snuggling on the couch with your Sweetie

19.  Getting a phone call from your daughter/son/special child

20.  Sharing a cuppa with your Tea  Cronies

21.  Attending/performing in live theatre

22.  Playing with stamps and beads

23.  Hearing personal stories

24.  Traveling around the world and hearing all the stories people have to share without knowing each other’s language

25.  Sharing what you learned from your mentors

26.  Crawling into your cozy bed at the end of a long day

27.  Getting up in the morning to have another chance to make a difference

28.  Relishing Life

29.  Witnessing a sunrise

30.  Savoring a sunset

Makin’ a list?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-woman-looking-magnifying-glass-tablet-computer-close-up-image31016251A lot of us are making lists this time of year.

Writing things down…making things happen…getting things done.

Who do you need to connect with before the end of the year to finish off projects and deliver on promises.

Perhaps you are taking stock of how you want to make changes for next year.

Maybe you are assembling a wish list of tasks that need to be completed to feel that you have accomplished specific goals. 

So here’s my perspective on what a list could be… 

L – a list is a way to organize your life…simplify things and give it structure…break things down into manageable chunks and avoid overwhelm when faced with one huge task or an enormous amount of small tasks.

I – a list is a chance to invite others to help you achieve a goal

S – a list is permission for you to schedule time for yourself by putting YOU on the schedule (it could be something like a special treat to eat, a walk to get away from your desk, or a trip to the spa)

T – a list is a piece of paper, if it isn’t working…throw it out and write another one. It is a suggested group of options, it is not a law, critical specifications, nor a series of obstacles to overcome before you can move on to another activity

A list is supposed to help…not hinder your ability to function. It’s job is to assist you in daily life…if it is not assisting you…if it is hindering you…take pleasure in ripping it up, ceremoniously torching it, or flushing it down the drain. Eliminate the plan that isn’t working and create a new one.

Now, I insist that there is something I feel strongly about with this list thing…I believe you should always have a nurturing activity on the list…a reward…a bribe…inspiration…whatever you call it, be sure you have something enticing at the end of the list to make your efforts worthwhile. 

I’d love to hear about your perspective on lists…hop over to my Facebook page to share your story.

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

February is all about love…

February is about loveMake a list and write about a new subject you love every day this month

I love…

1.  My family and friends

2.  Writing in my journal to remember, reconcile and ramp up

3. Fortnum & Mason Earl Grey Classic Tea

4.  Any romantic movie with Cary Grant

5.  Learning how other women have lived by reading their own words

6.  Being part of the San Francisco Writers Conference for the past 10 years as a volunteer, Independent Editor, and presenter

7.  The smell of a real Christmas tree

8.  Crisp fall days with the crunch of leaves under foot

9.  Getting my feet rubbed 

10. A tub full of hot water and  scented bubbles

11.  Hearing the words “I love you”

12.  Hearing the words “you’re going to be fine” after surgery

13.  Receiving the “all-clear” on your mammogram reports

14.  Walking on the coastal trail and watching the waves crash on the sand 

15.  Feeling the salt on my lips from the ocean breeze

16.  Eating clam chowder 

17.  Eating pop corn with real butter and watching old movies

18.  Snuggling on the couch with my Sweetie

19.  Getting a phone call from my daughter

20.  Sharing a cuppa with my Tea  Cronies

21.  Attending and performing in live theatre

22.  Playing with my stamps and beads

23.  Helping women gain the confidence to unleash their stories

24.  Traveling around the world and hearing all the stories people have to share without knowing each other’s language

25.  Sharing what I’ve learned from my mentors

26.  Crawling into my cozy bed at the end of a long day

27.  Getting up in the morning to have another chance to make a difference

28.  Witnessing life

What’s on your list?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-woman-looking-magnifying-glass-tablet-computer-close-up-image31016251A lot of us are making lists this time of year.

Writing things down…making things happen…getting things done.

Who do you need to connect with before the end of the year to finish off projects and deliver on promises.

Perhaps you are taking stock of how you want to make changes for next year.

Maybe you are assembling a wish list of tasks that need to be completed to feel that you have accomplished specific goals. 

So here’s my perspective on what a list could be… 

L – a list is a way to organize your life…simplify things and give it structure…break things down into manageable chunks and avoid overwhelm when faced with one huge task or an enormous amount of small tasks.

I – a list is a chance to invite others to help you achieve a goal

S – a list is permission for you to schedule time for yourself by putting YOU on the schedule (it could be something like a special treat to eat, a walk to get away from your desk, or a trip to the spa)

T – a list is a piece of paper, if it isn’t working…throw it out and write another one. It is a suggested group of options, it is not a law, critical specifications, nor a series of obstacles to overcome before you can move on to another activity

A list is supposed to help…not hinder your ability to function. It’s job is to assist you in daily life…if it is not assisting you…if it is hindering you…take pleasure in ripping it up, ceremoniously torching it, or flushing it down the drain. Eliminate the plan that isn’t working and create a new one.

Now, I insist that there is something I feel strongly about with this list thing…I believe you should always have a nurturing activity on the list…a reward…a bribe…inspiration…whatever you call it, be sure you have something enticing at the end of the list to make your efforts worthwhile. 

I’d love to hear about your perspective on lists…hop over to my Facebook page to share your story.

Check your list twice – Coaxing Creativity Tuesday Tip, Dec. 27, 2011

That Jolly Old Elf St. Nick checked his list twice and I think we should do the same. But our list is comprised of celebrations and successes for 2011. Make it as long as you want and include everything from spending time enjoying a sunset, cooking healthy meals, recycling, giving back to the community, exercising, opening a new business, publishing your first book, posting your first blog article, actually taking a vacation, to learning to speak French for your trip to Paris in 2012. Include all your firsts, your lasts, and everything in between.

What made you jump for joy?

What made you sigh in relief?

What fills you with pride?

Before we welcome 2012, give 2011 a round of applause and heartfelt gratitude.

List making as a writing tool

I love lists. I could make a list about making lists! They are not just “Honey Do” lists around the house, or remembering to buy milk and eggs at the grocery store. A list is a valuable tool and asset in your writing. Lists help us organize our thoughts and add structure to a free form activity. Lists keep us grounded, without inhibiting the creative process. However, I need to use caution and I advise you to do the same. Writing about everything I think I need to do and trying to cram it all into my schedule, can lead to overwhelm and ultimately a full out shutdown. Nevertheless, list making is a way for me to combine left-brain and right-brain activities. My analytical left-brain enjoys exploring new concepts and figuring things out. My creative right-brain is delighted to have new ideas to digest and incorporate. I have less stress and am more productive when I work from a list.

Make a list the next time you are stuck on a writing project. List the bullet points of the argument you want to make. List your chapter headings. List your key words/phrases which convey your core message. Do a free write about your subject and number every new thought. Free associate key words in word clouds. Some writers create a collage of their core message and arguments, illustrating stories and personal antidotes on different colored sticky notes. They arrange the colored paper on a board, floor, or desktop until they are happy with the flow of the presentation. During editing, I’ve been known to make a print out and then cut up my work so that I could rearrange the whole piece. Experiment and see what feels right for you. Perhaps it is one method over the others, or a combination of them.

Sometimes, after you’ve made your list, your writing project is still not coming into focus. It can be frustrating when you don’t know what to do next. Your Writing Mentor would be happy to discuss your writing challenge. Contact me at mary@yourwritingmentor.com to schedule a free 20-minute consultation to discuss your web site copy, blog posts, or newsletter articles.

Mary E. Knippel, Your Writing Mentor, is a creative professional with 25 years of extensive writing experience. Using her skills as a free-lance writer, editor, speaker and workshop facilitator, Mary encourages reluctant writers to embrace their writing potential and address their writing challenges with fun and flair. For the past three years, she has been the Independent Editor Coordinator (aka Book Doctors) for the San Francisco Writers Conference, where professional editors advise fledgling writers. Recently, she participated as a panelist for the Northern California Storybook Festival and the Bay Area Film Festival. She is an active member of many professional writing organizations and past board member of such non-profits as the Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco and the California Writers Club-Peninsula Branch.

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