This week I gave a presentation at the San Francisco Professional Career Network Meet-Up entitled “Create Your Success Story.” I talked about using the stressors in our lives (losing a job, major move, catastrophic illness) to fuel our ability to change our story. Using the example of how I’ve tapped into my creativity to gain insight into how I could help myself, I invited the group to participate in a few exercises to engage their senses along with activating their imagination and intuition. Some of the “left-brain” thinkers were hesitant about the connection between playful exercise and job hunting. However, all of my suggestions were targeted to have them listen to their intuition and hidden dreams instead of the next logical step according to the business models. Take a look and the video and you can judge for yourself the results on their faces and the colorful collages.
Do you remember Pollyanna’s Glad Game? Last weekend I happened upon the classic movie about a little girl who loses her missionary parents and is sent to live with her spinster aunt. The girl has been raised with positive, always look on the bright side, type of attitude. Once the Missionary Barrel brought a pair of child size crutches when she was hoping for a doll. Her father invented the Glad Game and they decided they were very glad she didn’t need the crutches. Her aunt is stern, strict and seems to lack any kind of tender emotion. Eventually, an accident has the pair switch perspectives and Aunt Polly realizes she is glad Pollyanna came into her life.
The next time you start to feel a little blue, play the Glad Game. You may stress less and enjoy the little things in life more. Choose to think about what you are glad about. I was glad we had some sunshine this weekend instead of all the fog and cloudy weather. I was glad to have two whole days without appointments and driving in heavy traffic to sift through things that had accumulted during the week.
What are you glad about?
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 email@example.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.
Follow the sun, get in some summer fun and experience the beauty of everything August. Have a picnic in the park, build a campfire at sunset and roast marshmallows, go swing on a swing set, or feed the animals at the zoo. Whatever has been keeping you inside, give yourself permission to head outside and follow the sun this week. You may find a new way to de-stress, increase productivity and boost your creativity! I’m going to go to the beach and stick my toes in the warm sand and generate some new ideas for my writing!