All posts tagged: the magic of words

Exercise Time!

Here’s a great exercise that is simple yet amazing. Whether you’re a non-fiction writer like me, or someone who loves to write novels, this short exercise will help clarify issues, point you towards new directions, or show you something you missed in whatever it is you are writing. This is the first exercise in Andy Couturier’s Writing Open the Mind. The book’s subtitle is Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer – and if you do this exercise from a perspective of play, you’ll see some amazing revelations pertaining to your writing project. To begin, keep in mind the writing project you want to focus on. It could be a book, a novel, an article or a simple blog post. Now get a sheet of large paper and make five columns with the following headings: Scenes, moods, questions, concepts and for the last column, faces. All you need now is seven minutes to write as fast as you can, anything that comes to mind pertaining to each column. Under the column “Scenes,” write about places – …

Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers: On Writing a Book

The two-week Transformational Author Experience is over and I am grateful that I was able to listen to several powerful and learned people who were willing to share their experiences. It left me with mixed feelings about becoming an author. I admired the great speakers, especially the writers who shared their wisdom about the craft of writing. But then it got all muddled up for me…and I don’t know if it’s because I have embraced a Zen-inspired life, or maybe I’m simply an introvert. But all the stuff about promoting and marketing, social media, building an author’s platform, and learning how to be a speaker, made me feel like crawling into a cocoon. It was great learning though, and I am grateful that I was able to listen to Christine Kloser, Panache Desai and Mark Matousek talk about the process of writing a book. Transmuting Writer’s Block Worth sharing with all of you are the thoughts of Christine Kloser on writer’s block. Kloser asked Matousek what his thoughts were on “That perceived thing called writer’s …

Digging Through My Journals: Lessons on Choosing the Right Journal

After journaling for decades, I recently hit a plateau and could not get the pen to move on the paper as fast as I used to. After a few months of touch and go, I decided it was time to take a closer look at my journaling habits and perhaps incorporate a few changes here and there. To do that, I thought of going through all my journals – those that I hadn’t burned. I had burned many journals simply because I felt they had served their purpose. The remaining ones were written during the past eight years.  I hadn’t decided what to do with them – it’s not yet their time to get burned, apparently. The notebooks had been stored in a cabinet in my room and it’s been a few years since I’ve looked at them closely. It was surprising to see that through the years I had written on spiral notebooks in different colors but all of the same size. I had forgotten about these notebooks, but upon seeing them again, I …

Why Writers Keep Journals

  I don’t remember exactly when I began writing on a journal. Unlike some writers who remember the precise time and day when they first wrote on their first journal, journal writing crept into my life slowly and unceremoniously. But if I am ever to lay claim to the title “Writer,” the only viable reason I can give is that I have been a journal writer most of my life.  It is the only writing activity that I have constantly practiced since I was young. In my younger years, journal writing had been a venting place where I could write without abandon about things that confused, saddened and angered me.  Later on, it became a safe place where I could write about the deep secrets that I could not share with anyone. In my adult years, when I worked as a photojournalist, then as a journalist, the journal was my constant companion through my travels to the jungles, the mountains, and into other people’s lives. I wrote in hotel rooms, at tiny eateries in the …

The Graciousness of Life

“So, Joe, why grow your hair long? Why not just go bald?” Len asked our friend Joe, matter-of-factly.  I heard Joe mutter something, but my mind was far too preoccupied to listen to his answer.  I gazed out the car window, thinking of Joe’s back hair gathered into a thin, foot-long ponytail, his head topped by a glistening crown that was bare of any hair strands. “Just like Pico de Loro,” I thought, sadly anticipating the sight of deforestation at the  two-peaked mountain my mountaineering buddies and I had climbed many years ago.  On this cloudy Friday, my friends Len, Joe and I were finally headed to the beach house owned by Len’s family, and she promised us we would pass by a resort that had been built on a cove near Pico de Loro. I say “finally,” because Len had, for years, been asking me to visit their beach house.  When I acquiesced, I asked her to invite our Tai-Chi teacher-friend Joe. Living in a country that is an archipelago composed of 7,100 islands, …

Praying

“Every day there are moments when I find myself drawn to pray.  I pray because I must, because regardless of my good intentions I lose my bearings.  I make mistakes. I am stopped by the way the world challenges and confounds my plans.  When a loved one is beset by illness, ache, or fear, I pray their healing may be deep and true.  When I feel suddenly lost or lonely, I pray for the comfort of a nourishing spirit that will tech me, show me the way.  At other times my prayer is filled with gratefulness for the numberless blessings showered on any life. In these moments, my prayer is astonishingly simple: Thank you.” –Wayne Muller in LEARNING TO PRAY,  How We Find Heaven on Earth  Photo courtesy of MorgueFile In loving memory of Rosauro Cruz, 1935-2013  

Generate 10 Blog Posts Through Mind Mapping

Over at yeah write‘s 31 dbbb, we learned how to come up with 10 blog posts through mind mapping, a technique  that allows the brain to open up and freely explore. By using Tony Buzan’s mind mapping technique, you will allow your mind to enjoy the freedom to explore heretofore undiscovered areas of your brain.  Buzan says mind mapping “harnesses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, color and spatial awareness – in a single, uniquely powerful manner.” No to outlines, yes to branching The sequential linear outline is out, mainly because it’s left-brained thinking.  What’s in is using both sides of our brain through mind mapping.  During mind mapping,  ideas come from the center—a main source, or focal point—and radiates outwards with as many rays as our minds can conceive. This is whole-brain thinking. In 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, Darren Rowse shows us how he came up with so many blog post ideas from a single blog post he had previously written.  Copying his style of mind mapping, …

Sunday’ Blessings…in a Word Cloud

“Ideas don’t respond to the force of our wills – damn them. We can’t make them appear. That’s why when we’re feeling blocked it does little good to pound our way through. It won’t work. We’ll grow even more frustrated and further away from where we need to be to find ideas…Getting ideas requires allowing our minds to yield. The ideas are there, but we have to wait for them quietly. Poet William Stafford compared the creative process to fishing…Maintaining this mindset is not easy. We live in a results-oriented society. We learn to be productive, to have something to show for our efforts. We want proof we are making progress, getting better.  As writers, we ant finished pieces and each piece should be better than the one before it. If we’re going to the trouble of rising at the crack of dawn, we’d better get something out of it. “To be more creative, you need to resist these impulses. Some days will be effortless. Some days will be impossible, just as some days the …

Haiku

A haiku is a short poem, that is unrhymed and syllabic in form – the poem consists of only three lines with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second and 5 again on the last line. This form of poetry first appeared in Japan some 700 years ago, and reached the Western hemisphere in the 19th century, with the reopening of Japan’s harbors to American and European trade and travel. Haiku contains two juxtaposed ideas but the two are grammatically independent and usually are also imagistically distinct. Although Japanese haiku are often written in one straight line,  English haiku is written in three lines. Either way, the objective is to create a “leap” between the two juxtaposed ideas.  The meaning of the poem is heightened by providing an “internal comparison.”  When writing haiku, the challenge is to avoid an obvious connection between the two ideas, and at the same time  avoid a great disassociation. Most haikus are about nature, and traditionally, the focus is on the details in the environment as they …

Limericks – Precision, Rhymes and Fun!

A few years ago I used to regularly host the “Carnival of Healing,” which was begun by Philameana Lila Desy. During one of the carnivals, Madeleine Begun Kane submitted her blog for consideration. Madeleine’s “MAD KANE’S HUMOR BLOG Humor Columns, Limericks, Light Verse & Satirical Poems“ wasn’t a blog about healing  but I included it in the carnival anyway because it spelled FUN, and anything that brings fun brings about healing. On Mondays, MAD KANE ‘s theme is Limerick-Off Monday, and everyone is invited to create and post a limerick based on several choices for the first lines provided by Madeleine.  The best submission is declared “Limerick of the week.” I often submit my limericks to MAD KANE.  I enjoy creating limericks as well as reading the limericks other bloggers post on her blog. Wikipedia defines a limerick as “a short, humorous, often ribald or nonsense poem,[1] especially one in five-line anapestic or amphibrachic meter with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA), which is sometimes obscene with humorous intent. The form can be found in England as of the early years of the 18th century.[2] It was popularized by Edward Lear in the …

Journaling: A habit worth forming

For the month of June, I will be participating for the first time in the Wordcount Blogathon 2013.  I have participated in blogathons through my other blog, Writing Prompts from Life.  Blogathons are fun and help instill the daily writing habit. For this blogathon, I will be posting about writing practices, tools and exercises. “I really feel lazy to write here but it’s good that I started.”  This was how I began my journal entry last night, before I went to bed.  Could I have gone to bed without writing on my journal?  Yes, but I know it wouldn’t have felt good. Habits are hard to break. I have been journaling for many decades now, but unlike many journal writers, I have no clear memory of the time when I first wrote on a journal.  And I didn’t realize until a few years ago that the habit I had formed through the years offers many benefits other than being a friend when it was hard to find one; listening to my woes at any time of …

Love for the Written Word

It has been often said that a writer who does not have a love for the written word cannot succeed.  I honestly don’t know how true this is, but I know I love words – I enjoy reading them and it is pure pleasure to use words to create.  Where this love came from, I don’t know.  It certainly wasn’t learned from the grownups around me when I was young, because I am the only reader in the family. In grade school, I remember reading book after book after book, without any prodding from my teachers, except in first grade when  I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who encouraged me to read on.