A Lesson on How to Write a Proposal: Getting a Handle on Fear and Procrastination

Procrastination is the thief of time. Nowhere is procrastination so evident as in the inability to start a job or task. Here are some thoughts on the fear and intimidation (leading to procrastination) some face in getting to work on an urgent business proposal, or sales letter.

I suspect we’ve all done this – sat with pen in hand or at the keyboard, staring at a blank page or screen, either totally intimated, or waiting for that magical first though to emerge. And nothing happens.

Here’s a way to start. Forget the computer. Instead, use pen and paper and play around with the topic. You can doodle it if you want, but you must get into action. I use a variant of mind mapping. I stick the topic in the middle of the page and attach speech bubbles with my ideas or thoughts. That’s it. It could be random, it could be organized. However, I’m not writing yet, I’m simply preparing. This removes the pressure of having to do it perfectly.

That’s one of the fears that stops us – we have to do it perfectly, first time. One, there isn’t such a thing as perfection. Two, the client may not care. What is important is the communication. Can you effectively communicate what you want to say? We don’t care if it’s a split infinitive, or a dangling participle, or whether the sentence begins with “and”. This is about communication. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stick to rudiments of grammar and be accurate in your spelling and punctuation, but these conventions don’t always help. For example, Star Trek’s Captain James Kirk would have been penalized in English 101 for splitting the infinitive with to boldly go where no man has gone before. But does “to go boldly” have the same power? When you wonder if you’re saying it perfectly, paralysis sets in and you get nowhere.

That doodling or rather rough mind mapping that I do, helps give me content. You could simply write down a list of things on a sheet of paper, whatever you prefer. (There’s something about the physical act of writing down that makes a difference here. To me, thoughts become concrete actions. Psychologists probably have a better answer.) On the other hand, you could just random write. This is known as freewriting, where you don’t worry about how you say something. Just get down those key points. If you want to write in short spurts, do that, as long as you can see progress. Wherever possible I prefer to write conversationally, just as if I’m speaking to you. For me, it gets a point across more effectively. However, writing in the second and third person are more appropriate or required for sales letters and more formal RFPs.

What about the format, you may ask? I don’t know the format. Is there a format? Sure there is. You can go to Google, type in “proposal format” or “sales letter format” and you’ll get lots of answers. There’s no excuse there.

Getting into action is what works. I got great advice from a coach several years ago. She told me to buy one of those small digital timers. To get started on that business proposal, set the timer, turn it away from you so you can’t see it, and then focus on that mind mapping or list making until the timer goes off. I find it very effective to avoid procrastinating.

To briefly sum up, for those who are fearful or intimidated about getting started on that business proposal or sales letter, you must get into action. Try mind mapping or simply writing a list by hand. You are not aiming at perfection and therefore no longer at the mercy of your Grade 9 teacher. If you wrote a PhD thesis, forget it. The business client isn’t interested in wading through academic language. (Different story if you’re writing up an academic grant proposal.) Get yourself a digital timer and get moving. Or, as that well-known Nike ad goes, Just Do It! Procrastination is the thief of time.

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Source by Neil Sawers

Linux Hosting – Benefits That You Can Reap From It

There many operating systems to choose from when it comes to web hosting. Here you will find some companies offering affordable packages whereas some charge a lot higher. It is crucial for you to bear in mind that different hosting packages will equip your site with different types of resources.

Magic Host is one of the reasonable services that you can get in the market. You can choose shared hosting plan because of its affordability. You don’t have to invest a lot of money with Magic Host and you will be very satisfied with your investment if you opt for their service.

Linux will be the best operating system to choose because it is reliable and reasonable. Unlike other systems, Linux will not require monthly or yearly and setup charges. Therefore when you use Linux operating system, you would not have any frustrations or complaints that you did not get the services that you paid for.

Magic Host provides various types of Linux hosting plans that you can choose from. Basically you have to make your choice based on the bandwidth and web space size that your website requires. These packages also come with free setup and some even offer free domain setup.

This company also offers buy out advantage. Lets say you are subscribed to another company’s hosting service and want to buy out from you current provider, Magic Host gives you a cheap way to do so. Even if you are already using the service, you can buy out from your hosting plan. The starting price is from $4.50 and you can have a well equipped business website. Magic Host provides you with all the benefit you can ask for and whats left for you to do is to choose.

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Source by Kalen Albert

Old Movies Are Better!

Old movies are better. I’m not sure why. They usually are in black and white. The actors tend to be over dramatic. The special effects are not up to current “snuff.” But still, old movies are best. Well, not all old movies. Some are junk.

The Actors:

Woody Allan, June Allison, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Wallace Barry, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Boyer, James Cagney, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, Montgomery Cliff, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Glen Ford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Charles Laughton, Katharine Hepburn, Buster Keaton, Ray Malland, Fredrick March, Shirley McClain, Marilyn Monroe, Merle Oberon, Martha Ray, Red Skelton, Barbara Stanwyck, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, Rudolph Valentino, Robert Wagner, John Wayne, Jane Wyman, . Some of these are still amongst the living.

One nice thing is that Ted Turner preserved many old movies and we can watch these actors uninterrupted by commercials on television.

Thank you, Ted!

What a great contribution to the people of the world that like old movies. Instead of rotting away in cans in some warehouse, they are preserved for generations to enjoy. I could just hug Ted Turner and all those who have preserved our movie heritage.

Sadly, some films are lost forever.

I know that you can add lots of names to the above list. Who are your favorite actors of the past?

The Directors

To tell you the truth, I don’t pay much attention to the directors except for Alfred Hitchcock whose name alone will drag me to his movies. Some well-known directors are Woody Allan, Frank Capra, Charlie Chaplin, George Cukor, Victor Fleming, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Michael Powell, Nicholas Ray, Preston Sturges, and Billy Wilder.

Some of these are still at it.

Many actors are also directors. Many actors and directors are also writers. Billy Wilder is a famous writer. I think he directed the very funny Some Like it Hot.

That is about all I know about the writers except they were targeted as “communist” by a dangerous United States Senator who destroyed many careers by “black listing.” I won’t give him the honor of mentioning his name.

The Dialog :

The writers are key to a good movie and although I have mostly ignored them so far, here is some of their dialog courtesy of [http://famous-movie-quotes.org:]

Casa Blanca : (1942)

Renault: What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?

Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.

Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.

Rick: I was misinformed.

Ferrari: We might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles.

Ilsa: Play it (again), Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Montag: Well, it’s a job like any other. Good work with lots of variety. Monday, we burn Miller. Tuesday, Tolstoy. Wednesday, Walt Whitman. Friday, Faulkner. And Saturday and Sunday, Schopenhauer and Sartre.

No Country for Old Men (1007):

Moss: If I don’t come back, tell mother I love her.

Carla Jean: Your mother’s dead, Llewelyn.

Moss: Well, then I’ll tell her myself.

Good dialog is still around but you might find it sparse in this day and age. The writers create good dialog but destroy it with filthy words. We all know that some people have foul mouths but we don’t need to hear it and neither do our kids. The movies makers want to make things as realistic as possible. I say, make it unrealistic but still enjoyable.

Is it true the old movies are better?

I don’t think so. Private Ryan is a fairly new movie but from my point of view as a former combat infantryman, it will become a classic just as did All Quiet on the Western Front. Great acting by Tom Hanks and great directing by Steven Spielberg made it so.

There are many old movies that have been remade such as Mutiny on the Bounty and Titanic. I like the remakes of the first but not so much, the second. The special effects in the latest version of Titanic was what it was all about, but I like the more convincing earlier versions. (Yes, I like the last version too.)

So, what do you think? Do you think that old movies are better?

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Source by John T Jones, Ph.D.

Writing A Treatment For a Reality Show

Writing a treatment for a reality show is very different from composing one for other genres of TV shows. The word, ‘Reality’ is a misnomer. A reality show is a purely make-believe gaming or competitive show where the competitors are generally common folks and not established actors. The contest culminates in awarding of a prize and the viewers enjoy watching the participants vying with one another.

A premeditated script cannot be written for a reality show since it is difficult to predict how the participants will react or how the show will run. While writing a treatment for a reality show the writer has to make allowances for the unpredictable element of the program. The treatment is used to persuade the studio or a producer to invest money in the planned TV reality program. Through the treatment the writer has to prove to the producers that your idea is viable and the program will assuredly be entertaining.

– Before writing a treatment for a reality show, create a logline or the premise of the intended show. Use compelling words so that the readers’ curiosity to know more is aroused.

– Give a brief description of who the participants will be; to which strata of society they will be drawn from – housewives, children, students etc. If a host is needed to control the episode, suggest the type of person who might fit that position.

– Lay out your plan for the entire episode in a few paragraphs. Do not leave out any important detail such as the surprise element, a twist in the flow or the climax. Before winding up writing a treatment for a reality show propose how the next episode is expected to run. In fact, if you list the beginning, middle and end of the next few episodes, it will re-assure the financiers that your show is brilliant enough to sustain itself and will not fizzle out.

– Give your contact details on every page of the treatment.

– Register your idea with WGA before handing out the treatment you have written.

– Use Courier 12 point for typing and avoid any typographical or grammatical errors.

– Writing a treatment for a reality show is fun to write for authors who love creativity and can quickly alter the literary composition to seem natural as the show begins to be aired. You have to be a great visionary to do that.

– Keep to writing your story and do not attempt to give direction for the camera, costumes etc. All you can safely do is to suggest the location, the set, the number of episodes, and how you want the show to wrap up.

The way to create the situation required by your show should be mentioned in the treatment. This will give greater clarity to your idea for a successful reality show.

Reality shows are relatively unscripted programs and every change is made in the editing room. You can only use pointers to make the show more thrilling for the players, viewers, making it hard for them to miss even a single episode. Treatment writers for hire can help turn an idea into a completed treatment and, ultimately, a screenplay.

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Source by John Halas

How Do I Get Published As a Writer?

The process of writer publishing comprises of the following stages:

  • pitching potential publishers;
  • approval by editors, signing contract with a publisher and publishing itself;
  • marketing campaign (books only).

In self-publishing the pitching is excluded and these are cases where the writer either applies for publishing grants (applicable for scientific works), looks for potential sponsors / lenders that may be interested in the work’s subject or uses his own money to publish.

A writer normally looks at self-publishing as a last resort option, with the most important (apart from marketing) part of the writer publishing to be successful pitching with tips on which available on ‘Writer’s Publish’, ‘Yudkin’ and ‘Writer’s Market’ and others. There is also no harm visiting writers’ forums and blogs such as ‘Writer’s Digest’ where useful information, tips and advice can be found.

As a starting point ‘Writer’s Publish’ recommends two main things to be done giving also some guidelines:

– finding a right approach in contacting publishers and – hiring a literary agent.

On ‘Yudkin’, Marcia Yudkin, author of 11 books (including “6 steps to free publicity” and “Persuading on paper”) and 1,000 magazine articles shares secrets for successful writer publishing and pitching publishers. Marcia advocates DIY approach with energetic problem-solution attitude showing her entrepreneurial spirit in goal achievement process including successful publishing and marketing campaigns.

Pitching to publishers

Pitching potential publishers is a competitive process. There is a guide about preparing right query letters for writer publishing with sample letters provided – “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” by freelance writer and editor Wendy Burt Thomas.

The site of Andrea Shavick (author and poet) also provides a helpful guide for pitching publishers.

First of all, make sure you are contacting a publisher who may be potentially interested in the kind of work you are promoting. Then, in a pitch normally a work description is expected, explanation why it was written and what purposes it serves, describing the target auditorium. For books also – competitors and marketing strategy should be outlined; it is also desirable to have influential referees from your field who could recommend your work to the public.

Marcia Yudkin gives recommendations about how to make your work look more attractive, prove that people need this kind of work with examples of existing demand, doing research in relevant internet-resources. She avoids obvious steps, trying to find original solutions. Thus, for scientific articles she suggests to use the style “catching a reader’s eye” and metaphors. With magazine articles she advises to think about cover-worthy titles, which may significantly increase the chances of success, to be original and not to try writing about something already covered.

With contacting publishers maintaining accurate record of your submissions is highly recommended. With some publishers it is said that no submissions are accepted without literary agent, therefore finding one may happen to be necessary. Also, agents may have much experience with presentation of work to the publishers with chances of desired outcome to be achieved better with them (provided that you chose a right person to represent you).

Literary Agents

‘Writer’s Publish’ suggests to search for them at the relevant literary events such as writers conferences, write them directly or some contacts of yours may recommend you someone appropriate.

Try: Literary Agents, Book Publishing Agent, Fiction Addiction, as a starting point. The internet resource ‘Guide to Literary Agents’ is also good, with lists of agents and practical advice for dealing with them.

On ‘Writer Publish’ it is advised to check carefully the list of works that the agent arranged to be published, not to sign contract until checked by your solicitor and to be careful with agents charging upfront fees for reading your work. Also, the estimate fee of literary agents is said there to be at the level of 10-15% with any expenses to be charged separately. Ideally the agent should be a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, but Scott Hoffmann in his article “Is your agent legit?”on ‘Writer’s Digest’ considers this factor as non-decisive so far as quality of services is concerned, provided that good references are in place.

Marketing (for books)

Once the book is published the publishers normally expect that the writer participates actively in his work’s marketing strategy. Writers having their web-sites also actively advertise it together with their new books.

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Source by Jen Wiss-Carline

Technical Writing – Top 3 Open Source Software You Can Use to Write and Design Technical Documents

I use Adobe FrameMaker and Microsoft Office on a daily basis, and Microsoft Visio, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrate on an almost-daily basis. These are the tools of the technical writing trade that I wouldn’t do without.

However, I’m also aware that these are not the cheapest software to own. What if you’re a new technical writer who is asked to create a manual but you don’t have all that expensive software to work with?

Are you going to give up? Of course not since there are many excellent alternatives to brand-name proprietary software in the market today that anyone can download for free. I’m talking about “Open Source Software,” of course.

Although I love using the proprietary software that I’ve mentioned in the first sentence, I enjoy using open source software as well since some of them are actually BETTER than the paid software if some respects.

Here are my top three open source software (for Windows) available for free on the Internet (just search with their names):

1) OpenOffice Suite (and its sister NeoOffice for Mac) is an amazing collection of office applications that can draw circles around MS Office suite.

It comes with a word processor, spreadsheet program, a personal database, a drawing program, a slide presentation program, a program to write scientific formulas, plus a host of ready-to-go templates.

NOTE: You can open all MS Word documents inside OpenOffice, do whatever you want to do with them, and then save them back as MS Word documents and nobody will know the difference! How cool is that?

2) Inkscape is my favorite open source vector drawing program that is almost as good as my beloved Illustrator.

3) GIMP is the raster image editor I use once in a while instead of the venerable Photoshop. The user interface is not as versatile but in terms of functions it’s fast catching up with Photoshop, believe it or not.

With these three totally free tools any technical writer can create any documentation without any problems. Download them today and be on your way!

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Source by Ugur Akinci

Biography of Everett Freeman

Everett Freeman was born on 2 February 1911 in New York, New York. His contribution to books, movies, radio and television shows spanned more than 50 years.

Freeman was involved in writing and producing radio drama and comedy in the 1930s when he produced and wrote for hit shows such as Baby Snooks. During this time Hollywood had picked up on one of his stories, 1,000 Dollars a Minute, and it was made in to a movie in 1935 starring Roger Pryor and Leila Hyams. This certainly opened doors for Everett as he was asked to co-write the screenplay for Married Before Breakfast in 1937 and The Chaser in 1938.

Around this time, Everett’s brother Devery thought that he too would try his hand at writing. Soon, their careers were to follow very similar and intertwining paths on the Hollywood scene. The only difference was Everett’s production background meant that, as well as prolific writing, he occasionally produced tv shows and films. Devery, on the other hand, was content to stick to writing alone. Both brothers proved to be successful and in-demand Hollywood property.

As well as coming up with original stories of his own, Everett Freeman was often given the job of writing the screenplay based on an established story. Being a screenplay writer is never an easy job, especially if the original author is still alive and worst still of they are the main star of the show. So it was, in 1939, when Freeman was asked to write the screenplay for the movie You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man starring and written by W.C. Fields. It helped that Fields was a childhood hero to Everett. His respect for the man helped him through a difficult production where W.C. Fields would be continually changing the storyline to the point where the movie was very nearly scrapped.

World War II required that all Americans did their bit for the war effort. Warner Brothers decided to make the fundraiser movie Thank Your Lucky Stars, cramming in as many stars as they could find in cameo roles. Everett Freeman was asked to write the plot which was notionally about a nobody (Eddie Cantor) who is used to substitute for the celebrity Eddie Cantor and a whole load of would-be stars crashing an all-star revue in the hope they would get noticed. The irony of the story, or course, was that the performers were already stars. Freeman did not have his work cut out as the plot was incidental to the real purpose, which was to parade stars like Cantor, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis in order to raise as much money as possible for the war effort. All the performers and back room staff, including Everett Freeman, gave up their fee for this cause and the project raised over $2M.

Freeman continued writing screenplays, including Larceny, Inc in 1942, starring Edward G. Robinson and Bob Hope’s The Princess and the Pirate in 1944. He was also one of 36 writers, one of which was his brother Devery, who contributed to Ziegfeld Follies in 1946. Then things were turned around as two books, Cleopatra Arms and Miss Grant Takes Richmond, both penned by Everett and Devery were the subject of a screenplays for 1949 movies A Kiss in the Dark starring David Niven and Miss Grant Takes Richmond, starring Lucille Ball. Both these stories were about rich guys dolling out their money to help the poor through the good example of others.

The year 1951 marked another milestone in Everett Freeman’s career as he produced his first movie and had one of his stories made into another movie. Jim Thorpe — All-American was the film he produced (and co-wrote the screenplay for). Then the movie Too Young to Kiss was released, based on a story penned by Everett alone. This was about a Cynthia, a 22 year old gifted pianist who, determined to get noticed, takes part in a children’s piano competition. Everything goes well – in fact too well. She wins the competition and a New York agent decides to sign her up for a 5-year deal and book the child prodigy onto a New Symphony Hall concert. Cynthia’s dilemma is worsened as she falls for the agent. The movie starred June Allyson. A year later, another of Everett Freeman’s stories, a biography of swimmer Annette Kellerman, was released. Just as he had featured a fictional heroine in Too Young to Kiss, this time he told the story of real life heroine Kellerman. The film that resulted was Million Dollar Mermaid starring Esther Williams. This was followed in 1957 by another film from an original Everett Freeman story, Kelly and Me.

In the mid 1950s, Freeman was becoming interested in television. In its early days, tv was a mere novelty to artists and writers alike. Its audiences were small and the production techniques were limited. By the early to mid 50’s, improved technology and mass produced television receivers were making the medium more attractive, as audiences were multiplying. Freeman had already had plenty of production experience in radio and was as experienced as anybody on a film set. He used these talents and hit the ground running with his debut as a tv producer with Bachelor Father, a situation comedy starring John Forsythe.

This was the start of a 10 year period when most of Freeman’s work was for television. Among the shows he produced was Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, which he also wrote for. He also penned scripts for other shows such as General Electric Theater. He returned to the cinema in 1966 when he wrote the script for Doris Day and Rod Taylor in The Glass Bottom Boat. He worked with Doris Day again as co-screenplay writer for Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, which he also produced. Now established as a producer and screenplay writer, he saw out the decade with The Maltese Bippy (a Rowan & Martin movie that Freeman wrote) and How Do I Love Thee? The final film he is credited with is ZigZag, a rarity in that it was not of the comedy genre that had always been his specialism.

Everett Freeman retired from show business in 1970, after having spent 40 years at the top of his profession. He lived in Westwood, California until his death from kidney failure, on January 27 1991, aged 79.

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Source by Vernon Stent

Physical Activity Has a Direct Correlation to Overall Wellness,Relaxation, and Mind/Body Connection

Scientific evidence and studies show that the mind and the body are actually ONE SYSTEM. So you ask,” What does the mean exactly?” Our mind and body are not as distinct as first perceived, there is quite a correlation i.e. the relationship of your individual mind to your own unique individual body that houses everything about you! It is seen in science as at the heart of the issue or rationale responding to what is commonly referred to as the philosophy of your unique mind. Unique, because when God made you, he kept the mold and nobody else but you is allowed to utilize your wonderful mind, body and soul!

Even though it is not that simple, or distinctive, there are still varied concerns relating to the nature of one’s particular mind; NOT relative in perception, but directed primarily to the physicality of the body… If you are physically active, on a daily basis, engage nature, and keep your attention on joyful, resourceful information, constantly learning, you will have a healthy mind, body, and increase your possibility for enjoying a more successful life…

Our brain is an organ in our body, unlike other organs of our body, the brain is a unique thinking organ that retains wisdom and expands while interfacing with the universe. Our brain views things, by its own reality, by the reality that we perceive, our actions, inactions and of course, by our attitude sprinkled in the mix… Many a doctor, artist, student, lawyer, author, musician, or entrepreneur has created fantastic or outstanding work, creations or discoveries by following the inclinations by listening to the leading and guidance of their brains way of processing information. If we process and assimilate information in our own best digested method, the sky is the limit of how much we can truly achieve. We are everything that we desire to be when we include our brain’s power to empower our bodies, minds and to grant us endless possibilities for successful living!~

To simplify, decide that you are going to have a great day, place your thinking on intentions that are upwardly mobile, will grant your wish to you. Invite moving thoughts showing self-love, respect and witness as your mind flicks ON the switch to that uplifting exciting energetic, life-giving thinking that you are known to have! Do relaxing things and feel the peace in your thoughts, in your body, and have more balanced living.

Watch as your mind and your body working together in unison. Follow your actions and intentions. It works by being in alignment with your vibration. The mind likes action! It responds by joining and sustaining you to delineate and successfully complete one task after another, done at your discretion, and by your own direction… Where the mind goes, the body follows..

The same can be said for the stimulation of your brain, by your thinking, keep yourself sharp and focused: It improves the neuron receptors that act as connectors, reaching motion and lighting up the brain, pulsating thoughts and neurons get triggered and create events and brings thoughts into action!

Scientifically, it is hypothesized that mental attention and positioned focus improves your brain’s ability with demonstrable and improved functionality. Oftentimes brain cognizance and improvement invites tranquility, serves as a form of escape from self-imposed stress receptors, stress attraction, or other biological receptors that we allow to affect us…

It’s amazing what a walk around a lake can do for your self-esteem! The clean air, the visual effects,all sorts of neurons, receptors and sensors get affected. Your muscles get warm and you feel the blood flow in your thighs and calves. It’s warm and relaxing having the brain stimulated! You can feel the blood flow to your neck and shoulders as they get relaxed, even your arms feel weightless, too!

The human brain, or I like to call the thinking organ is amazing and science is still learning and revealing a lot of information almost daily about the amazing connection between our thoughts and our overall bodily health… We are everything that we were designed to be when we include our brain’s power to work in-concert with our bodies, minds, and to grant us endless possibilities for successful living!

The human brain is so innovative that it can actually re-channel and realign itself– EVEN INTO OLD AGE…

The only one who limits our brain is ourselves… Keeping ourselves mentally and physically active actually helps us love longer; FEEL PHYSICALLY REVIVED, and live longer too… The mind-body connection is indisputable and simply fascinating!

***I enjoy learning from you and from others offering me knowledge continuously!~

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Source by Lorie Ann Jermoune

Creative Writing Exercises – Keep Your Writing Fun, Fresh & Flowing With Creative Writing Exercises

All of us who write go through periods when the writing comes less easily, when it feels more of a struggle to produce the same kind of easy word flow that we know we’re capable of.

So it’s useful and very valuable to have a few options up your sleeve you can call upon during these creatively sticky times. Creative writing exercises are one of the best of these options.

Here’s why writing exercises are so effective in keeping your writing fun, fresh and flowing:

Fun: You write because you enjoy writing, you enjoy the process itself as well as the pieces of writing you produce. And it follows that the more enjoyable writing is for you, the easier it becomes. Think about some of the other things in your life that you love doing. You don’t need asking twice whether you want to spend some time on them do you?

By using creative writing exercises you can experiment and play around with new techniques, forms and ideas. See them as invitation to a giant creative writing theme park with hundreds of different rides you can go on. Once you’ve tried a few rides, you find which you enjoy most, and which you can try more of it. It’s as much fun as you want to make it!

Fresh: One of the biggest blocks when it comes to writing is not that you can’t write ANYTHING, it’s that you feel you’re writing the same paragraphs, poems or prose over and over. You’ve got stuck in a writing rut where every piece seems to turn out like a very slightly altered version of the previous one.

When you use creative writing exercises you have a whole host of new techniques to try out, to keep your writing stimulating and fresh. However experienced you are as a writer, there are still dozens, probably hundreds of writing exercises and prompts you’ve not tried before. Use them regularly for that zingy writing freshness!

Flowing: How often do you come up with one or two good sentences then go into a slump where the next dozen feel weak and uninspired in comparison? Keeping a high level of consistency is a big challenge for us as writers.

With creative writing exercises, the more you use them, the more techniques and experience you have to draw upon, the easier it flows, and the less likely it is you’ll come to a halt. Get into the habit of using writing exercises regularly and your writing will flow like a raging river after a downpour.

Creative writing exercises have multiple benefits for YOUR creative writing. So throw off those fears and hesitations and start using them to explore your writing today…

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Source by Dan Goodwin

Writing Creative Nonfiction

INTRODUCTION:

“Creative nonfiction tells a story using facts, but uses many of the techniques of fiction for its compelling qualities and emotional vibrancy,” according to Theodore A. Rees Cheney in his book “Writing Creative Nonfiction: Fiction Techniques for Crafting Great “Nonfiction (Ten Speed Press, 2001, p. 1). “Creative nonfiction doesn’t just report facts, it delivers facts in ways that move the reader toward a deeper understanding of a topic. Creative nonfiction requires the skills of the storyteller and the research ability of the conscientious reporter.”

Nonfiction informs. Fiction entertains. Creative nonfiction seeks to do both.

Creative nonfiction is a genre that straddles the line between fact and fiction-the former because everything must be accurate and correct and the latter because the author presents it in an interesting, associative, dramatic way that suggests the novel.

As a virtually hybrid genre, it combines the elements of traditional nonfiction with those of fiction.

“Creative nonfiction writers invest their articles and books with the feeling of real life, life as it’s lived, not as we think it might be or should be, but as close as possible to the various realities that exist simultaneously in this world,” continues Rees Cheney (ibid, p, 59).

In fiction, the writer must remain true to the story he creates.

In nonfiction, he must remain true to the facts which create the story.

CREATIVE NONFICTION DISCUSSED:

Lee Gutkind, founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine, defines the genre as “true stories well told,” but, like jazz, it can be a rich mixture of flavors, ideas, and techniques. Compared to standard nonfiction, which can be monotone and one-note, it can incorporate the full spectrum of scales. It can run the gambit from the essay to a research paper, a journal article, a memoir, and a full-length book, whether it be autobiographical or about others in nature.

As the fastest growing genre, it includes such books as Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Growing Up by Russel Baker, and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wall. It was their very “creativity” that led to their productions as major motion pictures.

Their elements should be approached with caution, however. The words “creative” and “nonfiction” only describe the form itself, while the first of the two terms refers to the use of literary craft-that is, the techniques fiction writers use to present nonfiction-or factually accurate prose about real people and events told in a compelling, vivid, and dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read like fiction so that their readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy. If creatively done, they can be considered examples of “painless learning.”

Creative, however, is a term some writers have interpreted too creatively. They sometimes erroneously believe that it grants them license to pretend, exaggerate, and embellish, crossing the line between nonfiction and fiction in more than technique. It does not. Take the well-known case of James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces. It may have been compelling, but it was an exaggeration, to put it mildly, and hence more fiction than fact.

Although creative nonfiction books, such as memoirs, provide a personal, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of political, sports, and film figures alike, one of their appeals is the exposure of their own imperfections, foibles, misdeeds, and errors, enabling readers to relate to the kindred-spirit humanity they both share, despite their larger-than-life notoriety and successes. In other words, they are people too.

While standard and creative nonfiction must both be well-researched, accurate accounts of factual people and events, they differ in their portrayal and delivery methods. The latter recreates moments of time, presents fully realized settings, characters, actions, and dialogue, and weaves all of these elements into a story that reads like fiction.

In the end, standard nonfiction pieces are driven by facts. Creative nonfiction ones are driven by their presentation.

PSYCHOLOGY OF CREATIVE NONFICTION:

While nonfiction records, reports, and teaches facts to readers, it can be dry and devoid of feeling and emotion. Yet the reader’s learning experience can be considerably enhanced when that “lesson,” like the contents of fictional pieces, serves to entertain, since he employs higher emotional levels to partake of the experience, creating enjoyment and fostering greater memory retention.

What, for instance, would you rather do: read a chapter in a history book or see a live play on Broadway? Which would you find more entertaining?

CREATIVE NONFICTION APPLICATIONS:

1). History

2). Biography

3). Autobiography/Personal History

4). Memoir

5). Travel/Sense of Place

6). Personal Reflections

7). Human Nature

8). Journalism (Think 60 Minutes)

TECHNIQUE:

Although the creative nonfiction genre must remain loyal to what occurred, it does so by means of fictional writing elements, including the use of the active as opposed to the passive voice, bringing characters to life, generating dialogue, using narrative versus expository writing to create scenes, and evoking drama, all to engage and almost entertain the reader.

Tom Wolfe, of The Right Stuff fame and an early user-if not inventor-of this mixed-genre, once commented, “What interested me was not simply the discovery that it was possible to write accurate nonfiction with techniques usually associated with novels (and) short stories. It was that plus. It was the discovery that it was possible in nonfiction, in journalism, to use any literary device… to excite the reader both intellectually and emotionally.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, ibid, p. 3).

CREATIVE NONFICTION METHODS:

Creative nonfiction implies borrowing or using fiction methods and giving it the structure or appearance of one genre when, in fact, it is another-or, ironically, fact.

Because it is built upon more than just the reporting of facts, it often employs the narrative method of writing-that is, it consists of a string of important scenes to evoke vibrancy, just as the novelist does in composing his books.

“Writing in the dramatic method (in scenes) is appropriate in creative nonfiction. As fiction writers know, scenes give vitality, movement, action-life-to a story. Scenes show people doing things, saying things, moving right along in life’s ongoing stream.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, ibid, p. 11).

While a journalist or newspaper reporter may report on the immediacy of an event, conducting interviews for supporting quotes, the creative non-fictionalist may report an event or episode in history years after it occurred, requiring much more and in-depth research to do so. Its greater impact will most likely be known by this time.

“For the nonfiction writer, advice to show rather than tell means put more drama into your nonfiction writing. Show the reader what’s happening. We believe what we see; we distrust what we’re told. That’s the secret to writing, whether fiction or nonfiction. Capture our reader’s attention through the eyes and ears-the senses.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, ibid, p. 12).

It becomes, after all, more effective when the reader can watch a story unfold before his eyes than just reading what he is told.

WHAT IS TRUTH?

Since the journalist and creative non-fictionalist both strive for truth and accuracy, is there any difference between the two? It depends upon the filter.

Journalists stick to the facts and concrete details, employing expository writing.

Creative non-fictionalists may do the same, but the “creative” portion of the designation can only be achieved through an emotional filter, which breathes life into the incidents and characters, and he may employ both expository and narrative writing.

“They feel the whole truth has not been told unless the emotional context is there. Both traditional and creative nonfiction writers aim for the same thing-truth-or the accurate portrayal of life. They differ, however, on what truth means and what such accuracy involves.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, ibid, p. 36).

CREATIVE NONFICTION BUILDING BLOCKS:

The standard and creative nonfiction genres can be contrasted as follows.

Standard nonfiction uses and incorporates facts and interviews for accuracy, completeness, and objectivity.

Creative nonfiction is respectful of facts, but is usually structured more like fiction, employing scenes, dialogue, and characters.

“The scene is the dramatic element in fiction and creative nonfiction. (It) is the fundamental block around which the writer forms the story. A story usually has a number of scenes, and the method best used in creative nonfiction is to develop the story scene by scene. A scene reproduces the movement of life: life is motion, action.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, ibid, p. 54).

It also imitates life-that is, how it plays out.

CREATIVE NONFICTION WRITING TIPS:

1). Always use and never change fact: Creative nonfiction always embraces facts and never releases its grip. The writer of this genre must connect the dots with plausible action and/or dialogue, but never remove or tamper with the dots themselves. He must resist any temptation to allow his creativity or imagination to modify, distort, or ignore truth. A person who writes a creative nonfiction piece about the War of 1812, for example, but believes that it sounds more plausible to round out the date to 1815, is writing fiction.

2). Extensively research events and people. Use primary sources, such as documents, police records, and transcripts first, and secondary ones, such as other published books, next, before you attempt to write creative nonfiction, or your imagination may “conveniently” fill in the blanks where information is lacking.

3). Create an outline: Because creative nonfiction’s appeal is the combination of a true story (yours or someone else’s) and a compelling, engaging narrative, which reads more like a novel, the most effective method of doing so is to create a clearly defined structure and objective. First develop the story’s skeleton (what happens, when, and where) and then flesh it out with the details obtained from first-hand research. Only in the case of gaps should the writer even consider employing reconstructed dialogue between actual characters.

4). Create scenes: Since fiction and creative nonfiction share the elements of scene, they become the engines that drive the story by means of events, characters, and dialogue. They incorporate the proverbial “Show, don’t tell” philosophy. While it will most likely be impossible to omit any expository writing (fiction also employs it), the narrative elements provide the “creative” aspect of the genre.

STRUCTURE:

There are several ways a creative nonfiction book can be structured, as follows.

1). Chronological structure: The story or account is presented in the chronological order or sequence in which it occurred, whether it spanned several days or years.

2). Flashback structure: The story is related by means of flashbacks, discussing the events that preceded the author’s present-time narrative and explains, illustrates, or clarifies how and why the current state or event occurred.

3). Trip structure: Very much like an itinerary, the trip structure follows the journey it seeks to illustrate. A cross country trip, for example, may begin with a traverse of the George Washington Bridge and then describe the events that occur in the states passed through along the way.

4). Personal trip structure: The author describes his or her personal journey-that is, how the events and people he encountered changed him, his feelings, and beliefs-and the destination to which they led, which, in essence, is the person’s own transformation. This is a very applicable method for book-length memoirs.

5). Beginning at the end: Similar to the flashback structure, it entails, as its name implies, beginning the account at the end and then tracing how it all led to the present situation or circumstance. A typical example would commence: “I’m 45-years-old. My husband just asked me for a divorce. My kids have long ago flown the coop. And when I last checked, I had $100 to my name. I thought I’d done everything right. How did it all go so wrong?”

ANGLES OF APPROACH:

The content of creative nonfiction articles and books will considerably vary according to the author’s personal angle of approach to his subject, of which there are two principle types.

1). Objective: The author maintains a detached, factual approach. In the case of a train derailment, a railroad engineer might report on the type of locomotive, the number of cars, the track gauge, the speed, any maintenance infractions, and the number and severity of inquiries and casualties on board.

2). Subjective: The author, such as the ambulance driver who first arrived on the scene, employs more of a personal commentary, including his observations, feelings, and emotions as he dealt with and administered aid to the injured or deceased.

POINT OF VIEW:

The point of view entails determining and then uniformly employing the set of eyes through which the story will be related-that is, through the author’s own-“I” or the first person-or another’s–“he” or “she” or the third person. Determination can be optimally achieved by asking several questions.

1). Whose story is this?

2). Who could most effectively relate it?

3). Shall I use the first person (I) or the third person (he or she) as the narrator?

SCENES:

Scene writing offers several strengths.

1). It evokes sensual images in the reader’s mind, enabling him to immerse himself in the narrative.

2). t makes past present.

3). The events unfold before the reader, not to the reader.

4). Characters are experienced through dialogue, gestures, and feelings.

5). The reader partakes of, as opposed to observes, the experience.

Because creative nonfiction entails the inclusion of scenes to illustrate the story and there are most likely hundreds of them the author has to choose from, he must be selective. In order to ameliorate this task, he should consider the following.

1). Which major scenes, when viewed collectively, will most accurately and completely illustrate the story?

2). Which ones provide the greatest amount of drama and can serve as turning points, such as life-changing events, tragedies, births, deaths, arguments, divorces, epiphanies? The day your son changed his religion may qualify. The day he changed his socks would not.

3). Which ones provide the most visual and sensual impacts?

CHARACTERS:

Human beings both drive the story and are what the story is usually about. Whether they are real or fictitious, they are always more than meets the eye—that is, it is not how they look that makes them who they are, but their ways, mannerisms, gestures, poses, views, beliefs, feelings, and personalities that do. They can either be directly described or subtly illustrated.

When genres are compared, fiction entails character development and focus, since they serve as the players of the story and their lives often intertwine, while traditional nonfiction involves an accurate recounting of factual events, almost like an extremely long, 200-or-so-page news story. Because creative nonfiction marries elements of both, the character element of it takes on new importance. It is not possible to fully understand, in human terms, the events without them, since characters are the ones who create, shape, and resolve those events. By including them, the author can offer a far more complete and accurate picture. In creative nonfiction, of course, they are real people, not contrived composites devised in the author’s mind.

“The creative nonfiction writer does not ‘create’ characters; rather, he or she reveals them to the reader as honestly and accurately as possible. Like most contemporary fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers reveal character much as it happens in real life-bit by bit.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, p. 134).

Think real life, especially since creative nonfiction characters come from real life. If you met someone today who eventually became your best friend, you would not be handed his or her resume or autobiography. Instead, you would gradually become acquainted with him through successive conversations and interactions until all your quality matches bonded you and led to that “best friend” status.

Here is a sequence of events likely to occur as you get-to-know someone.

1). Your mind takes a snapshot of this person’s physical appearance-not an x-ray or MRI-so that the next time you see him, you will be able to identify him as “Larry.”

2). You learn about his background, education, and career, seeking commonalities. “I graduated from Hofstra,” Larry says. “What a coincidence,” says Sharon, “I did my undergraduate work there.”

3). You test the waters. Is the person very structured, stern, and serious, or does he have sense of humor? Will he take what you say as something carved in stone or see it as a joke?

4). You notice mannerisms and frequently used expressions. Is he very proper or does he use slang and even curse words?

5). The more you get-to-know him, the more impressions you have, revising, perhaps, the earlier ones. “I first thought that he was like my cousin-very reserved. But I see he can let loose once in a while.”

Writers choose those elements which optimally describe and illustrate their major characters.

“They reveal the bits in a sequence that is reasonably connected with the unfolding narrative and simulates life in its nonlinear, unpredictable revelations, spreading pieces of characterization through the article or book… ” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, p. 135).

DIALOGUE:

Nothing brings a piece of writing to life more than dialogue between two or more characters.

“Whether you’re writing fiction or creative nonfiction, the most effective technique for involving readers-making them feel as though they are right there-is well-written dialogue.” (Theodore A. Rees Cheney, p. 93).

Because most dialogue is not necessarily recorded, research can provide the topics discussed and these can be transformed into realistic, inter-character conversations. The types of dialogue included should be the most evocative, important, transforming, and scene-moving. Sources can range from reminiscences to memoirs, historic letters, court documents, journals, newspaper articles, and other books.

In order to improve the dialogue’s realism, capture the characters’ accent, dialect, colloquialisms, tone, rhythms, and moods.

The author can employ one of two types of dialogue.

1). Captured conversation-dialogue recorded or preserved.

2). Recreated dialogue-converting exposition writing into narrative writing.

CONCLUSION:

“If you can develop a robust list of historical details, establish meaningful set pieces, and construct accurate points-of-view, you will end up with a narrative that does more than simply relate historic information,” according to Todd James Pierce in his article, “Preparing to Write: Research and the Art of Narrative Nonfiction, (The Writer, April 2017, p. 19). “You’ll have a manuscript that allows readers the vicarious sensation of experiencing the past. Such books use language and research to transport readers to another place, to another time, to a realm where history opens in miraculous and memorable ways.”

Article Sources:

Rees Cheney, Theodore A. “Writing Creative Nonfiction: Fiction Techniques for Crafting Great Nonfiction.” Berkeley, California: Top Speed Press, 2001.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Robert Waldvogel

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