Just a Little Grammar FYI…

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I had someone ask me the other day why I have not yet written a post on grammar, or punctuation…
Let me tell you why!

Grammar and punctuation are not my strong suits, and I don’t feel that I am the person to be giving advice on something I pay little attention to in my day-to-day writing. I am sure that reading my posts you can clearly see I am not overly concerned with proper comma placement, period use, or correct wording. I write the way I speak, and to be honest with you it works for me. Should I want to write something more professionally appealing I will have someone edit first, but in the world of blogging, and my fast paced life, the location of my commas is not a concern.

With that said I would love to post an article about grammar and punctuation basics, so if anyone out there is a ‘grammar guru’ of sorts and would enjoy guest positing please feel free to contact me. You need not be an expert, the basics would suit just fine. Otherwise I will have to find a good link to post on here…. but I would prefer the first option better. Original content suits me best…

You can send me a message if you would like to write, or have already written, such a post and feel free to remain anonymous if you please (just let me know this clearly in advance and I will lock your secret inside). Submissions or inquiries for this open post, or any others you think may fit this site can be sent to:

perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

 

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Forget Writing ‘What You Know’ and Start Writing ‘What You Are’

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Writing, in any form, is about sharing a part of yourself with the world.

Each word you put on paper is a little piece of your soul released for the world to see. Whether you are writing an article, story, poem, or blog, sharing personal experiences in your writing is a great way to connect with your readers and personalize your post. Through carefully chosen details, your writing should expose your passions and personality allowing your readers to humanize what you are trying to say. This can be especially important for those of you who write blogs, stories, or poetry, and can make a huge difference when writing a book or article for publication.

Writing without personalization can easy become a factual list of information that is dull and uninteresting to read. Sure facts are great, they teach you about the topic you are studying and provide you with the information you require, but they won’t bring readers to your site time and time again, that requires personality. Any topic can become a quest for personal growth and can you can easily incorporate your personal opinion or experiences into your writing without overwhelming your readers and still providing the facts.

As I said earlier; this can be especially important for bloggers, who rely on repeat visitors to raise their stats. Your readers want to know “who” you are, not “what” you do, so share some information about yourself, but avoid long lists of information that only tell part of the story and tend to bore the audience. Instead opt to create post that are deep or witty and give your reader insight in to who you are personally, rather than the things you like or what you do. A great way to do this is by sharing personal stories about your life, family, and accomplishment. You may also choose to answer personal questions, or share deeper emotions that are locked within yourself.

Below are a few questions that can be turned into any form of writing you choose and will help you to open up to your audience and share a part of yourself through your writing.

Choose one or more of these questions and incorporate them into your writing in any form you choose. You may decide to answer them literally, or find that they inspire some other writing form. Don’t worry about wrong or right, and don’t stress if at first you can not find the answers… Our minds are boundless things, and with time you will discover yourself more deeply and thus be able to share more of yourself with others as well… Also remember that we are constantly changing, so how you feel about a question today may differ 3, 6 or 12 months down the road. The process of sharing, and getting to know, yourself is endless and should be allowed to flourish and grow.

Questions to ask yourself in life (and the answers that will help you to open up your soul):

  • Who are you? – This is not a ‘Hi, My name is Adam.’ type of question. Dig deeper and find what makes you unique.
  • What are you passionate about? – This would be a great start for a story, post, or even poem. Think deeply.
  • What are you most proud of? – There is nothing wrong with bragging, it shows confidence and self-respect.
  • How would your best friend describe you? – Another good story could come from this.
  • Do you love yourself? Why or Why not? – This one can get very deep.
  • What is your ideal self? – Think about who your truly want to be, why and how should be answered.
  • Are you living your dreams at the moment? – If not what are they, if so how did you get here…
  • If you had one year left to live what would you do? What about one month or one day?
  • What are the most important lessons you have learned in life thus far?
  • What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
  • Is there something that you are still holding on to? Should you let it go?
  • What are you waiting for?
  • What would you do if you could not fail?
  • Who inspires you? – This could be a great post that would share both information and personal thought.
  • What is your top priority in life right now?
  • If you were to die tomorrow what would be your biggest regret?
  • What would you do with One Million Dollars?
  • Are you settling for less than you’re worth?

Take any of the above questions and seek out the answers in which ever form you prefer, or come up with your own personal questions that you wish to answer. The point of this exercise, and Mystery Monday’s, is to look more deeply within yourself and share that part of you with others. The more you grow personally, the more your writing will grow professionally. It is important that we know ourselves and share ourselves if we hope to achieve our goals.

As always feel free to share the results in the comments section or post a link to your blog, especially if your blog is a personal site that teaches us about you and allows us to see who you are inside. 

You can also submit questions, posts, or any writing (even anonymously if you prefer) by emailing perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Why Self-Discovery is Important to your Writing

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Welcome, this is the 1st edition of Mystery Mondays and I hope that this post finds you all in good health as you start off your week.

Learning about yourself will improve your writing.

Mystery Mondays is geared towards asking questions, finding answers and getting to know yourself on a deeper level. It is a way of challenging yourself to grow, both personally, and as a writer.

This post is going to look at the benefits of self-discovery and your writing.

Self-DiscoveryNoun: The process of acquiring insight into one’s own character.

The mind is a fascinating instrument of creativity. This intricate device is constantly working and accessing different ideas, whether you are aware that it is happening or not. Like an instrument, a mind needs to be cared for and tuned regularly. That is where self-discovery comes into play. Asking yourself questions and learning to understand the way you think is a big part of living a full and happy life. Knowing what you truly want and need in life, and discovering those things which make you happiest are essential to success. The same principle applies to you as a writer, you need to understand the way your mind creates to be able to create successfully. You need to learn to take your thoughts, conscious and subconscious, and be able to harness them for a creative purpose, rather than just a fact of everyday life.

A successful writer operates on more than mental capacity, these writers have learned to dig deep within themselves to pull out those ideas, stories, and creations that are hidden inside the corners of the mind, threatening to disappear into the unknown. They have discovered the way that they think, and have found a way to utilize their specific mode of thinking to create deeper more passionate writing, thus connecting with their readers on a more intense level. Whether they have accomplished this purposely or simply as a result of their drive for success is truly irrelevant, by paying attention to themselves and their needs they have chosen this success through thinking.

What you think about, and focus on becomes your reality. We have all heard about the power of positive thinking in some form; one of the most known sources of information on this topic is the book “The Secret” which discusses the way our thinking patterns create our lives. This “secret” is actually no secret at all… Your thoughts are what makes you who you are, and what has gotten you to where you are today. That is why it is important that people pay attention to their way of thinking, in order to prevent unwanted results, and also why it is important that we look at the things that we truly want and need in life.

What does all this have to do with your writing?

A major part of self-discovery is becoming more aware of what and how you are thinking, as well as learning to tap into the unending resource that is your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the storage facility of the brain, it is where any information, thoughts, or emotions that are not relevant to the current momentary situation get sent to be sorted and stored until they are required. The downfall to the subconscious mind is, that like a filing cabinet, this information needs to be removed as more takes over the space. Thus learning to locate and utilize these thoughts and ideas are a great way to increase your creativity. There is a large amount of information that can be lost if it is not used, and each piece that is wasted holds the chance of having become an amazing piece of work. This is not to say that every idea you have will become an extraordinary piece of writing, but your thoughts as a writer are like the lottery, you can not win if you don’t play!

How to tap into your subconscious mind and improve your writing:

Learning to utilize the thoughts that are stored in your subconscious mind can become life long journey, but you “the writer” can easily enter the vault and pull a random file at anytime, creating the possibility of successful passionate writing with every thought you choose…

  • Pay closer attention to the world around you – The world we live in is a constant source of inspiration, yet many times we are so busy living our lives that we fail to see what is right under our nose. Take time to look around as you go about your daily routine. Stop to enjoy the world, take note of all that inspires you. Allow yourself to really “feel” the emotions that things bring to your mind, and explore the different ways you can share those emotions with others through words.
  • Carry a notebook at all times – One of the most basic rules of successful writing applies to self-discovery as well, never let a moment of creativity pass you by. Your mind is constantly working and you can not rely on it to remember a small detail at a later time. With so much information being processed it is easy for a great idea to get lost among the clutter, carry a notebook and take a moment to write down anything that gets your attention. When you look back later be sure that you have written it in a way that you understand, in order to spark the same emotions in your subconscious that you felt at the time.
  • Take time to get to know yourself – It is important that we regularly ask ourselves questions and consider our answers in order to grow as people and as writers. Asking general questions such as; What do I want? Need? Dream? are a great start, but you need to look deeper within in order to truly know who you are inside. Ask yourself such things as; Who are you? Where are you heading in life? What are you most passionate about? and Where do you hope to be in the future? By responding to these questions regularly you will learn about your true desires, rather than the wants that we ‘superficialize‘ in regards to material things. Forget what others think, what others want from you, and consider only what you want for yourself.
  • Be at peace – Spending time in a quiet environment is a great way to tap into your subconscious mind. Sit in a place where you will not be disturbed and simply ‘be.’ Don’t worry about what you have to make for dinner, your to-do list, or the kids. Forget your laundry, your schedule, or your busy life. Take a moment to simply enjoy the peace and then see where your mind takes you.
  • Write Freely – Free writing is one of the easiest ways to get inside the creases of the mind where thoughts and ideas can easily be lost. Sit only with a pen and paper and allow your hand to guide you. Do not think consciously, instead let words flow out as they please. The point is not to make sense, but to rid your mind of all the clutter and then review it to see if any of these thoughts can be used in your work. You may feel strange when you first attempt free writing, try setting a timer for five minutes and keep writing until that time is done. It is important that you keep in mind it is not about creating anything usable, there does not need to be rhyme and reason to this piece, it is only about letting go of inhibitions and discovering those thoughts that your mind has filed away inside.
  • Pay attention to how you “feel” – Paying attention to your thoughts is just as important as paying attention to your emotions. When it comes to growing as a writer the usual goal is to produce more passionate writing that grabs the reader’s attention and holds them there. You want to be able to have your audience ‘feel’ the way your feeling through your words, thus exploring your emotions can be a very beneficial journey. The easiest way to accomplish this is to consciously think about how something makes you feel. By using your conscious mind you are making something a reality, and are more likely to be able to express and relive the thought later.

Whatever your goals in life, personally or in your writing, discovering and learning to understand the way you think through self-discovery is going to benefit you, and your writing, in many ways. By knowing yourself you will learn the ways that you can manipulate your thoughts to be able to write even when you don’t feel up to it, you will be able to produce more writing at a faster pace that is more in-depth and appealing. By journeying down the road to self-discovery you ‘the writer’ will be happier and probably more successful, and chances are you will be able to see what it truly takes to make you happy. Some writers “think” that they need to write a Great American Novel to be happy and feel accomplished in their writing, but they later discover that just writing anything and possibly making some money doing it is enough, and vice-versa. Once you learn more about yourself and your true desires you will be able to decide what it is you need to do, and it will be easier to accomplish your goals and achieve those things. You will have a stronger writing voice, a more passionate approach, and deeper understanding. You will benefit endlessly by learning about yourself and discovering the person that you truly are inside.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Ten Benefits of Writing “Something” Everyday

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Writing is a part of everyday life. It is an unavoidable part of your day. From writing emails, to making shopping lists, different forms of writing make up a large part of our communication with others, as well as ourselves.

Aside from these everyday writing tasks there are many reasons to make a writing session part of your daily routine. Be it. blogging, journaling, or just some quick notes on how you feel, the benefits of writing can reach deep within your soul.

Ten Reasons You Should Write Something Everyday;

  1. Release Stress – Daily writing is a great way to release the stress that has accumulated throughout your day. Whether you are writing in a journal and confronting the stress head on, or making a joke of it on your blog, getting the words on to paper will release the stress from your mind and body helping you to relax.
  2. Produce Ideas – The more you write the more you will find to write about. Daily writing helps you to generate ideas for the future by expanding on things you have already written. This is especially useful if you are writing for profit, you can take a small piece of something you wrote at an earlier time and elaborate on it in the future, creating new content with little effort. Your mind will automatically start to produce new and exciting ideas the more often you write, knowing that those ideas will be released on to paper and sent out into the world to change and grow.
  3. Clear Your Mind – Hand in hand with releasing stress, your mind collects a large amount of clutter each day that needs to be released so that it does not weigh you down and turn into stress. Journaling, blogging, or simply writing notes about how you feel is a simple and effective way to rid you mind of this clutter so you can start each day fresh and ready to face new adventures.
  4. Confront Your Emotions – Emotions can some times be difficult to deal with, and even more hard to understand. It may sound strange but often times even we don’t truly know how we are feeling about something until we decide to face it head on and break it down bit by bit. Bottling up your emotions can be exhausting and is actually bad for your health. Writing can help you get those feelings down on paper so that you can access how you really feel about a situation. Free writing is a great exercise to help you release your feelings without thinking them through first. Sit down with a piece of paper and let your feelings flow, don’t worry about thought or form, just get it out on paper and take the time to access the words at a later time.
  5. Learn Something New – Writing requires a large amount of thought, and often entails research. Each and every word you write can teach you something new. Whether it is a new subject that you have to research for an article, a new voice for a story, or just something new about yourself, writing is a great tool for learning and should be utilized often.
  6. Get to Know Yourself – Just as writing can teach you about new subjects, it will also help you to learn about yourself. Even through writing about other topics you will find that pieces of yourself seem to turn up in your writing. If you are looking for a more direct approach to get to know yourself better opt for a journal or diary. Blogs and other writing forms are also great tools, as following your thought pattern will teach you how you think and what you feel.
  7. Escape the Chaos – Daily writing can be an easy escape from the world around you. After a long day at the office or home with the kids we are often looking for ways to unwind. Writing in a journal, or posting to your blog is a great way to get centered and enjoy some time alone. Settle in a comfortable quite area and let your mind relax, enjoy the silence and the words that you produce. Writing is an art, appreciate it.
  8. Form a Habit – Studies show that it takes 21 days to form a habit. What does this mean for you? Well if you hope to grow and succeed in your writing you must do it on a regular basis, thus if you can make it a habit for 21 days straight it will become a part of your everyday routine. It is easier to aim for success with good habits already in place.
  9. Change the Way You Think – Once you are writing and producing pieces of any form you will start to notice a change in the way that you think. There is something about having to look critically at what you have written that helps to open your mind and change the way you think.
  10. Live Your Dreams – You are here reading this because you obviously want to write. It is clearly a dream that you are hoping to make a reality… So live it. Even if you are living it little by little each day, grab your dreams and live it, in any way you can!

Easy Ways to Incorporate Writing in to Your Daily Routine

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Often times we feel that it is pointless to sit down and start our writing unless we have the time to finish an entire piece. The truth is that an award-winning novel is not written in an afternoon. Every spare moment you dedicate to your writing adds up, even if all you can spare is 10 minutes a day, those 10 minutes can make the world of difference over time, generating ideas and adding to your portfolio.

Time Goes Fast, Don't Let Your Creativity Pass!

Here are some easy ways to incorporate writing in to your daily routine a few minutes at a time;

  • Open Your Eyes to Writing – Set your alarm a bit earlier each day and take some time to write first thing in the morning. By writing in the early hours you will have the benefit of peace and quite, as well as a fresh clear mind that is focused on your writing before the stress of your day begins. It is a great way to add routine to your writing and make a habit of writing each day. Plus, dreams can often be a great inspiration, so if you happen to remember what you were dreaming about you may be able to use that in your writing.
  • Get It On, On-the-Go – If you commute to work by bus or train you may be missing out on a great opportunity. Writing while you commute to work can easily add to your writing and help pass time as well. Bring your laptop or a note pad with you and jot while you travel. Use other passengers as inspiration and write about where they might be heading based on how they appear.
  • Creative Espresso – Your coffee break at work is another excuse to write. Sit down with your coffee and get creative. That few minutes can produce some great ideas that would otherwise be forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the day. The pick-me-up energy from your coffee should help get your gears going too.
  • Kick It Up in the Kitchen – How often do you pace around while dinner is cooking? Take this time to jot down ideas or work on a piece you have already started. The comfort and creativity of cooking may spark your imagination as well. Keep your note-book close at hand and write while you’re stirring the spaghetti.
  • Go Commercial – Use the annoying commercial breaks during your favorite show as an outlet for your creativity. Have your laptop or notebook beside you on the couch and tune out during commercials to get creative. Even if it is only a quick thought or another line in a story it all adds up in the end.
  • Dump Your Day – Writing before bed is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body and writing.  Often times the stresses of the day take their tole on us, taking some time each night when the house is quite and the chores are done to focus on your passion will allow you to relax and unwind before calling it a night. Starting out with a simple note about your day is an easy way to get yourself going and may lead to more creative ideas.

Every second you spend writing adds up in the end, jotting down thoughts, ideas and even sentences throughout the day will give you a foundation for your writing when you have the time to take a seat and concentrate for a longer period. Carry your notebook or laptop with you where ever you go and keep track of any ideas that cross your mind, or find a few minutes to work on a piece that you have already started. Relying on your memory to keep track of creative ideas is like looking for a needle in a hay stack, with the abundance of thoughts that flow through our minds daily it is almost impossible to remember one quick contemplation that occurred in passing. Having a notebook or specific computer file handy to write when the time is available is an easy way to grow and succeed as a writer.

Journaling – Where Do I Start…?

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One of the most difficult things for me when I first decided to start a journal was “where” I was supposed to start.

I knew that I wanted to use my journal for personal growth and to sort out some of my overwhelming emotions, but that was about all I knew at the time.

It can be very daunting to sit and stare at a blank page, knowing that you are supposed to fill it with wonderful, touching, deep thoughts. That in itself is often overwhelming.

Fear not there are some tips to help you get started in journaling without stress….

  • Decide what your purpose is – For some journaling is a way to look within, view your thoughts, and possibly find your purpose in life. For others a journal is a way to be more creative through writing or art, and some people simply want to keep a record of their day. Whatever your purpose for journaling you should choose it before you begin. Not to say it wont change along the way, and not to say it wont be for many different reasons, but having an idea of what you hope to accomplish will help you find the direction you need to begin.
  • Chose your form – When I decided to start a journal I went out and bought a great binded leather notebook. I wanted to “write” my thoughts rather than type, just out of personal preference, as I spent most of my day typing and I wanted journaling to be my ‘time out’ from everyday life. Chose how you want to write and where then get together all the tools you will need. Some people prefer to have their journal online or on the computer, and other opt for a handwritten version, it is personal preference, chose the option that suits your needs.
  • Get Inspired – Depending on your chosen purpose you need to find inspiration to start your writing. You can find a plethora of journal prompts online for any given subject. Prompts can be useful in journaling, especially when you are journaling for self-discovery. Choose a prompt, usually in the form of a question, and share your thoughts or feelings on it. You can also create your own prompts by way of pictures, words, or questions you are trying to answer in your life.
  • Let Thoughts Go Where They May – Don’t force yourself to stay on topic, don’t feel like you “have’ to follow a set plan, if you find your writing wandering elsewhere allow it to happen. The most amazing thing about journaling is it’s ability to introduce you to new and amazing ideas that you never would have found. Let your mind and your hands wander free and follow them where ever they choose to take you!

The most important thing to remember is that your journal is a secure place for you to release your thoughts free from judgment or ridicule. Grammar, form and talent are of no consequence, just grow and learn from your writing, and most of all enjoy it.

Dealing With Negativity as a Writer

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It is a fact of life that you can not please everyone all the time, no matter how hard you try there will always be people who are going to be negative towards you. It is also a fact of a writers life that you can not please everyone all the time, and you shouldn’t even try to. 

Everyone deals with negativity in one way or another throughout their lives, when this negativity is aimed towards your passion it can hit home hard.

Accepting that not everyone is going to enjoy your writing, that some times people are going to disagree with your point of view, that there are people who will not understand what it means to be a writer, and that learning to deal with negativity is important part of being a writer if you hope to succeed.

Dealing with the “OH , You’re a Writer” Attitude

My hubby doesn’t understand my desire to write. Though he is not outwardly negative towards my passion, he is not overly supportive of it either. He does not see it on the serious level that I do, and he views it as more of a hobby, than a possible career. This light-hearted attitude has caused arguments between us in the past, I won’t lie. I have been offended on more than one occasion by his lack of interest in my passion for writing. He doesn’t get excited for me when I succeed in landing a project I have applied for, he doesn’t  try to support me when I get frustrated with my writing, or when I face writer’s block. He pretends to listen when I talk about my writing, but the interest just isn’t there, and I can feel it…

A big part of being a writer, especially a freelance writer, is spending large amounts of time at home. Writing, and trying to make a living at it, means that sometimes there are days (even entire weeks) when I deal with no one but the people I live with. It means that after locking myself in the office for hours on end, I finally appear and try to push my current project from my mind to attend to my household duties and appear as normal human being to those that live alongside me.

There have been many moments when I have been absorbed in my writing, “on a roll” so-to-speak, and my hubby, hoping to get my attention or have me help with the children, has made a snide remark about my “silly writing”, or me “always sitting on the computer“, and I have just snapped…

This approach has never solved a thing, and simply leads to more negativity and hurt in the end.

Instead of being hurt by someone who does not see your writing in the same light you do, be driven by their easy-going attitude. If you must, use their lack of attention as motivation to succeed, to prove them wrong even.

There will always be people who give you that “Oh so you sit at home all day and do nothing” look when you announce that you are a writer, you would be surprised how many people actually believe that to be true. It is a fact that you can not control, what you can control is your reaction to them…

Dealing With Rejection

Ask any successful writer and they will tell you, you are always going to get more rejections than acceptances in your career, especially if you are just beginning. If you send an article to your favorite magazine and they return with nothing but a rejection letter you may start to question your writing, or you may even feel like a failure and consider giving up.. but don’t trow in the towel just yet. Just because one magazine doesn’t accept your style doesn’t mean none of them will. Perhaps that specific magazine doesn’t see your vision, may be they have no market for your article at the moment, or perhaps they have run similar content in the recent past and are simply in search of something new. Though it would be nice if every rejection came with an explanation, the truth of the matter is, many don’t. Editors are even busier that writer’s, thus they don’t have the time to individually reply to each submission they receive, many of the rejections sent to writers are automatically generated responses, and are not at all personalized to the content.

Don’t allow frustration to distract you, keep going full steam ahead. Submit the piece to other magazines and publisher, or set it aside to update at a later time. Whatever you do, don’t give up on a piece simply because it was rejected, if it was worth writing in the first place it is worth the work of finding someone who will appreciate it.

If you are lucky enough to receive a personalized response, and it does happen, take the advice and use it wisely. Constructive criticism is the greatest tool a writer can have. Don’t feel defensive, no one is a ‘perfect’ writer, even best-sellers get feedback regarding their novels, take the advice being offered with an open mind and utilize it to grow within your writing.

You will never please everyone, all the time, and if you try you are only going to end up disappointing yourself in the process. Have confidence in your abilities and take every achievement as a step towards success. Move forward and grow when you can. Find those people who will support you and hold them dear. Writing groups and online communities are a great place to find support, and get advice, find one in your area, online, or start one of your own.

Most importantly never give up, it is your passion, your dream, you must give it your all and aim for success, no matter what anyone says… If you set it in your mind it can be accomplished!

Until Next Time….

Write On!

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