Tag Archives: writing exercises

How to Make 2016 Your Best Writing Year Ever!

I was reflecting on some writing goals for the upcoming year and I thought I’d share them with you! Below you’ll find five ways to make 2016 your best writing year ever. Do you have specific writing or creative goals in mind? Reach out! I’d love to hear about them.

1. Plan it out! Set some specific goals for what you’d like to accomplish in 2016. It can be in terms of daily/weekly practice, word count, draft completion, or publishing goals. Start where you are. “My goal is to write for 15 minutes three times a week,” or “My goal is to finish a super-rough initial draft of my memoir,” or “My goal is to write 5, 000 words a month toward my novel.”

Put it down on paper. Schedule your writing time. Do it even when you don’t feel like it. Allow yourself to have bad days and even write a LOT of crap, just to get through it.

2. Read widely and diversely. Read magazines and blog posts, great novels and gadget manuals, read love letters and business books, children’s stories and clothing catalog descriptions. Especially read poetry, whether you like it or not. It will make your writing better and crack open your soul if you let it! Pay close attention to what inspires and moves you. Take notes and re-read your favorites in different moods. Experiment with how you, too, can apply a certain writing style in your work.

3. Nourish you mind with silence. Spend time in silence every day, whether it’s a few fleeting minutes walking out in nature or the park, or hunkered down on the meditation cushion for an hour solid. Silence is the source of your creativity, silence is restoration from all the clamorous, inevitable, and, at times, abusive thinking. It’s the space of clarity and the ultimate source of new ideas and innovative approaches. Silence will free you from blocks, doubt and perceived limitation.

4. Nourish you body with movement. Take breaks, wiggle about, stay hydrated. Drink lots of fresh water. As much as I love them and utilize them, caffeinated drinks are NOT hydration. Move your body by exercising vigorously at least three times a week. At the very least go on daily walks, do yoga, and stretch. Your best writing lives in the body, is hiding in the muscles and sinews, trapped in tough bone. The more you shake it out, the more powerful the writing you produce.

5. Keep learning and growing. Take an online course or in-person workshop. Go on a writing retreat, attend a live event or book store reading. Stay engaged, connected, and inspired. Find a community of writers, join a powerful writing group or writing mastermind program.

May 2016 be YOUR best writing year ever! If you have any questions, need further resources or tips, please contact us at owlassistant@gmail.com, www.brilliantwriter.com OR www.albertflynndesilver.com.

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Letter Writing

Guest post by Jasmine June Cabanaw

In today’s digital world, receiving a handwritten letter in the mail is a special treat. It’s interesting to think that only a couple of decades ago letter writing was one of the primary ways people communicated with one another!

Yet the art of letter writing is not dead. In fact, people have such a desire to send and receive letters that there are numerous companies catering to just that! You can sign up to receive letters, be paired with a pen pal, or volunteer to write and send letters to people in need.

If you’d like to rekindle your love of letter writing, here are five interesting facts to get you motivated:

There are writing prompts specifically designed for letter writing.

Writing a letter may seem easy, but oftentimes people are at a loss for what to say. People know they want to communicate something, but because writing a letter is so different from the way we communicate via email and social media, trying to put a conversation onto a page can be challenging.

Enter writing prompts for letter writing! Books like the newly released Write Back Soon! Adventures in Letter Writing by Karen Benke gently help the writer along as they compose their letters. Writing prompts exist for all lengths of letters— from post card sized notes to lengthy memoirs.

Letter Writing is a great way to hone your writing skills.

A neat writing exercise for character development is to write a letter from your character’s point of view. You can have characters in your story write to one another, or have characters write to someone in your life. By writing a letter as your character, you can really get into the character’s headspace and develop thoughts and emotions you didn’t even realize your character could possess.

Letter writing also improves your writing skills by expanding your vocabulary, through the use of descriptive words, and by providing a space for you to express your thoughts on paper. Many authors promote the art of letter writing as a way to improve writing skills, including Albert Flynn DeSilver, who makes an appearance in Write Back Soon!

Handwriting a letter provides numerous health benefits.

A handwritten letter is a tool for easing stress. Handwriting decreases stress levels by helping you organize your thoughts, putting you in a meditative or calming state, and engaging your motor skills. It’s great as a cognitive exercise, too, and will sharpen your memory.

Writing letters also takes your eyes off the screen— so many of us have our eyes fixed to a computer, television, or mobile screen throughout the day. Writing on paper instead of typing on screen gives your eyes a much needed break!

Your personality shows in your handwriting.

It’s not just the message that makes a letter personal— your handwriting is an expression of your personality, too. Research from the National Pen Company revealed that more than 5,000 traits are linked to how we write!

There are deep, personal reasons why we dot our i’s a certain way, or how we cross our t’s. Everything from how far apart you space your letters to how large you make your exclamation marks is linked to your personality. Your handwriting even reflects your mood, state of health, and how tired you are when you’re writing!

The term “pen pal” made its first citation in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1931

The Oxford English Dictionary first included “pen pal” in 1931, truly marking an increasingly globalized world. Pen pals originally referred to people who corresponded with one another over vast differences, often as a way to learn about different cultures, languages, and countries, and as a way to improve literacy.

Since pen pals exist all over the world and in numerous nationalities, it is difficult to determine the exact origin of pen pals. However, the concept of pen pals became popular in the early 1900s. The term “pen pal” actually had a predecessor, “pen friend”, which first entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1919.

#WriteBackSoon We’d love to hear from you! Do you have a favorite letter, a letter writing prompt, or a fact about letter writing that you’d like to share? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and use #WriteBackSoon so we’ll know to respond!