Draw to Win and the Napkin Academy

There are times we come across things we love and we just have to share.  This post is about a book, an author, and site which the author, Dan Roam, hosts called the Napkin Academy.  I became acquainted with the author through a webinar last year, and was instantly fascinated with his ideas on using your visual mind for products and services.  Though, he focuses mainly on business,  these precepts translate into other areas of life as well.

One of Mr. Roam’s main concepts is using simple pictures for better communication.  His drawings enlighten the mind and he states that no matter your ability, you can learn to draw, and develop a better message through doing so.  (And let me tell you, my drawings are not wonderful, but Mr. Roam prompted me to continue and practice.)

During my time at the Napkin Academy, Mr. Roam brought in guest authors, artists, speakers, and other business professionals to draw integrating ideas together.  For me this process opened my mind to a realm I probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.  It’s amazing what you can see when someone cleans your glasses, and opens your eyes to new possibilities.

Dan Roam has other books and strategies to lead you further than this.  He trains fortune 500 companies in strategy development and communications, and comes across as just a regular guy.  He has a knack for breaking the complex down into simple terms, and this is only one reason I recommend him. There are many more.

I will put a video of a sample of my work and…

urge you to chuckle with me, but while doing so, remember, this- Dan Roam is a wonderful author whom you should check out.  In my view if you want to succeed, you need to “Draw To Win.”

You will find Dan Roam at the Napkin Academy.

 

Sincerely, BG

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Canva: A Great Resource for Writers

As writers we need graphics for our blogs, covers for our books, ads, social media posts, and sales letters for your books and articles.  Canva is a great place to find everything you need for free, or at a nominal price.  Canva gives the amateur a way to make graphics as if they were pro designers.  There are so many things that you can use Canva for.

If you still aren’t sure about how easy Canva is to use, there is a course called “Canva for Business,” created by Lillian De Jesus, at Tigerlilyva.com.

I took this course that Lillian created a couple of years ago, and learned a lot.  I use Canva to make covers, add text to my social media graphics, and when adding text to book illustrations created for me.  Canva has so much to offer for today’s writer.  If you want more, be sure to take Lillian’s course.  I highly recommend it.

There are even newer ways to use Canva with their Stencil Program.  It’s another platform for setting post times on your blogs, and social media for your convenience.  I will confess I have not tried Stencil yet, and I’m sure there’s more than this.  I will be visiting it soon.

Canva for Work also includes a “Magic Resize” option for changing your graphics to fit different social media sites without having to redo the graphic.  Another favorite of mine is the ability to download your graphics with transparent backgrounds for social media and other work related projects.

This is definitely a must see site.

Go here and join Canva today! (This is not an affiliate link)

And then contact Lillian if you want to learn more about Canva options.

 

Sincerely, BG

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Bubble Love?

What a glorious day! The day we live in our bright shiny bubbles.   We love our bubbles.  They are safety and protection, and then suddenly they burst.  We weren’t expecting it, and we weren’t ready for it…but nonetheless, we have to deal with it.  Then we get hit with that one more thing that throws us completely off-balance.

If you’re wondering what brought this on… I won’t go into a lot of details, but my friend told me last night, (after she’s been hit with many other things) that her washer died.  I feel bad for her,  but, she is taking it all in stride.

I thought to myself,  I should send my hubby over to help her, and her hubby, fix it (though we live a thousand miles away).

I could just see it…he (my hubby) would be over there in a jiffy, and would take every single piece off of her washer until he figured out what was wrong with it.  And this picture (left), would be him in a second.  Nothing would stop him from getting the job done.  No height, angle, or anything, would stop him from his mission.  I have to say, I have a bit of admiration for his stick-to-it-ness.

Anyway, that is what a lot of us need these days…the will to stick to it… and complete what we start.

That’s how it is with our writing.  We think we’re going along just fine when our bubble pops.  We get a negative review, or a snide comment on our written piece, or whatever it is, and we do take it personally.  It’s our baby.  Don’t mess with “this mama” sort of thing.

But then, after we settle down for a bit, we look it over and see that maybe somebody might have a better idea or two.  Then, we dig in, take it apart, redo, rewrite, re-purpose, overhaul, and re-whatever else we have to do to make it better because as any mama knows…nothing is too good for our babies.

So, wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, stick with it today…and learn to dig into what you love.  Don’t give in, and don’t give up.  Make your baby shine.

Just a little lesson my hubby taught me… for those days when I want to say, “Go Away World!”  He helps me see things for how they are.  Bubbles are not forever.

Now let’s implement his lesson.  We’ll all get there.

Sincerely, BG

 

Be sure to check out Monna’s New Writing Prompts for today…

It may be just what you need!  A little writing fun.

Cliche Check

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
           -William Shakespeare 1564-1616


I want to tell you about my "stage" encounter today.  Our granddaughter got to play a part in her first grade play.  She was the witch in "Hansel and Gretel."  And though she's very shy in public normally, she did a great job!  She pulled it from deep with in, and "she rose to the occasion," and played a fine witch "if ever I'd seen one."  (Though I would have preferred she not play a witch.) 


So, what else prompts this post?  You guessed it: Cliches.  They are everywhere.  "All the World's a Stage!"  This one is a famous one, and it has quite the message to go with it (read above).  Why am I talking about cliches this week?  It has to do with Monna's  writing prompts that she posts each week from Writing.com


So this is your cliche check from "Be a Better Writer."


As a writer, our stage is the page.  This is where we shine (or try to). You are acting, enticing, and creating art on your page with your words.  That's if we do it well, and we all want to.  Our public performance is what we write on the page. 
 

When we write, we desire to say something inspirational, and compelling. It's good to find a fresh way to do that instead of using tired and overused phrases.  Sometimes, we use them because it feels "like old home week," and we're sure that everyone will understand.  It's always a good idea to write your way, your style, but in a fresh and "eye opening" way (sorry, it's addictive).
  

Experiment with your words, and your writing.  Leave it sit for a bit and then come back and edit, or put it out there and let the critics "have at it."  Sometimes, critique is a great way to get input to help you understand your mistakes.  Welcome some of it.  You don't have to accept it all.   Consider the critique, and then go from there.  Staying stuck isn't helpful for developing your skills.

It's almost curtain time.  Write from your heart, prepare your work and lead with a smile, and show the world your stage.  Enter with style, and then exit with grace. Here's to your encore.


About the writing prompts: This past week we had three prompts to choose from and I chose to write a 20 line poem using 5 cliches (it was more..."a little overkill perhaps").  Here is my entry on Cliches:
(I did change two words)

Clichés

 

Clichés are helpful

In their place-

When slow and steady

Wins the race.

 

When grass is greener,

Love is blind.

Don’t judge a cover,

Bide your time.

 

No guts, no glory,

No love lost.

Blood sweat and tears help

Count the cost.

 

Get off your high horse

Eat your words;

A party pooper’s

For the birds.

 

Cute as a button,

Hard as steel;

Don’t burn your bridges,

Keep it real.

 

All talk, no action,

Wakeup call.

Just keep it simple-

That is all.

 

Have a great week!

Sincerely, BG

You are more than welcome to join in.

Be sure to check out the other entries:

A Cat’s Life – Lawrence Bousquet

The Antique Carriage Ride

Furry Little Felines – Ryan Biddulph


	

There are “No Writing Emergencies”

 

My daughter informed me yesterday that there are “No Writing Emergencies,” just as there are “No bag emergencies.” (She sells bags.)

Does she not know that there is?  (lol)

So, when those writing emergencies come…(for me, they are emergencies), and the flow of words is hitting you on the head with a sledge-hammer, warning you to “PAY ATTENTION,” what do you do?  You haven’t a notepad, recording device, or “Ctrl S” in the nearest hundred miles to save those precious thoughts?  You aren’t able to capture words, or put them on pause or slow, and your inner voice is telling you to run to the nearest laptop or notepad.  What do you do?

Does the wind blow those thoughts back your way again?

“Oh, winds of word where dost thou blow, if not within thy humbled soul?  Remain close by… for I dost fear thou musing call I shall not hear.”

Ok, Shakespeare I’m not… but in my pondering, I’m wondering if this is the results of “blow back.”  The words not blowing back to you in the winds of word, and giving you unintended repercussions because you’re not writing them down.  You may get glimpses of them here or there, but usually if they aren’t written down, or recorded, then those thoughts are gone-   lost to the winds, and given to the next one who picks up on them.  Or perhaps, within those glimpses you may recover a bit of something, and use it a different way.

We shouldn’t lose hope.   Word association, or picture association… could help you to coax the muse back.  Try relaxing or taking a walk, and pray for Providence to re-ignite your flow of words.

I’ve read recently (don’t remember who) about a writer who writes on a daily schedule even when the muse isn’t flowing, so that he will catch him when he is.  I thought it was a great concept.

In a world of children, and grandchildren, we do have to make sacrifices.   Sometimes things are placed on hold to formulate a more necessary connection with our precious ones.  We would not want them to feel that our own pondering should take precedence over family, and sometimes it is a great conflict to calm the storm of your worded soul and look at things more realistically.

How do you feel about it?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Sincerely, BG

Imagination and Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I love quotes.  They speak to me and saturate my soul like color saturation on a painting.  Full saturation of a color gives it vividness, the same as vibrant words spark inspiration for brilliant ideas and concepts.

 

Quotes to me are a great, and yet simple way, to keep profound ideas before me to spark creativity.  Our vast imagination, spurred on through words, music, art, dance, exercise, or hobbies, may find inspiration knocking at our doors.  Just like the quote above states…

“The World is but a canvas to our imagination.”

                             -Henry David Thoreau

 

I have yet to read one of Thoreau’s famous books about “Walden Pond,” but I will do so soon.  Though I don’t agree with all of his philosophies, I can appreciate some of  his quotes.   Thoreau has quotes that really touch me.  Here’s another that I love:

 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

                           -Henry David Thoreau

 

I want to live fully, and make the most of my time, essentially.  I’m now in my 6th decade of living, and it’s time to put the rocket boosters on.  I can no longer dilly-dally.  I have to find where imagination and inspiration reside.   For me, I like words and concepts which are meaningful, and uplifting.  I find many of those qualities in Thoreau’s quotes.

I love to write with soft music in the background, and look at art with both vibrant and pastel colors.  I used to quilt, and enjoyed the different colors of fabric coming together to make a scene, or proclaim a message within the quilt.  Again, more saturation of color.  Just a sample of the working of my canvas.

Here are some other ideas:

One friend of mine makes art journals, and delves into them deeply making lovely creations.  Another friend spends time writing beautiful stories and memories in journals.  Yet, another friend paints colorfully elaborate analogies (pictures are worth a thousand words), and her sister has taken on speaking at Toastmasters’ groups to inspire people with the spoken word.   They are all very creative and are living in a way to find creativity for themselves, and sharing it with others.  And all the four, do other things as well.  They quilt, sew, crochet, knit, sing, and do many others things.

My blog tagline in the past was “Live to Inspire.”  I still feel to do that now.  Finding ways to inspire others also inspires yourself.  You know,  that “iron sharpens iron” quality.

So, when saturating the colors on your canvas, what techniques are you using to set your imagination and inspiration on fire?

 

Leave me a comment.  I would love to know.    We can all glean from each other.

 

Sincerely, BG

Developing Your Writing Style

You have this post you’re working on which you feel is skillfully crafted with each brush stroke of your best word paints.  You are sure it is your “Michelangelo” in words. It is bright, and so picturesque that even the blind can bask in its colorful essence when read aloud.  After a while, your flow of creativity ebbs, and you decide to let your piece sit for a day to dry.

When you come back the next day you discover that your vibrant colors have dulled through the drying process.  So, now you have to find another way to liven up your artistic word creation. You tweak, add more word paints, while also adding a bit from an old blog post-which you felt was phenomenal.  Then, you find at the end of the day that you’ve created a neon sign that’s garish, and seen flashing in a galaxy light years away.

I give you permission to laugh at this one.

We all have these days with our writing.  That’s why we work at it to develop our skills and style.  We may feel that we know exactly where we are going with our post, and then end up at a stop sign on the other side of town.  We’ve read all the best posts, studied all the best books, but what we haven’t discovered is our own style.  That’s why writing is a craft.  You have to work at it and build upon it.  There are some who naturally put pen to paper and come up with a “Michelangelo.”  But when considering this master craftsman himself, look at the amount of time he put into his creation of David, and the Sistine Chapel.

The hardest things for me to write about are products and services.  These, to me, are a smaller area of creativity.  So, like any good artist would do… get out your sketch pad.  Remember if you’re drawing a house, don’t forget the front door. This is where you enter.

Start with you sketch… or your outline

  • Consider what you want to say and/or what you want to include.
  • Include major bullet points, and then elaborate on each one. (the “xyz” brand is much heavier than the “abc” brand which makes it more cumbersome to take along.)
  • Give reasons for why this is a good product or service, and include its less finer points.  (I love that the “abc” brand has everything in one place, though it does cost a bit more than the “xyz” brand.)
  • Give personal examples of why you feel this way. (“I used the “xyz” product and found that my hair was the shiniest it’s ever been, and it’s less expensive than “abc” brand.)
  • If you have pertinent information from another blog piece, use it. (If it’s not yours, give credit to the source.)
  • Finish it off with your overall thoughts, and your recommendations. (Throw some creativity into it.)

Now that you have your outline, learn to develop your style as you go.  Go back over your work, and see if there is a defining factor in each piece that you’ve written, then go from there.  You will see, quite often, that the more you write, your style will evolve and change.  It’s good to look at what others write to see how they solve a problem with creativity, and with writing in general.   Look at other viewpoints,  consider them, but in the end, write your way, in your style. Some days you will have to paint over everything, that’s just part of the learning process.

Continue to develop your writing.

There will always be articles and posts that are re-purposed, crafted and laughed at…pick up your brush and paint your words anyway.

Keep writing!

 

Sincerely, BG

 

(originally posted on bgjenkins.net blog on 5/22/15)