Writing like you mean it!

It's a beautiful Summer day in the Pacific Northwest and as I write this I'm wondering how many more of these we have before the rain and overcast gloom frequently associated with the Northwest begins.

We're very blessed to have such luscious scenery and astonishingly gorgeous weather here for about four months of the year. The other eight are where we pay our dues for the one third of the time we get to enjoy it. Some people love the rain though so this is their haven.

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What does this have to do with writing you may be thinking? Well, two reasons actually.

When we read something, we get to exercise our 'mind's eye' or reference point to the realities we've experienced.

Take for example how marketers are always trying to get you to buy something. It could be food: Today at (name your favorite grocery store), we have layered pulled-pork sandwiches with BBQ sauce, mouth-watering corn on the cob and to top it off, ripe blueberries lavishly covered with delectable homemade whipped cream.'

What I've just done is to describe in somewhat vivid detail what a typical grocer would like you to think of and obsess over. Then they're hoping that you will stop in to their store and pickup these delicious treats. In other words, I've put something into your mind's eye that will stay there until you decide what to do with it.

Many people would love to be able to write well but may not have the practice or background to do it. That's where I would like to offer a couple of tips.

  • Start simple - You may want to write but it overwhelms you. Start simply by finding one subject that you'd like to write about. Try to hone in on that one topic and do some research on it. Don't just try to tackle a topic without thinking it through. It takes time and effort to find what to focus on and then discuss it on paper. If you need some further tips, one of my previous blogs talked about 'brainstorming'.

  • Use your experience - I recently started writing articles on a topic that I have some experience with: Nurses in war. I haven't been in a war but have visited numerous places where nurses are memorialized and many of my family have been in wars from the American Revolution to World War II. Many of their stories, especially my Uncle who was in the Bataan Death March, impacted me deeply about the suffering experienced and how nurses helped them through after the war. In fact, if you're interested in reading my inaugural article about this topic, it's located here: Nurses in war - Cornelia Hancock, Legendary Civil War Nurse. Never underestimate the power of your experiences to inspire and motivate others to great deeds.

  • Make it human - With all of the negativity that we experience everyday, people get weary of hearing about how bad things are. Why not write something that could be uplifting especially when there's so much better that we can talk about? When you write about someone from the past, you can highlight their strengths as well as their weaknesses. We all have 'em! This makes it much more interesting to the reader because they can identify.

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