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Posts Tagged ‘writing exercises’

Intro: Another writing exercise- write for 20 minutes, or 400 words based on a quote.

“The Power of Words”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

“For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” ~Ingrid Bengis~

I never understood that words are a form of action. In fact, I’ve often heard it said that words are cheap. I knew my words could influence the thoughts, emotions, or reactions of others; but I don’t think I truly realized how my words impacted me – except that I knew writing contained some kind of inexplicable form of healing.

When I take a problem out of my worried head and put it on paper, I’m able to view it from a different perspective. I found a neat little pattern in my journal. Sifting through my journal entries one day, I recognized that the beginning of my writings were often disorganized, chaotic and clustered with surface emotion. However, about half way through, I’d begin writing past the raw feeling of reaction and merge into an analytical frame of mind, trying to find a cause for my condition. By the time my hand began to cramp, I had written the answer to my own problem. Never was writing the solutions my intent. My intent was to find a place for my voice and thoughts. I needed to speak without anybody listening. I needed to have a hissy fit, temper tantrum, pity party. I wrote not to gain an answer, but to rid myself of negativity. Inevitably, when the negativity had been cleared away, truth, beauty, understanding, and peace of mind all surfaced. This is the first real awareness that I had of the power in words and the writing of them.

Later, in an exercise for a spiritually exploitative writing workshop, I was taught about another aspect of the power of words. I was asked to write on paper those things that I thought would bring me closer to or set me farther away from that elusive thing called happiness. I thought I’d be able to whip out that assignment in a flash. I thought I knew exactly what would make me happy or prevent me from becoming happy. I was so wrong. Once I explored the reasons and consequences of my dreams and wants, I realized that I wasn’t striving towards my goals for the right reasons. I wasn’t happy in my life because I couldn’t identify what it was that I wanted, or why. Finally, I put pen to paper with the intent of self discovery. I’m not sure if the reaction happened because I finally identified it, or because writing the thoughts substantiated them, or if having brought them to my attention made me want to work harder to achieve them. Regardless of why, a reaction happened creating positive consequence when I put pen to paper.

Words, whether spoken, written, or sang out in song have a powerful energy in them. Our words hurt people, or comfort them. Our words encourage people, or discourage them. Our words have an impact on how we think, feel and react.

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Intro: It began as a writing exercise and fell out in poetic form. I love when that happens! This is another oldie… written somewhere between 1998-2000, but it holds as true today as it did the day it was written!

“The Only Life”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” ~Gloria Steinem~

 

Synonyms and antonyms,

the proper noun and verb,

years spent in study,

and many lectures heard –

the do’s and don’ts of writing,

the punctuation blues,

the writer’s block and big ink blot,

and several words mis-used,

the many reams of paper,

the printer cartridge gone,

the days that seem much shorter

and nights that are twice as long –

the books that are read, the prayers said

just to find the perfect word –

only to throw out the idea,

thinking that its absurd!

Then, finally, there’s inspiration

and the words just seem to flow.

Ah, the life of a writer,

the only life I care to know.

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Intro:  Looking back on this one, I don’t think it was as much a writing exercise as it was just a personal reflection, written in the fashion I had learned through the writing exercises.  I no longer live in the house I lived in when I wrote this — no longer have that garden, and I miss it.  I’m planning on moving soon and I do believe a new garden will be in order…

“Out Door Gardens and Inner Peace”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2000

“Working in the garden…gives me a profound feeling of inner peace.” -Ruth Stout-

Surprise was not amongst my feelings when I found myself in my garden with trimmers. This is where I often land at the end of a spiritual whirlwind……. clipping the excess growth off of life.

Once a week I feed the garden, twice a day I water it. Six times a day or more I visit the garden, memorizing the face of each new sprout. I name them, but not earthly names to be spoken through human lips. Never mind that.

Clip, clip. Pieces fall, some with blooms still on them. Jagged, crooked branches fall beside my bare, wet, grass covered toes. Snip. Snip.

The sun begins to set behind the wall and stars began winking at me from above. Bugs with wings, feet, webs and antennas creep, crawl and fly from their hiding places. My mind opens to allow it’s dried leaves to fall, too.

I clip the pieces which grew so large that they fell clumsily over the red Windsor walls. I crumble the dried leaves and shriveled petals. My mind opens to allow old thoughts to fall with the clippings around my bare, wet, grass covered toes.

I swept up the mess

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Intro: This was a writing exercise. The directions: choose a quote and write either 400 words, or for 20 minutes as a way to get the creative juices flowing.

“The Perfect Mental Storm”
(A Writing Exercise)
Written by:
Wendi Friend
1999

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” -Dolly Parton-

The Perfect Mental Storm

Clouds roll, one over the other – tauntingly, hypnotically, completely absorbing the sky with their dominating nature. Growing, spreading, threatening clouds greet me this morning.

I can’t say I’m surprised. The mental weather report indicated possible showers. Tornado warnings have been issued and hurricanes have been reeking havoc in areas once peaceful. I ignored the warnings.

No, that’s not true. I didn’t ignore them. I taped my mental windows and stored cans of proverbial soul food where I could. I warned everyone that the storm was coming, but as they did with Noah when he built his ark, as that story is told, I was dismissed as being silly.

At present, I’m in my safe place, my mental basement. Sure, there are some cobwebs and rats to deal with. I seem to have plenty to occupy myself in this solitary self protection. I’m hanging out with, of course, the tunes and energy of Alanis Morissette. She hears me without me having to exert myself or open my mouth. She allows me to cry, knowing that I’m accepting not denying. Some people see me cry and they think it means I hurt too much to progress so I’d rather wallow. Alanis knows that while I’m crying, I’m growing.

No, Alanis doesn’t know that. Alanis provides the space in which I can discover that I know that.

Mental circles. Round and round the wind blows. My foundations are rocked to the core. I can see through the tiny window in my mental basement that there is mass destruction all around me. I am pained watching lives destroyed, homes tousled – my home is tousled, like my hair was this morning when I awoke to greet the gray clouds.

I cling to what I think is right, but every time I think something’s right, its wrong and I’m blamed, chastised, punished, accused, outcast.

Not from the basement I’m not. No. Here, I’m going to color and sing and read and write and play and sleep until the storm, all its wickedness, the harsh hand of destruction has created for me a purpose. There is a purpose. There is a reason I’ve subjected myself to such a solitary position. What is it?

Somewhere is a rainbow. Somewhere is a blue sky that will let me appreciate its beauty without condemning me for being to “deep.” Somewhere there is a bird who will love to sing with me even if it doesn’t know the words. Somewhere, there is a soft, gentle breeze that will comb my hair for me, dry my tears and present me with flowers.

Somewhere there are colors holding hands in the sky to prove to me that unity is not just the dream of a half sane, lost little girl trapped in a grown up’s body. Somewhere lives hope, and it thanks me for not forgetting its name and purpose. Somewhere out there, just beyond this dark and dreary day, the air will be crisp, clean, polished and free of decay.

Maybe tomorrow I will see those colors. For today, I’m locked securely in my basement and choose not to look out the tiny window.

I close my eyes, I close my human heart. I opened my mind and my all that I am, so that the universe can cradle me in the hammock of life…….

Today I rest. I feel. I think. I exist for no purpose other than to discover the purpose of this disastrous, frightening, abundant, powerful, beautiful, creative, necessary, productive, insightful, perfect mental storm; for the only way to see the rainbow is to get through the rain.

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Intro: This was a writing exercise.  The idea was to pick a random quote and write 400 words, or for 20 minutes as a way to exercise the muse. This is the quote I chose, and these are my thoughts…

“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.” – George Lois-

“Solving Problems with Creativity”
(A Writing Exercise)
Written by:

Wendi Friend
1999

Whether or not humanity was brought to existence through evolution or creation is a question which has plagued mankind since its beginning. Regardless of whether or not humanity spontaneously happened through natural phenomena or was created by the hands of a higher power, one thing is certain: we have evolved since then.

Long ago in the first days of man, when all the cave men and cave women were standing in the rain, somebody allowed their creative side to come through and led all the wet folks into a cave where they’d be dry. When they found themselves dry but cold, someone else’s creativity found the idea of body heat. When the cave people realized that they couldn’t move about comfortably in a huddle, someone’s creativity discovered fur, blankets and wraps to provide warmth. Creativity added variety to the necessity of food by giving us different flavors, textures and types of food, and spices with which to season the food. Creativity allowed room for someone to discover fire on which to cook the food, keep warm, and provide light. Without creativity, we’d still all be cave men (and women) standing in the rain.

Over the next several life spans, Creativity would decorate our environment. As creative people, we made buildings in which to conduct a variety of creative business plans. We created roads on which to drive in the cars that we created. We created clothing, creativity created fashion and style. Through that creative fashion and style, we make ourselves known.

Through our dress, mannerisms, lifestyle, choice of words, friends and occupation we are being creative. Creativity separates each one of us from the next. Creativity allows us to progress with new and interesting thought. Creativity is the voice of the spirit. She uses bright colors, mesmerizing sounds, flexibility and gracefulness, soft touches, rugged textures, careful words and rhythm to express herself.

All too often, people suffer from severe depression, loneliness and lack of acceptance. Perhaps this is just what the voice of creativity screams when she’s being ignored. Creativity opens doors, spreads wings, makes possibilities. When we turn off our creativity, we are closing those doors, clipping those wings and insuring that nothing becomes possible other than lack of growth and lack of happiness.

Whether or not humanity spontaneously happened through natural phenomena or was created by the hands of a higher power, one thing is certain: we have evolved since then, and we’ve done it with creativity.

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Intro: Back in 1998-2001, I engaged in specific writing exercises.  The idea was to write either 400 words or 20 minutes each morning – just as a way to get the pen moving, sink into deeper thinking, and trigger inspiration in order to focus on the “real” writing projects.  Consider it a creative “stretch” prior to a work out.  The idea was to choose a quote, any random quote, and write either 400 words, or keep the pen moving for 20 minutes.  Yes, the writing was done by hand… with reason.  Not all of the writing exercises came out as “worthy” writing, meaning it wasn’t all wonderful or designed for publication, but it served its purpose and spawned some interesting thoughts.

“Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.”
~Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924), letter to Mary A. Hulbert, September 21, 1913 ~

“Rose Colored Pupils”
(A Writing Exercise)
Written by:
Wendi Friend
1999

I was born with rose colored pupils. I thought they were glasses and tried to take them off, then I realized what a gift was given to me. I see the innocence that causes mistakes, the motive not the crime, the cause not the affect. This has ups and downs for me, positive and negatives. At times, it makes me vulnerable to much pain because when I see the pain of others, I feel it. When I feel it, I fix it because now it’s my pain and I don’t want to hurt either. But, when I fix it, there is lack of appreciation, gratitude, acknowledgment – whatever it was I thought I deserved for being such an insightful, helpful person.

Such is not the way with life.

In life, there are two sides to every coin and what goes up must come down. There are those who lead, and those who follow. Those leading often condemn the followers for not knowing the way; not realizing that without those followers, they’d have no one to lead.

The followers often resent the leader for being a know it all or show off, and become jealous that they’re not as advanced. What they fail to realize is that by following that leader, then they, too will know the way. If they so desire, they can go back and lead their own group…… be their own leader. But, most people don’t see it that way.

Some people in life only feel validated when they need people.” If you love me enough to help me through this, bail me out, give me a hand, pick me up……. then I know I’ll be okay. But if no one helps me, it’s cause no one loves me, therefore, I’m unwanted.”

Some People only feel validated when they are needed. “If I’m helpful, then I’m worthy. If no one needs me, I’m unwanted.”

And yet, the needy blame the helpful and the helpful look down on the needy and conflict replaces the ability to join jagged edges becoming more than the sum of our parts.

Life is a puzzle. Each piece is unique. We need to learn to appreciate the uniqueness of each piece and start exploring how they may fit together to create a more beautiful and complete picture.

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Intro: Years ago, I was involved in a creative writing spiritual workshop online. It was a one year course that changed my life forever. Each month, I’d receive a module with learning materials and assignments designed to inspire creative writing and spiritual growth. Some of the assignments included writing my own personal anthem, creating a personal flag… and then there was this one: Writing a Personal Mission Statement. I’m tucking this one safely away in my “Know Thyself” category. I believe writing a personal mission statement is a fantastic idea, one that can help keep us on the right track. Do you have a personal mission statement?

“Mission Statement”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
1999

“Make your life a mission – not an intermission.” -Arnold Glasgow-

I will live my life in a forever improving manner. I will develop a true understanding of humility; never considering myself to be better than others. My life will resemble a soup pot, bubbling over with compassion, courage, determination, will power and the ability to overcome with a joyful spirit all of the obstacles that I know are still to come. I will continue to add ingredients to the pot through meditation, study and action. I will lead the way not only for myself, but for my family, friends and anyone else who chooses to follow my upward climb. Everything I do, I will do all of the way – 100%, realizing that nothing is left to coincidence, accident, irony, chance or luck, but a direct reflection of my own effort; or lack of. Above all, I will smile, laugh and love, for without these, there is no life. Life is a genuinely precious gift that I will value, nurture and protect for myself and others.

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