A Reflection on Walking Dogs & My Writing Life

I am a temporary “dog owner”: At least for the next ten days. I offered to help dear friends out and “volunteered” my daughter (who LOVES dogs) to watch a small, well-behaved and rambunctious Daschund named “Lily.” (My daughter is happy happy, for she loves “dogs and cats” that much.)

Lily, isn’t trouble or very high maintenance, but then again, it is like having a toddler in the house. When she has a need she makes it known and stays on point until it is met BECAUSE she is single-minded of purpose. She has lots of little needs to be met that are keeping Bronte from staying on point with homework which impacts me, and I find it “amusing.”

DachshundClick here to get Images & Dachshund PicturesPictures

Lily wants to play or be played with or take a short walk or nap on her terms. She snaps to attention from a sleeping state when someone walks by outside, growls or barks, causing a ripple through the room that was previously quiet or filled with the sound of a clacking keyboard.

Morning routine is quickly established by day two. Daughter up “on time” with the help of “alarm dog” Lily to lick her awake. Lily is fed first, Bronte feeds herself second, lunch is made and we head out the door to get Bronte to school and hopefully we are all walking. Cold, cold mornings we were running later than desired so I broke down and dove B to school then drove onto the park to walk “me and Lily” at Crossroads Community Park, a staple in my life.

I’ve been making laps at that park for nearly six years now and I never tire of the seasons being played out in the trees that leaf and bloom and molt and recycle their leaves and berries.

I call this community place the Park of Little White Dogs for so many of the dogs are little and white. Not all of them are but many are some shade of white. Apartment living means downsizing on the dog one can and may have, if they must have a dog.

The second morning I am walking Lily and I and this morning in a fog as thick as white smoke (not pea soup…far too cliche…and this fog isn’t green!) I am greeted more warmly than normal  by other fellow dog walkers. It is as if they see me as one of them.

I am talking aloud more when I am with Lily, because even though she doesn’t exactly talk back, she is taking in all I say with her eyes and ears. So as we take laps and greet dogs and their walkers, we are chatting up about little stuff. And I experience a mixed feeling.

As sweet as it is to have a dog to walk, a companion to talk to, I am also feeling frustrated that I can’t speed-walk like I am more accustomed. We MUST take moments to take in the smells in the grass, by the tree trunks and of course the other dogs. Do I really need to be so driven on my morning walk? Is it really a race? I’m overcome by the urge to slow down.

Once back from our morning outing, she initially bounces about the warm front room wanting to play some before curling up in her nest of blankets on the couch. She “powers down” for a few hours, not a care in the world, but always waking to gently bark when an outsider’s footsteps are picked up outside. Then it is back to sleep. What a life!

And what about me, after my morning walk (with or without a dog to keep me aware of the value of slowing down to take in the scenery)? I now have a calm in my entire body caused by walking away all the excess energy and want to do one thing only.

I’ll hunker down and get some writing done in an order pre-determined yesterday. I’ll do my best not to be distracted or procrastinate or give in to playing too much (smile). I’ll address one writing assignment at a time in the pursuit of less for greater impact.

My guru/teacher this week is an observant and engaged wee small black and tan daschund who requires of me the right kind of attention at the right time who always has a willingness to engage in play. Play and self-care is good for this writer’s soul and creativity.

If I can give to my writing its own daily walk and loving and playful attention, I just may get all the writing items on my bucket list done eventually and at the perfect moments.

 

A Writing Coach's Credo

As a Writing Coach and Catalyst, I use each interaction I have with you to leave you feeling supported, to instill confidence and ultimately help you accomplish your writing goals. With gentle candor and honesty and compassion, in tandem with my self-confidence and writing experience I will earn your trust and establish rapport, so that critique and suggestions are given in a positive and insightful way that will be “heartfelt”, “heard/read” and understood.

I believe, what is “understood” can be integrated more rapidly than what is “resisted” or confusing. I first and always check in to find out how YOU (all of YOU) is feeling and what pressures or deadlines you may be operating under. Acknowledgement of what is going on is key; it naturally reduces tension and creates an environment where work can be done productively and confidence can be cultivated.

I believe effective communication to be a learned skill that can be cultivated at every age.

And some people seem naturally better at certain skills, but REMEMBER, initially we all were taught spelling, basic grammar and the guidelines for effective communication (and hopefully by a kind teacher or two).

It is the years of enthusiastic practice and commitment that have made me a better writer and a more intuitive writing coach.

It is my intention to convey in a gentle and direct way to you, I see you as capable, resourceful and creative. My hope would be that this as the foundation for our dialogue alleviates some of the stress or frustration of “writer’s block” or a deadline you are up against. And if you do not consider yourself a strong writer, I would suggest with heartfelt sincerity that a strong writer resides within you and to welcome that in or welcome it back in.

And if, for example, you asserted that spelling was not your strength, I would ask what resources did you rely upon when writing and editing: A dictionary, thesaurus, an easy guide to grammar? Love Spellcheck and Celebrate its existence in Word! Bookmark your favorite online resources! And let’s agree to one last proofread or one by a trusted editor in a friend or spouse? I will always offer resources and share best practices of my own also.

The idea of a constructive critique in my mind begins with asking what does one think they have already done well and what is good? And then we add to that list what I as the writing coach see is strong and effective. And next ask what needs improving and what concerns you? With awareness, you can only become a better writer.

I believe focusing on the positives present will allow for learning to occur more easily in areas that need refinement. A confident writer, who trusts they have the basics in place, and has an editing practice to catch the last typos and grammar issues may take more risks and stretch themselves creatively—and have more fun writing in the process. There will be more natural energy to do so.

The coaching model as a means to improve writing skills will inspire more natural enthusiasm for assignments and everyday writing, I believe.

Here is the theory that I agree with entirely:

What is my idea and my choice, on my timeline, is a set of actions I will be far more committed to and follow through on consistently and with more passion and enthusiasm. I will push myself and hold myself accountable. THIS HOLDS TRUE FOR YOU AS WELL.

I am here for you to instill confidence and inspire commitment to best practices for improving writing for business or pleasure.

As the avid writer that I am, I truly look forward to supporting you and the writing you wish to do. Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you as you create great writing designed by you.

Authentic Writing: May the Buddha in You Shine

Please stop trying to be clever. How about being real?

I’ve got a question I’m really hoping a reader or two answers:

Where did you learn how to writing business and marketing copy?

I invite you to pause and think about the origins of your beliefs about what makes for good messaging and ask yourself a follow up question:

Does it reflect who you are OR did you borrow someone else’s specific set of writing instructions to attract so many customers you’d be making a five figure income by way of internet marketing strategies PROVEN to work by many others before you…or so they say on that website with the neverending cascading style sheet that allows for an unending page with multiple opportunities to CLICK HERE NOW to register for this SPECIAL PRICING and BONUSES…(gasp!)

Here endeth the run-on sentence and begins my attempt to make a point that I regard as extremely important.

Being a 20+ year student of marketing, and a 35+ year student of writing for both pleasure and my profession, I appreciate, cherish, study, analyse, scrutinize and celebrate language for all that it makes possible among us humans. In short, the written and spoken word and communication is dear to me.

Now,  I know that there is always going to be an attempt to crystallize and systematize writing as the creative and technical skill it is.

The point is there are two sides to the coin.  The raw, fun, juicy, heartfelt, honest, vulnerable, tactile, passionate and meaningful content deserves to be expressed AND at the same time it needs to be somehow organized into a coherent and logical format that can be read, understood, digested, integrated and acted upon–once the reader determines that the solution needed is before them–in the form of you or your service or product offering.

And the truth is, I’m not a huge fan of cookie cutter systems. I also though see the value of having a plan and sticking to it long enough to discern what is working.

I see value in systems and best practices (within reason). Yes, within reason do I myself follow the plan, with permission to go with  “plan b” in the wings  (typically based on spontaneous inspiration from a current event).

Blogging for business for example: there is a question that comes up pretty much weekly when new participants attend a group I host weekly. Can I blend personal and business? Put another way,  how much of me do I let shine in my writing?

I first heard this “true story” many years back.  And I even found “the story” and its picture today. And I hope it illustrates well what I am attempting to communicate.

World's Largest Golden Buddha

At one end of Bangkok Chinatown, in the temple of Wat Traimit, is hidden the world’s largest solid gold Buddha image. Weighing in at five and a half tons, the 15-foot tall seated image is uncountable worth.

The Golden Buddha was cast with solid gold sometime in the 13th century and is an excellent example of the gracious Sukhothai style that is still very much in favor to this day. At some point, it was covered in plaster, most likely in an attempt to hide the valuable icon from thieves or looters.

The disguise was so good that everyone apparently forgot about what was hidden beneath for more than five centuries. King Rama III had the statue moved to Bangkok and installed in a temple that later fell into disuse and was completely abandoned around 1931.

The true nature of the Golden Buddha wasn’t discovered until it was moved to its present location at Wat Traimit in 1955. When the image was being prepared for its move, some of the plaster was chipped off, revealing the gold underneath.

The statue sits in a plain building just barely big enough to hold it within the temple compound. On the terrace outside of the room housing the Golden Buddha are some interesting fortune-telling machines.

By the end of this year the Buddha image will be relocated to a newly built grand hall nearby which all people will never get too close to it.

Please don’t encase yourself in a protective coating…so that your writing is dulled by convention established by those who design one size fits all best practices.

Best practices and ideas that work deserve to be observed AND I see the value in bending the “rules” and being yourself.  For in tossing out the rules and really showing the world who lives through your writing, I have to wonder who you might catch “in your net” you might not have?

Krysta Gibson's Perspective: Can Social Media Grow Your Business?

A Note from Deborah:

I believe, I have many things in common with Krysta Gibson, who these days publishes the New Spirit Journal and consults on publishing and businesss and more. And as a happy subscriber to her newsletter, I was struck by this recent “essay” and offering. And thank you Krysta for granting me the go ahead to post to my blog; the place I evangelize about Authentic Writing and My Personal Marketing Manifesto (yes, I have one!)

First and foremost I love Effective Communication that furthers Human Relations. I love reading, writing, speaking, writing, communicating ideas in what ever “language” is your natural form of expression. And I champion people in business and in life confidently expressing themselves be it for their business or their relationships, in the name of having a Purposeful Life Experience, while of this Earth.

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Social Networking: Am I Still Wasting Time?

I’m about to take a break from expressing my healthy and respectful fascination with Social Networking, media darling that it is. But just tomorrow!

In fact, I realized just how much attention and focus I was giving soaking up all things social media, reading more and more articles and unearthing new blogs to scan, comment upon and digging deep into new divine web finds (as I call them) bookmarked for later examination.

So occasionally I make myself stop and unplug for a day–and it’s challenging; voracious reader that I am.

All the time spent, soaking up unending content, has been affecting my sleep and quite frankly, my productivity. Can you relate? Are you ever a bit obsessed with new shiny objects like me? And in some ways history repeats itself.

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