Full Circle Communications

January 2016
Julia Wilbur and Harriet Jacobs:
February 6 Presentation
When: Feb. 6, 11 a.m.

Where: Alexandria Black History Museum, 901 Wythe Street (near Braddock Road metro + lots of free, on-street parking)

What: Freedmen relief workers Julia Wilbur and Harriet Jacobs were friends and allies in Civil War Alexandria. Quite unique for the time--Julia was white and Harriet was black. 

For more info: One of the many events in Alexandria scheduled to connect with the PBS series Mercy Street.

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ease in writing?
"Ease in writing" comes from a poem by Alexander Pope, the British poet:
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 
Note he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just as dance lessons can help get you around the floor more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two to improve your writing.

Recipient of 2011-2014 Constant Contact All Star Awards.

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Write-able Resolutions for 2016

Clouds Happy new year! Need a jumpstart to get through this week--or year?

A few years ago, I compiled a list of "write-able" resolutions. They will not take long, but they will improve how you write. Here it is again, back by popular demand and with a few new ideas thrown in:

1. Revise one more time. No matter how many times you usually revise something, go through one additional revision. You will catch all sorts of things that otherwise would slip by.

2. Ask one more person than you usually do for feedback (which means, of course, if you don't normally ask anyone, ask one person). Another set of eyes will give you a fresh perspective.

3. Attend one literary reading. Bookstores, the Library of Congress, and universities all schedule regular readings by poets and prose writers. I'm not suggesting weekly or even monthly attendance, unless that is what you enjoy doing. Just try one. It is very inspiring.

4. Read one book about the craft of writing. One of my favorites is by William Zinsser (On Writing Well and Inventing the Truth). A new one (to me) that I consulted in 2015 was The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself by Susan Bell.

5. Write one piece in a genre you have never tried. A poem, an op-ed, a travel article--something you don't normally try. Make it short. Don't spend a lot of time on it unless you get inspired. But stretch yourself a bit.

6. Practice discipline. Set a goal: A certain number of words per day, a certain amount of time over the span of a week, or whatever is a stretch but achievable. If you need to tick off the days you meet your goal, do so. 

7. Follow one writer on Twitter whom you admire or visit his or her website. This year, I found a lot valuable information on the She Writes website. Have you discovered any new resources to share?

8. Schedule an artist's date that does not involve words. Those familiar with Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way know she suggests a weekly "artist's date"--a walk in nature, a museum, an interesting shop--to get the creative juices flowing. In this case, help your writing through something visual, musical, or tactile.
9. Write a letter (not an e-mail) to a friend or family member. You might even consider doing something really daring, like handwriting it.

10. Free-write 15 minutes a day. Use a prompt or a situation that sticks in your mind. React to a picture, a news headline, a snip of music, or your own day's events.

Nothing too bold, nothing too time-consuming. Just a few suggestions that get at both the art and craft of writing. Let me know other ideas--I would love to hear them. And best wishes for a healthy, happy 2016!    

pen and paper In this 24/7 world, those of us in deadline-driving professions like writing and editing are used to marshaling the resources to get an assignment completed on time.

Sometimes when a client tells me their project has no particular timeline, I almost beg for a deadline! Please, give me something to schedule around!

That's why our own creative projects are tricky. The deadline-czar is....ourselves. The requirements are....self-directed. The consequences for non-completion....our own personal disappointment.

A special wish of good luck to you this year as you embark on your own personal goal, whether writing-related or not. If you need to impose deadlines to get it done, do it! If you need to give yourself permission to spend the time, you deserve to do so.

Of course, I am hoping to inspire myself as much as I am you. We can do it!   
Full Circle Communications, LLC / Alexandria, VA / 703.212.0350