Posted in inspiration, Journal, self improvement, writing advice, writing prompt, writing tips, writing voice

Your Unique Voice

imagesI would like to talk about your writing voice. I have read many different posts, articles, and blogs yet no one can answer the question, “How do you find your writing voice? How do you know what your voice is?” The answers always seem so vague. Nothing I have read has been helpful in pinpointing or developing this phantom “voice” that all of us writers talk about. Well friends, today I am going to change that. When you are done reading this post, not only will you know what your writing voice is and where it comes from, you will know how to continue to cultivate it. I am going to give you a simple writing exercise. Take these three words:

  1. Love
  2. Integrity
  3. Loss

Now I want you to free-write a  page about what each word brings to your mind. I want you to really dig deep.  Sit with each word, and think for a minute. What do these words make you feel? What unique familiarity have you experienced in relation to these words? Think about each word separately. When you are ready, just write. Write until you have run out of words. Try to fill a page, but if you can’t that’s okay too. When you are done with each word, look at your exercise, at what you have written. Your experiences in life, your feelings, you put them into words that only you could write. This, friend, is the beginning of your writing voice. From now on, when you take a prompt a day, or free-write for your twenty minute session, whatever your personal writing routine is for the day, continue to cultivate and nurture this uniqueness. This is what sets you apart from other writers. This is what makes your message special. No one else can write it quite like you. Embrace the beauty that is your very own writing voice and share it with the world. Happy writing, writers! Until next time…..Be blessed.

 

Posted in Ethics, Patient Rights, Recovery, Substance Abuse Treatment, Support, The Write Way

Discrimination Loud and Clear

I have an issue that I would like to bounce off of any readers for the purpose of feedback. I have a close friend who is on a methadone maintenance program. I will refer to this person  as Patient X  to comply with confidentiality laws. Patient X transferred from one clinic to another because of a move from one location to another. Before the physical transfer tFB_IMG_1459567793374 (1)ook place, Patient X’s medical records were faxed to the new medical facility. When Patient X went to the intake appointment at the new facility, Patient X was informed that this new clinic was a private clinic and the facility did not accept Patient X’s insurance, which is Medicare (part A and B coverage). Through some negligent action of the clinic, patient X has discovered that this was untrue. This new clinic indeed takes Medicare and all Medicare patients are receiving refund checks for May, June, and July; and do not have to make anymore payments to the clinic for August and September until Medicaid picks up the bill in October. Apparently this clinic is making a switch from accepting Medicare to now accepting Medicaid. Patient X is understandably upset because when Patient X became a new patient at this facility, no changes in insurance had been made and the facility accepted Patient X’s insurance at the patient’s intake. Patient X brought this the attention of staff and counselors and requested the facility file a Medicare claim from March 8, 2016 (the date of patient’s intake) to now. The clinic refused to help Patient X and will not make it right. Patient X was told that if continued service was desired then Patient X will continue to pay cash and not make waves. The nearest facility that provides maintenance is over 60 miles away in any direction. Patient X has reported this to Medicare, but other than filing a claim on the patient’s own behalf, what is the recourse of Patient X? Is this legal? Can a medical facility pick and choose who they accept Medicare from? What should Patient X do? I think Patient X has been grossly discriminated against. How can someone in recovery trust the medical professionals that are supposed to be helping the patient, and instead have lied and violated the patient’s rights to equal and ethical treatment? What sould patient X do?

Posted in Recovery, Relapse, Support

Support Your Local Addict

supportDo you have someone in your life that is in recovery? Are you yourself in recovery? It is so imperative to the well-being of recovering addicts to know that there is real support available from loved ones. Support is especially necessary after a relapse. It is vital that all individuals involved recognize the fact that relapse, is indeed, a part of recovery. Very few addicts get it right fresh out of the gate. Human beings make mistakes. If a relapse does occur, it is time to focus on everything you are doing right. Focus on progress  and how far you have come. If it is someone close to you who has had the relapse, then point out all of the hard work he/she has put into their recovery. A step backward does not negate everything in recovery that has been attained up until the relapse occurred. Be kind to yourself and others. What is important, is you recognize the error of your ways and brush yourself off. Do not continue to use. Talk about it with a sponsor or counselor. If you are the support for the person in recovery, then listen  to your loved one. Allow them to vent and feel. Be the shoulder to cry on. Let them know that your support is there for them, and you do not look down on them. Offer to take them to a support meeting. If you are in recovery it is helpful to keep a journal. Write down how you feel. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life.  Recognizing the wonderful things and people that are a part of  your everyday life is not only a healthy habit to develop, it also keeps things in perspective for you. Always look ahead. Remember that you do not want to go back to the darkness and agony of active addiction. Hold your head up high. If no one has told you today, I am proud of you.

Posted in The Write Way

Rhetoric

Rhetoric; Many of us have heard the word, but as writers, how can we successfully apply rhetoric? By definition, rhetoric is using an available means of communication to influence others. As writers, our tool, our means of communication is the almighty pen.communicate How do we influence people? That is what I want to write about today. Whether the goal is a proposal request for funding, an advertisement or copy, a letter to the editor, or even an environmental or political issue written on your blog page, the goal is persuasion. Not only must effective rhetoric persuade your target audience to agree with your views and ideas, you are looking for an action or a change. To produce effective rhetoric, writers must first consider who your target audience will be. Who has the power to implement the results we are seeking?  Once the target audience has been identified, we must shape our message to appeal to our audience’s values, concerns, and interests. The three widely applied rhetorical appeals are ethos; pathos, and logos.

Ethos is used to establish the credibility of you, the writer. You must incorporate the reasons that make you a person of authority, a likable and trustworthy source of credibility. Set a tone of respectability. It never ceases to amaze me how many writers actually swear in their blogs and emails. FYI: Swearing is not professional behavior.

Pathos persuades by appealing to your audience’s emotions. You are passionate and you want your audience to feel your passion. You want them to identify with you on a human level and sympathize with your situation or ideas. Invoke their imagination. Create a vision of success.  Invoking feelings allows them to identify with your values and morals. We are all fighting the good fight and so on. Pathos conveys a powerful message that moves your target audience to action. An action that will manifest changes for a greater good.

Logos appeals to your reader’s use of logic and reasoning. This can be a difficult technique for writers. This is where you provide the evidence and proof, that your claims and ideas are relevant and valid. This step is important because this is where your reasons for  desired change will be proposed. The application of logos will be the logic behind your ideas.

The successful demonstration of these three basic appeals are the essential core of all effective rhetoric. This of course, is merely a condensed guide to motivate serious writers to explore deeper into these ancient ideas. I  only share briefly,  my latest discoveries in my own  writing. The world needs your message. You have important stories to tell in your own unique voice. Happy writing writers!

Source: Rampage, John D. and John C. Bean. Writing Arguments. 4th Edition. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1998, 81-82.]

Posted in Journal, The Write Way

Reasons to Keep a Writing Journal

journalThere are so many benefits of keeping a writing journal I scarcely know where to start. Let me ask, where do you keep all of those great ideas you spend so much time downloading from the internet? When you read suggestions and tips to enhance your writing skills do you apply them, or do you just have a master list collecting dust somewhere? If you want to become a better writer you must write. When you spot a prompt that intrigues you, record your phrase, paragraph, short story, or poem (whatever comes to mind!) in your writing journal. All of those wonderful tips that catch your eye need to have a special place where you can locate them easily. I have books with journal ideas for every day of the year. There are so many writing exercises out there that are fun and interesting. The point is to get you writing. Anything that inspires you to put words on paper is effective and helpful. Recording all of these entries, whether you jot down an idea or write a 15 page short story, is imperative to your progress as a writer. A significant benefit of a writing journal is you have a place that reflects your growth. You can put your progress and affirmations out in the universe. journal1 All writers need a place to freewrite, or even a space that you can scribble your frustrations about writing. Every writer can prosper intellectually from practicing  new techniques, writing from a different point of view, or experimenting with another genre. You can tape or paste photos from a magazine or your own gallery into your journal. You can draw maps for worlds you’ve created. A writer’s journal is organized chaos.It is yours to be as wacky or as practical as your writing is!  A neat little package for all of your writing ideas and exercises. A journal is a powerful tool for experimentation and reflection.

           Choosing a journal that appeals to you is significant. You want a notebook that inspires you  and makes you want to write inside of it. Another essential aspect is selecting a journal, is finding one small enough to conveniently carry with you, either in your laptop case or pocketbook. That way it is easily accessible if you spot or hear something that inspires you to jot an entry, blurb, or just a thought/idea. It is key to write it down quickly, because you will not remember it later no matter how hard you attempt to convince yourself you will.

If the physical act of implementing pen and paper does not appeal to you, there are several  journal apps or software to get you started. Many of them are free. Pretty much anything you can do with regular journal, you can do with the digital version. What type of journal you use is unimportant, what is, is that you use one. Even ten minutes a day can benefit your writing significantly. Journal2

Posted in The Write Way

Writers in Recovery

As someone who is in recovery, I have come across many gifted writers who don’t believe in the power of their own talent. I would like to challenge all of you. If you are someone who has battled with addiction, I want you to write about it. I would like to read your stories, anecdotes, and poems. When I was in the throws of active addiction, my disease led me into some very dark places of my soul. I did two years in prison, and it was during that time I got in touch with that darkness. I used those feelings of agony and turmoil to write, and purge it from me. For the next couple of days I am going to share my thoughts, experiences, poems, and excerpts. I encourage anyone else who is in recovery, to share with us. We would all love to hear from you. You never know, your words may help another suffering addict.

This is from my diary when I was incarcerated– September 17, 2013 :  They keep asking me.  What does it feel like? I began to think about how to explain. Picture yourself in freezing, icy rain. Frigid. Dark. Wind, the kind that stings your face, seeps into your bones like cancer, and hurts your feelings for its sheer relentlessness…Now come in out of that black stormy rain and into the comfort of your warm home, where a blazing fire already crackles in the fireplace. Get dry and warm and safe. Lie down in front of that inviting fire. Allow your lover to wrap his strong arms around you and make the sweetest love of your life, right there in the comfort and glow of those flames. Multiply your bliss by any number of your choice…you are just beginning to scratch the surface of what heroin feels like. It is however, a sad way to live. Once you have experienced this ecstasy, everything else in life becomes a cheap trick. Nothing else ever feels as good.You walk around like a zombie, just waiting for the next thing that will make you feel that way. When you finally get clean, it’s like trying to heal from a broken heart. That crack, that break eventually scars and the pain isn’t so deep, but it never fully recovers. You find things that replace it, but no love, ever again, is quite as fulfilling. You aren’t necessarily unhappy now, just sort of, indifferent.

I read that today, for the first time since I’ve moved back to Texas. February 2016 was four years that I have been clean. I have come a long way since I wrote that. My life has progressed into something so content and gratifying, so joyous beyond anything I could have ever imagined when I wrote that journal entry and I am grateful every day that I did not give up. Thank you for reading, and I will post some poems tomorrow that are a little darker. Next week we’ll go back to the usual writing tips and prompts. So 20160417_161542come on! Don’t be shy. Share your experience, strength, and hope.

 

Posted in The Write Way, Uncategorized

Are You a Successful Writer?

I’d like to discuss two things that plague a lot of new writers. The first20160417_161033 is, when can you call yourself a writer? Should you have a successful blog? Should you be published first? Should you have some type of certification or degree? The answer to all of these, is no. The only thing you need to call yourself a writer, is a pen and paper. If you love to write, and you actively create with your words, you my friend, are a writer. There are millions of writers who are not Stephen King or Clive Barker. That kind of fame and notoriety are not typical. If that is your idea of success, you have a long disappointing career ahead of you.Which leads me to my second question. What does success look like to you? How do you feel right now as a writer? How do you want to feel? Let’s face it, there will always be room for more money and more accolades about something we have written. But, you cannot let money and other people define your idea of success. If you feel good about what you do and are lucky enough that you have the luxury of writing whenever you want, you are not just a successful writer, you are an incredible eminence of writing accomplishment! So keep writing, keep enjoying what you do. Keep telling yourself that you are a successful writer. Go ahead, say it out loud! Tack up some positive affirmations that remind you that you are a brilliant success! If getting paid to write is your dream, there are many ways to get started. Tomorrow we can talk about some steps you can take. Today, you are a success.