Gregor Connections LLC

Inspiration Identified

Inspiration Identified—What Speaks to You?

Shanna D. Gregor

Have you ever felt uninspired? I’m an idea person. My wheels are always spinning, and yet, I’ve had those moments when the idea bank felt empty. What was spinning in my head was nowhere close to the destination my client had in mind for my writing assignment. So we’ll start here with the list and future blogs coming up, I’ll cover these topics more in depth. Here’s a list—some ideas to help you stir the pot of creativity and open up new avenues of inspiration.

bench for quote

  1. People Watching
  2. Reading
  3. Tours for Inspiration (art galleries, historical sites, nature)
  4. Music
  5. Break your routine and do something completely different
  6. Explore quotes on a particular topic
  7. Research (ask questions on social media)
  8. Journaling (review old ones)
  9. News (human interest and success stories)
  10. Life from a child’s perspective
  11. Get moving – exercise and fresh air
  12. Travel or vacation (day trips or a week away)

Bonus – Freewriting can also inspire. Click here to read Freewriting – Learing to Fall without Fear

Arranging Your Ideas

Shanna D. Gregor

I am one of those few people who absolutely and completely enjoyed that portion of the grammar class. I believe my love for order, for organization and for the process flow are all somehow tied to that. Writing is a progression. It is a sequence a writer must follow in order to produce his or her finished piece of art. (Yes, writing is an art!)

When ywoman with camera - Arranging Your Ideasou’re reading, writing or editing—you are looking for order. You want your art to flow from one component to the next—from one sentence to the next and from one paragraph to the next. The important key is coherence. You want your ideas arranged in a clear and logical order that holds the paragraphs together. Here are three ways to meet those goals and organize your writing:

  1. Order of importance challenges you (the writer) to order your paragraph or chapter from most important to least important, or you can do the reverse by starting with the least important and build toward a climax at the end of the paragraph. You want to choose the formula that gives your writing the most dramatic power as you deliver it.
  2. Space order is all about the big picture. Through space order, you give your reader a panoramic view (like a camera’s eye) of the person, place or thing you are describing. You want to define the scene from left to right, floor to ceiling or from background to foreground. (You can mix these up, but I think you get the picture.)
  3. Time order arranges ideas chronologically. Whatever you are writing can follow the logical order of time. You give your reader an understanding of events from past to present or present to past.

Are you looking for help with your next project? Connect with us on the contact page here.

The Thrill of Ghostwriting

Shanna D. Gregor

Ghostwriting is an art. It takes a particular person to be able to capture the voice and heart of another writer’s message and put it into words that sounds like the author instead of the writer. Over the years I’ve had the honor and pleasure of ghostwriting for dozens of authors.

To ghostwrite is to write on behalf of a person who is then credited as author.[1] I have written for others in a variety of ways. The two ways that I prefer is to write from my own notes, or from a transcript taken while the author is speaking to a group.

The Thrill of GhostwritingActually sitting in the audience and taking notes, gives me an opportunity to become familiar with the author’s personality, communication style and the way the audience responds to them. Sometimes, I am able to mix the two and write from transcripts on a topic I have heard the author speak on before.

The artistic element required by a ghostwriter, in my opinion, is to capture them in such a way on paper that the reader has no idea the product delivered was ever touched by anyone other than the author. That’s success!

Are you looking for a ghostwriter for your next project? Connect with us on the contact page here.



[1] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ghostwriting

Develop Your Passion and Remain Consistent

Shanna D. Gregor

If you have a passion to write, one of the greatest gifts and biggest hindrance is all the wonderful ideas you have. For me, I have many documents where I’ve started an idea for an article, a blog, or even a book and then not gone back to finish it. Life just gets in the way.Develop Your Passion and Remain Consistent

Here are a few quick tips to develop your passion and remain consistent (and advice even I need to take to heart):

  1. Set aside time each day to write. Start with 15 minutes a day.
  2. Leave some flexibility in your schedule so that if you get into a flow you don’t have to stop at 15 minutes, but continue on until the inspiration stops.
  3. Determine your most creative or inspirational time of day and try to write at that time. (For me, I’m most creative first thing in the morning.)
  4. Don’t push it. If you find you’ve got nothing after fifteen minutes of free writing, let it go and don’t beat yourself up over it.
  5. Keep notes! (I have a notebook I keep by my bed. Sometimes ideas come in the middle of the night, right before I go to bed, or first thing in the morning.)
  6. Write it down. If an idea pops into your head—write it down—even if it seems insignificant at the time. You may have more later to build on from that little nugget of inspiration.
  7. Guard your dream—don’t share it with just anyone. Naysayers can zap the creativity and passion out of you. Trust your ideas with those you know will encourage you to keep on keeping on.
  8. If you have lots of projects going on, pick one. Which one are you the most passionate about? Which one is the most complete? (Great energy comes from finally seeing a finished product that can compel you to the next great piece of work!)

After the Distractions and Detours

 

After the Distractions and Detours—It’s Time to Put Your Writing Back on Course
Shanna D. Gregor

The past few months have been a major distraction. I found a cross-country move to be a great excuse to step away from my personal writing. That minor distraction became a major detour that delayed my creativity and productivity for months now.

As I look back on it, the journey was the worst move ever. (We’ve moved pretty frequently over the years). There were a lot of firsts that I didn’t think about at first which caught me off guard. It was the first time I moved anywhere without my children (who are no longer children). I didn’t like the empty nest at all. It was also the first time I’d moved without a specific job in an office with coworkers to go to every weekday.australia-curve-desert-5356

There were way too many unexpected construction sites (so to speak), potholes and detours and places where the road just seemed to end. We experienced disappointment, delays and had to very gently navigate every bump in the road—and there were a lot of them. We encountered major detours from expecting to buy a house after living in a hotel for weeks, to moving into a rental home. Our personal things unexpectedly set on a trailer for weeks instead of days. And like a never-ending journey to somewhere unknown, I finally landed abruptly in an unfamiliar neighborhood and unpacked. Once I realized I had time to write, there was no motivation.

If you, like me, were in the middle of a writing project when life interrupted, here’s some great ideas to help you put your writing back on course.

1. Take a moment to ponder some of these questions:

• “Where am I now with my project?”
• Did your life challenge that detained you give you new insight for your creative work or perhaps a completely new direction?
• Have your goals for the project changed?
• What have you learned on your journey?
• Is it possible your time away from the project breathe new life into your work?
2. Reflect on your course.
Where were you coming from?
Is there more than you thought to the perspective for your audience?
How have I changed?
How has my perspective on this work changed?
Am I willing to do something different and out of my comfort zone?
3. Review/revise your goals.
Have they changed or will they stay the same?
• Usually this is a good time to edit your work because you’ve likely stepped away long enough that the writing isn’t as fresh and you can see more from the outside looking in. Make notes using the comments section in word to observe your work so far. Then go back and make adjustments at a later time rather than changing the document in this first edit… if you can. (I’m really bad at wanting to change it as I go.)
4. Recalculate.
• Begin again.
• Establish an attainable but aggressive time line for completion.
5. Avoid distractions if at all possible. Try to delay them as they come up as much as possible.
6. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride to the end of your writing destination. Read more

Reading for New Inspiration

by Shanna D. Gregor

I think I was born with a love for books. I remember my mom reading The Pokey Little Puppy and The Little Engine That Could until I could read it myself. Reading opens the door to new worlds and stirs the creative hearts of everyone—especially writers.

With the information and technology at our fingertips today, you can open your computer or tablet and read about anything your heart desires. I like to search quotes online about topics I’m interested in writing about. I enjoy reading blogs others post to get a differHouse libraryent perspective for something I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes I just flip through magazines to see what crazy idea pops into my head.

Sometimes social media can be a good source of inspiration. What others are saying and sharing can stir my pot of creativity as well.

As you read to be inspired, make sure you stop and take notes. Don’t let your inspiration fizzle into thin air, but capture your thoughts in your journal or save them in an ideas document for later.

 

Stirring the Pot of Creative Ideas

People Watching—Stirring the Pot of Creative Ideas

Shanna D. Gregor

I don’t travel by plane a lot, but when I do, I take the opportunity to watch people. Unknown to them, people on the way here and there, become a great inspiration for my writing. Their facial expression, actions, conversations and lack of conversations stir my pot of creativity.people in airport

A delayed flight or an exceptionally long layover used to upset me, but now I kick into observation mode and look for a good place to plant myself out of the way with a good view of people coming and going. I imagine what I can do with all the unique and interesting exchanges that go on right before my eyes.

I remember a mom traveling with three little ones. (Parents with little ones are usually quick to catch my attention.) The tiny infant had 99% of mom’s attention as she tried to feed the hungry little one. A dark-headed, dark-eyed little boy, who looked to be about five, followed his excited two- or so-year-old sister with the same dark hair and eyes to the water fountain. My first thought was, Eww! She’s going to drink out of that!

I watched as the sweet big brother struggled to help his little sister reach the fountain. It took a lot of work on his part, and I thought about going over and helping, but I didn’t want to interrupt their exchange. The little boy was so sweet and careful, encouraging her not to get her hair and dress wet. His face was red from all the huffing and puffing.

As they concluded their time at the water fountain and went back to Mom, I put some notes in my phone to remind me of the observation and the many ideas of what had popped into my head. My time watching mom and her three kids gave me lots of ideas for upcoming blogs and devotions for several of my clients.

People watching can inspire you in many directions. Take some time to people watch and see how your quiet time observing inspires you!

 

Paint with Your Voice

Shanna D. Gregor

Writing is much like painting a picture slowly while your readers watch, hopefully with expectation and anticipation. Each sentence is similar to a brushstroke on your canvass. What kind of picture do you want to paint? Certainly, they are not going to get excited about a gray, dull, blurry image. They’ll lose interest and walk away.

That image comes to mind when I’m reading something written in passive voice. It feels monotone, hazy and blah! Sometimes it’s necessary to use passive voice, but generally you shouldn’t write in passive voice unless you want to emphasize the receiver of the action instead of the doer. Active voice brings your words to life.

Passive voice lacks strengpaletteth because the subject is being instead of doing. They have no action. In passive voice, the subject of your masterpiece frequently disappears from the sentence as he or she receives the action rather than doing it.

Passive voice is not wrong, but it affects your work of art in tone, emphasis and readability. Active voice outperforms passive voice 99% in the time. While passive voice may sound awkward, slow-moving and overly guarded, active voice brings your writing to life with energy, drive and confidence. I find it helpful to review my writing for sentences that lack a little oomph, and convert them to active voice.

Are you looking for help with your next project? Connect with us on the contact page here.

My Favorite—the Em Dash

Shanna D. Gregor

We all have things that we favor. A few of mine are chocolate gelato over vanilla, a caramel macchiato over the Americano, or the color blue over the color green. So favorites also exist when it comes to how I express myself when I write.

I completely and totally favor the em dash over ellipsis. People use them interchangeably, but they each have specific purpose and shouldn’t be confused. I think my reason for preferring the em dash to ellipsis is because many people use ellipsis in artwork, when visually I find the ellipsis distracting on a billboard or in an email header, (but that’s a bunny trail from the purpose of this writing).

According to AnMy Favorite—the Em Dashn Stilman in her book, Grammatically Correct, the em dash serves four functions, to:

  1. Mark off a descriptive element or digression
  2. Mark an abrupt break in structure or turn in content
  3. Indicate interrupted or scattered speech
  4. Set off the source of a quotation

Ann also shares the ellipsis, a word from the Greek meaning “to leave out,” or “fall short,” has three functions, to:

  1. Specify omissions in quoted material
  2. Indicate hesitation or trailing off in spoken words
  3. Impart extra significance to a sentence

I am constantly thinking. Ideas and creative thoughts interject my flow all the time. When I write, I want to interject a thought—sometimes mid-sentence—and the em dash performs very well to indicate interrupted or scattered speech.

Are you looking for help with your next project? Connect with us on the contact page here.

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