Category Archives: writing inspiration

He Never Met a Metaphor He Didn’t Like

Are you a word-nerd who loves saying, reading, and studying words? Did you read a dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia just for fun?  Yea, we are kindred spirits, aren’t we? 

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Today’s COOL TOOL comes from a word-loving North Dakota boy, yea, that’s where I was born, too, thanks for asking. We also attended the same college,  University of North Dakota, just not at the same time.image

Go Sioux!  Anyhoo, back to the tool.

Dr. Mardy was described on his website by Chiastic Quotes winner Bill Porter.

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Other people grew up collecting spoons, bells, model cars, and stamps, Dr. Mardy grew up collecting words.

He has two specialties – relationships and words. Early in his career as a  therapist and marriage counselor, his words helped heal relationships.  When his interests shifted into using his words to improve business relationships, he became  a pioneer in “business therapy.” His passion for words and relationships led to the creation of new words, because this field is now called Executive Coaching and Team-Building.

He’s not only a genius with words, he shares his genius. I can’t actually give away a doctor on my blog, but I can give you his two free COOL TOOLS.

Yep, two.  Two-for-the-price-of-one, which is still FREE.

You’re going to love this brand-new baby, hot off the press January 1st by Dr. Mardy,  a Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations. 

Can you believe he compiled such a work of heart?

I.

Stand.

Amazed.

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On his website, Dr. Mardy says, “Metaphorical thinking is at the heart of the human experience…when great writers or thinkers have attempted to describe or explain something in a compelling or unforgettable way, their chief tool has been metaphorical phrasing. It is the key to elevating human language from the prosaic to the poetic.”

Index of Topics is here.

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Would most of you women type in “love” first? This is what you’d get.

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For any male readers, I typed “war” in the search bar.

Were you enticed by the topics on writing?  You’ll have to click over there to read them yourself.

Dr. Mardy  explains three “superstars” of figurative language represented in his lists:

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As if avid readers and writers don’t already say “didja’ know?” enough, this COOL TOOL  will load you with an arsenal of wisdom to launch at your next office party, dinner date, or to that captive audience in the elevator.

This is such a big deal to the cyber-world and the literary world, Dr. Mardy is already getting some loud shout-outs.

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Click on the box to read the article written by Richard Nordquist, Ph.D. in English, professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Armstrong Atlantic State University and the Grammar & Composition Guide for About.com.    About.com is the online source of all wisdom you should use instead of Wikipedia, but since my kids don’t read my blog, I’ll have to remind them in person.

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Click on the box for the article that shows The Huffington Post is also impressed.  Michael Sigman says, “your search for the perfect metaphor may be (almost) over.”

So, two really smart guys and one not-so-smart blogger enjoy this tool already.

Remember I promised you a 2fer?  Two-fer-the-price-of-one? (That’s MinneSOtan, ya’ know.)

Here’s the COOL TOOL I’ve used for a few years, his free weekly email newsletter.

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Check out his archives here, in case you can’t take my word for it. Reading his newsletter is like wrapping up in a cozy, literary fuzzy and drinking a warm cup of inspiration.

So, there ya’ go, two free COOL TOOLS so you can hang out with the brilliant guy,  Dr. Mardy, who loves sharing his collection of words.

NeverismsIfferismsI Never Metaphor I Didn't LikeViva la ReparteeOxymoronicaNever Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You

(Click on each book to read more.)

Click to Tweet:

Dr. Mardy never met a metaphor he didn’t like.  Meet them all in his dictionary.Tweet

Free Tool to Keep Writing Dynamic

 

Writers are busy people.  We’re busy drinking coffee, avoiding phone calls and trying to recapture the brilliant thoughts of inspiration we had while falling asleep or waking up.

“Writer” isn’t a static title, it’s a dynamic lifestyle.  The gift and talent must be cultivated to grow. If you’re a writer, it may go dormant for a season, but it will never die. 

And since most writers are also avid readers, that time issue comes into play.  There isn’t enough time in the day to write all the stories, blogs and novels swirling around in our heads, nor is there enough time to read all the books stacked on the floor in front of overflowing bookcases and on the nightstand.  And I’m telling you to study the craft of writing?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

 

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This week’s Cool Tool will come right to your inbox.  You won’t have to work for it or look for it. You can read it in your pj’s, nobody will ever know. It will be our little secret.

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It pairs very well with coffee. Yes, my desk is always messy.  I used to be a Neat Freak, can you believe it?  Me neither, or would that be either?  I haven’t finished that cup of coffee yet, so the neurons aren’t firing and I’m having a hard time staying on track.

 

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Ready for the Cool Tool that’s free and easy?  Writer’s Digest Newsletter, by Brian A. Klems, Online Editor. He’s smart, he’s funny, he learns me a lot of stuff. Smile  Even grammar. Read other articles here.

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It gets even better. When you follow the link to their website, you find other FREE stuff. Writers like FREE stuff because we don’t make a lot of money. Sure, we dream about buying a lake home, a boat, or paying some bills, but usually only writers we write about make a lot of money.

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The newsletter includes a weekly writing prompt, as well as other resources, workshops and webinars, when you’re ready to financially invest in learning the craft.

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I’ve almost finished my coffee and my blog so I’m almost ready for the day.  Whether you’ve finished your coffee or not, click here to register for this Cool Tool, the Writer’s Digest Newsletter. It will cultivate your gift and keep your writing life dynamic.

 

Your New Best Friend: The Pin It Bookmarklet

 

I try to stay in tune with the social media trends, but get a little lost.  The world invented itself around me and I don’t see the landscape I grew up in of the 70’s,  console television sets with rabbit ears and 20 pound rotary phones with 20 foot curly cords.  I’m blessed to have friends that are not only great writers, they navigate the world of social media so well, they  make it recognizable and useful to me.

Today’s Cool Tool is brought to you by Kim, a friend with great talent and abilities.  She brings calm to my frantic, wings to my ideas and kindling to my flames of inspiration. After reading her post, I hope you have the same head-slapping reaction I did, “DUH? It’s that easy?!?” 

 

 

imageKim Vandel is a writer and voracious reader from the Seattle suburbs, and she’s the Public Relations Coordinator for Northwest Christian Writers Association. She recently became a finalist in the 2013 Cascades Writing Contest in the Unpublished Young Adult fiction category. You can find her at kimvandel.com.

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For writers, Pinterest is more than a virtual corkboard for recipes and DIY projects. It’s a fantastic way to gather research, collect writing ideas, and find inspiration for both writing and life. If you haven’t tried the Pin It Bookmarklet yet, then get ready to meet your new best friend. This handy little tool lets you pin from almost anywhere you go on the web, so no more despair when you can’t find a "Pin it" button on the page you’ve fallen in love with. You don’t have to bookmark a bunch of pages, and you don’t have to worry about "stealing" pictures or trying to remember where you saw the article you need. The bookmarklet automatically links your pin to the website where you found it.

To get started, go to the Pinterest Goodies page and scroll down to "The Pin It Button." You’ll have two options. If you’re using Google Chrome, select install now.

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For other web browsers, select the "Pinterest Bookmarklet" link.

Drag the red "Pin It" button to your toolbar to install the bookmarklet.

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When you get done, you’ll see the red Pinterest icon on your toolbar. That means you’re ready to pin!

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I’ll give you an example of how it works. I found a picture I wanted to add to my Visual Writing Prompts board, so I clicked on the icon. It gave me several picture options from the page. The "Pin it" button appeared when my cursor hovered over the picture.

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When I clicked on the button, a window popped up, and I was able to choose which board I wanted to pin the picture to. I also had the option of editing the description.

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I then clicked on the red "Pin it" button, and the picture was added to my board with a link back to the website.

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My Visual Writing Prompts board is one of my favorites. I’m a speculative writer (fantasy, science fiction, etc) and some pictures instantly spark a story idea for me. Other pictures, like the one in my example, provide inspiration for an idea I already have. It helps me visualize the futuristic world I want to create, and I’ll be able to come back to the image when it’s time to describe the setting. Studying the details—the sense of speed, the play of light against dark—will allow me to create a vivid picture in the reader’s imagination.

Maybe you don’t need to build a futuristic story world. That’s okay. (I won’t hold it against you.) Whatever you write—fiction or non-fiction, blog articles or epic novels—the Pin It Bookmarklet will give you the freedom to roam the web and gather inspiration and ideas wherever you find them. So get pinning already!

This Chick met the Sister Chick

I was privileged to meet Sister Chick  Robin Jones Gunn at a writers’ conference in Oregon months ago.  In rereading my notes from her messages, I was so refreshed, I wanted to pass on her encouragement.
You might not dream of becoming published, but you all have dreams of using your talents and abilities to serve and honor the Lord.
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At the age of 12 at Bible camp, Robin committed herself to being a missionary.  In 1976 at Urbana, Inter Varsity’s Student Mission Convention, she filled out a form with all her special gifts and talents. Information was fed into a computer and the students were matched with mission openings that suited their abilities.
Robin matched the position of Laundry Supervisor in Nairobi, Kenya.  She said it was “not exactly what I had in mind,” but threw herself into praying and readying herself to minister in Africa.
She was rejected.  devastated, she wondered how she could be such an  ineffective Christian she wasn’t even fit to be a laundry supervisor.
As she shared her disappointment with her Sunday School girls, one girl raised her hand and told her she should tell stories. Robin didn’t take their urgings seriously until she saw what they were reading on a church outing.  The Christy Miller series was born and the rest is history.
Years later, she was at a Conference and met a woman from Africa who was thrilled to meet the author of the books she had been reading to her students.  Through these books some kids had trusted Christ as their Savior.
Robin shared her early life disappointment of not even being fit to be a missionary laundry supervisor with her new friend, and sister in the Lord.  She said to Robin, “You didn’t need to come to Nairobi to wash clothes, God sent your books to Nairobi to wash our hearts.”
The  early love and desire to serve Africa was answered years later, in a way Robin had never imagined possible.

I didn’t go to Africa, but those stories did.”

When she finally made it to Africa, her friend let her do her laundry, just for old dreams’ sake.
Be prepared to be surprised by God.
He has planted these dreams in your heart long ago.
It is fire in the belly, it won’t go away.
But, maybe you are restricting the way those dreams can go
 by being so limited on how it has to happen.
Open your heart…”

When Robin was asked how she keeps her writing fresh, her answer was applicable to anything
we are doing in our lives for the Lord as we minister in our homes, our neighborhoods and our local fellowships.

“The joy of the Lord is our strength, so drop a  bucket into the well of joy,  so you keep full in the Lord.”

“Those Dreams,
because they’re His,
were planted in your hearts from the very beginning.”
Robin Jones Gunn
What spiritual dreams are filling your hearts?