Creativity Jumpstart: Writing Your Best Bio

creativity jumpstart

Creativity Jumpstart  

 Writing Your Bio 

As it turned out, I needed a little inspiration myself for writing an exercise that might help you write a bio, so I went to my friend Google to see what I could find. I read many pages on writing a bio, and I found one that was so fun, easy, and smart that I’m just linking to it here so you can check it out yourself.  

It’s from the blog of Alexandra Frazen, who as far as I can tell is a fabulous writer and writing coach. Besides this great way to write a bio, she’s also got a wonderful bio example up on her “About” page. 

Thanks, Alexandra, for writing this column for me!

And while I’m at it, Google also found these for your bio-writing pleasure:

Really good tips on writing a bio by a yoga teacher & writer

Mashable’s cool take on how to write a twitter bio. 

Tips for crafting your yoga bio from Yoga Alliance

Letter From Lori: Writing Your Best Bio

5 Tips for Writing Your Best Bio

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Letter from Lori: Writing a Teacher Training Manual (or book, or any big project)

loripic_cropHave you ever tried to start a project that felt huge, only to find you were so stuck on the idea of how big the project was that you couldn’t seem to start? If any of you have every tried to write a yoga teacher training manual (or a book of any kind), you might have experienced this.

Getting started is, for many of us, the first big hurdle: especially when it’s our first time tackling something that just feels so darn HUGE. How do we begin to distill our life’s work into writing? How do we decide which topics merit inclusion and which don’t? How do we make sure we don’t leave anything out, or that our writing captures our deepest beliefs?

In this issue of Re:vision we are tackling a more concrete subject than usual: How to begin. After writing my own Teacher Training Manual, a few novels, and editing/co-writing yoga books for many clients, I have found a system that seems to work for me whether it’s nonfiction or fiction, a pamphlet or a longer work. If you’re setting off on the fabulous journey of putting yourself on paper, I hope some of the ideas in this issue are helpful and serve you well.

Much love ~

Lori

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Creativity Jumpstart: Writing a Teacher Training Manual (or book, or…)

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Start from an Image 

As yoga teachers, many of us are more visual and kinesthetic than anything else. If this is true for you, consider starting your writing from a photograph.

There are two ways you might want to do this. One way is to do a Google search for images of a yoga class. Pick one that you like. Then, using this image, write down all the things it calls to mind that you might want to include in your teacher training manual (or other writing). For example, if it’s a photo of a teacher doing what you consider to be an unsafe adjustment on a student, the topics of “hands-on adjustment” or “working with students with injuries”  might be ones that come to mind. Or even something as simple as “what to wear to yoga.”

The other option, which I think might bring more of your own unique perspective to your writing but also involves more logistical planning, is to have someone come in to take pictures of you and the people in your class as you teach.  Remember to get everyone’s permission if you do this (and if you want to have the option to use the photos in your marketing materials, be sure to have signed model releases or to have their signature on the sign-in sheet serve as such). Then do the same thing. Go through the images and see what stands out for you and what it calls to mind. Write this down. Maybe you see yourself talking and you write down “voice, projecting, communication.”

Whichever technique you choose, once you have your list of topics you can jump into the Top 5 Ways to Get Started.

Enjoy!

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Top 5 Ways to Get Started on your Teacher Training Manual (or book, or…)

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This is really the Top 3 Ways, followed by the next 3 ways. Clearly, the first rule is: don’t always let the rules dictate what you do!

1. Take a deep breath. Or ten.

2. On paper or on the computer (however you work better), quickly write down every main subject/topic you can think of that you’d like to cover in this work. Don’t worry about the order or complete sentences or anything like that. And by “quickly,” what I mean is that as soon as you have to stop to think about it, go on to the next step. You can always come back and add more (and probably will). For example, when I started writing my teacher training manual, my list started like this: sequencing, playlists, anatomy, ethics, breathing… etc etc.

3. Then, take one of these topics, and do the same thing …meaning, quickly jot down any thoughts you want to be sure to cover or address on this specific topic. Again, as soon as you have to stop and think about it, move on to the next topic.

Now you have a beginning! When you’re ready to continue, here’s what I suggest:

1. Take one of the topics with your jotted-down notes and spend some time thinking about what else you want to include. Write these down. When you find you can’t think of anything to add, go on to the next step.

2. Take your list of points to cover within one topic and put them in the order you think is important.

3. Now, start to write actual sentences. Go point by point and write as much or as little as seems to make sense. Don’t worry about making it grammatically correct or using the exactly right word. Just get a written draft down.

Now you have a first draft! At this point, you can revise that draft, or set it aside as you work on another topic, or send it to someone to edit it (a friend or colleague or professional editor). I find that working like this totally takes away the overwhelm factor and makes each piece very digestible.

Good luck! And if you need any cheerleading, feel free to email me. Cheerleading is always free.

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Letter from Lori: The Elusive Voice

loripic_cropIt’s been a looooong time since I’ve written a newsletter! I do have a good reason, though: I’ve been working like mad to finish my novel, yippee! (And P.S.: I also got engaged!!!).
Now I’m off to the next step of querying agents to find one who’s the perfect match for both me and my book. Finding an agent or editor means finding someone who gets your voice, both as a person and as a writer.
Understanding what is meant by “voice” can be a confusing thing for many of us writers. In the broadest sense, it means the way in which we tell the world who we are. You would think that finding our “voice” would be easy. We are, after all, each of us unique, so talking and/or writing in a unique way should come naturally.
You might think that, but — for most of us — it isn’t true. Since the inception of Yoga:edit, what I’ve found most of my clients need is not line-by-line proofreading, but someone who can make their words sound like them. In other words, they need me to help them find their voice. And these are people who teach everyday, some of them to more than a hundred people in every class.
Each of these clients already has a clear voice when they teach, but when it comes to writing they have a hard time sounding like themselves. Too many of us think that when we write non-fiction (such as about yoga) we need to take ourselves out of the picture and write like detached scientists. But that isn’t why our students love us, or what will make someone want to read our book or article. What makes people want to read what we’ve written is authenticity. People want to connect with writing that feels real, engaging, and alive. And that means finding your voice.
If you feel as though your writing is not highlighting your truest self, check out the Top 5 Ways to Find Your Writing Voice, below. It’s aimed specifically at yoga teachers, but I find these exercises useful in all my writing whether fiction or non-fiction.
Your students love you because you’re YOU. Let your original and fabulous “you-ness” be not just heard, but also read.
Much love ~
Lori
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