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A great way to begin the act of writing is to draw a map first. Huh? I’m serious. When I was a teacher I used to have my students draw a map of their neighborhood and label everything. Click HERE to see my example. Then I had them highlight or circle anything on their maps that held an interesting, emotional, humorous or important story – and in their Writer’s Notebooks they jotted down a list of possible stories they could tell…from their own life.


It works like a charm.


Later on in the year I had them do a Heart Map. Again, click HERE to see my example. People and things near and dear to your heart fill the inside of the heart – each drawing has countless writing potential.


Lastly, I learned this from the brilliant writer James Howe: LISTEN and WATCH the world for anything interesting, strange, funny, weird, sad, fascinating, scary, etc…as you navigate throughout each day. And always carry something to keep your new ideas in. I personally have tiny pad in my purse at all times and I pull it out whenever I hear or see something I think I could use in the future.

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