Monday, September 22, 2008

A Day with Inspirational Writer Bob Yehling

By Rene Allen

Saturday, I attended a five hour workshop given by Bob Yehling, author, editor, book doctor, etc., on inspirational writing, which he calls transformational writing.

One of the highlights of the workshop included a discussion about the three types of thinking in transformational writing and how they are interactive in a piece of writing. Proactive thinking is just that, planning, doing pre-writing, and creating the emotional, physical and mental space for the project. Critical thinking is looking at the material and making decisions about what goes into a piece, and after a first draft, about structure and editing. Visionary thinking is also important, seeing the end from the beginning, the ability to create the goal which then helps stick to the process of writing.

One of the problems with inspirational writing is that it usually requires the writer use self as a springboard in a cause and effect format. Getting into the core, the self where passion and feeling are can be difficult. There are techniques that help do this, such as writing about the environment when something is so difficult it cannot be approached directly. For example, writing about the furniture in a room may permit a “backdoor” entry into an event that was hard but life changing. Also, finding a metaphor for the experience and expanding it, then returning full circle to saying how my life is like ________ may be a way into the emotional essence of an experience as well.

As an example of this, I used the simile that my writing time is like a target in a batter’s cage, then described how different types of hitters, including myself at times, deflect me from my writing.

Bob Yehling has self-published a book that won the bronze prize in 2007 for self-published books, “Writes of Life,” that include his tips on writing inspirational material. Here’s an inauspicious beginning for my inspirational writing. I made it home with two of the three books I purchased at the workshop and lost that one. Sigh. There’s always something . . .

3 comments:

  1. I like the aspect of starting a scene by relating to something in the locale of the event. Good way to hook someone.

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  2. Yes, inspirational writing is definitely transformational writing, because you are either writing about a spiritual discovery you made that changed you, or about a difficult issue you are facing right now that requires transformation and change and yes, repentance, to write about as it deserves. I spent a whole year on writing about Isaiah for teenagers and for my writing to be sincere, I had to become the good that I was writing about. I had to do a lot of changing. When I felt blocked, it was often because I wasn't yet humble, or I had sins to repent of that were getting in the way of receiving the intelligence I needed.
    It's very rewarding and energizing.

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