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Cynthia Giles
Writer, dreamer, walker . . .
Recent Activity
What are PowerPoint Pathways? Visually rich ebooklets that combine PowerPoint insights with short, thought-provoking texts A way to discover new PPT features and capabilities, while also exploring ideas about a wide variety of subjects A series that offers something for (almost) everyone, no matter their level of PPT expertise PPT... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at PowerPoint Pathways
The Story Behind PPT Pathways After many years of working with PowerPoint, I decided to explore some of the features I don't usually get to use. Most of my work as a freelance presentation designer has been focused on corporate communications--not a roomy area for creative experimentation. So I set... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at PowerPoint Pathways
I'm getting great results from using MindMeister and WiseMapping in complementary ways. The free version of MindMeister is fully functional but limited to three mindmaps at any one time. MindMeister lets you utilize themes (setting colors and styles across the whole map) and create snappy presentations automatically--making it a great tool for maps you want to share. But I don't need those features when mind-mapping for my own purposes, which are more along the lines of organizing my ideas, playing around with options, exploring relationships, and so on. WiseMapping is relatively frill-free, but it does a great job of letting... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at Stream of Consciousness
Just discovered WiseMapping, a mind-mapping tool that lets you embed your map on a blog. It's open source and free, so I'm going to give it a try--look for the result on thewritersoffice.net. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at Stream of Consciousness
Productivity auditions took a new turn. Really like MeisterTask after all--especially integration with MindMeister. Think it up in MM and get it done with MT! Therefore skipped Nozbe and other contenders. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Stream of Consciousness
Started auditioning new productivity tools again. Today--MeisterMind (which I really like so far), and MeisterTask (which I don't think will replace Trello, but might have its own uses). Next--revisiting Nozbe. Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Stream of Consciousness
I have an M.A. from the University of Dallas, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas. Early in my career, I was managing editor of Spring Publications, as well as editor-in-chief of Saybrook Publishers, and I was... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at Cynthia Giles
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A Pinterest board that's all about great spaces for writing. Get some ideas! Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at The Writer's Office
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A friend of mine has a son just graduating from college, and he wants to be "a writer." She asked me where he should start, and I said: decide what kind of "a writer" you want to be! To provide a little bit of help, I made this high-level road map. Just click on it for a more readable view! Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at The Writer's Office
Posted Jun 24, 2012 at A Tarot Store
Can't tell you how much I appreciate this comment, Jennifer! Must confess: I got busy with other tasks and have not developed this site as I meant to. But your note has encouraged me to pick it up again. I'll be posting several stories in the next week or so--and doing a little reconfiguration, as I'm shifting the Working/Space component to a board on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/cgbluebird/the-writer-s-office/). Many thanks for the inspiration--and please let me know if you'd like to author a guest post once I get the site back on track.
Toggle Commented Apr 30, 2012 on Writing at the Kitchen Table at The Writer's Office
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Let's assume there's plenty of practical stuff: pads, pens, paper clips, files, calendar, computer, etc. And there might be something decorative, like a plant or a framed photograph. But is there anything that inspires you? Relaxes you? Reminds you of creative goals? If so, award yourself extra points. If not--or if you want to refresh your desktop landscape--consider these possibilities: A fountain. There's nothing like the sound of flowing water to nourish the imagination. If you have time, make your own. (It's not that hard.) Or you might like one of these. A terrarium. From rock gardens to rain forests,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2011 at The Writer's Office
People tend to think of "business writing" and "technical writing" as completely different from "creative writing." But here at The Writer's Office . . . all writing is writing! And writing is always about using language all by itself to produce some sort of result. When we talk in person we can use various cues (expressions, questions, etc.) to tune the message during delivery. But when we write, we put words on a page and send them out into the world. No tweaking, no taking back. If all or part of your writing is technical, instructional, informational, or persuasive--success coach... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2011 at The Writer's Office
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Full disclosure: I would NEVER go back to writing by hand, or even using an old-fashioned typewriter. The personal computer doesn't have a bigger fan than me. But I would love to have handsome, interesting, readable handwriting. And I'd like to understand why my handwriting changes according to mood, circumstances, subject matter--or whatever. Meantime, though: See what CBS Sunday Morning has to say (and show) about the art of penmanship. Then revisit the romance of Writing Letters with Pen and Ink in a charming, informative book by Edward St. Paige. Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2011 at The Writer's Office
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In 1942, popular author Irène Némirovsky (a Ukrainian Jew who had lived most of her life in France) began planning a five-part novel that would explore the French experience of war and Nazi occupation. But she completed only the first two parts before her arrest. The manuscript--written in amazingly tiny script, to save precious paper--was left in a suitcase, along with her notes and journals. A few months later, both Némirovsky and her husband died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Their two young daughters survived, and managed to take the suitcase out of France. But . . . thinking... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2011 at The Writer's Office
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Besides the fact that walking is healthy for everyone, there are four good reasons why writers, especially, should walk as often as possible: Walking a lot makes you alert to your surroundings. If you spend much time crossing streets or parking lots, you learn to be aware of sounds and movements that might announce an oncoming car or unfriendly dog. If you walk through grassy fields, you soon realize that the ground is not necessarily as flat as it looks! I think this is what soldiers call "situational awareness," and it turns out to have high value for writers too... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2010 at The Writer's Office
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Anyone who writes a lot stops occasionally (or often) to search for the right word. And when you are writing on deadline, or "writing to measure" for some particular type of content project, it's important to have a lot of useful words handy. The MS Office thesaurus comes in very handy, but it's not a total solution. I've collected some plug-in word lists for easy access to verbal variety, organized by the type of writing, and they really are a big help. Shared below are 76 Verbs useful for non-fiction, including journalism, business writing, and academic material. If you would... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2010 at The Writer's Office
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Book Drum offers an exciting and entirely new way to share the love of books. Contributors create "profiles" that add informative notes--along with images, links, audio, video, maps, and more--that enhance the reading experience. It's a chance to see books you know in a new way, and a wonderfully rich place to make new reading discoveries. Along with about eighty other contributors, I wrote one of the debut profiles for Book Drum. My choice was Borderlands, an extraordinary memoir by poet and activist Gloria Anzaldua. It's the featured profile until July 11, so you'll see it on the landing page.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2010 at The Writer's Office
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Why not? Forget that box of boring business cards and get some really great ones from MOO. Choose one of their excellent designs, or you can upload your own images—and every card in your order can have a different design if you want to go nuts. These cards really do get attention, so they are worth the small investment. Use them to invent an extra/alternative version of yourself, start that freelance thing you’ve been thinking about, or add some snap to your professional image. And if you don't already have business cards that say Writer . . . why not? Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2010 at The Writer's Office
Cynthia Giles is now following DWR
Jul 5, 2010
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Believe it or not, that skill you learned (maybe) in fifth grade or junior high is one of the best friends you can have as a writer. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, long articles, short blog posts, whole books, or tweet-length ad copy--outlining can pay off ten-fold in better, faster writing. And yes! I'm talking about the old-fashioned, hierarchical, Roman numeral outline. Simple reason: good thinking leads to good writing, and making an orderly outline forces you to look at thinking instead of words. When done correctly, outlining ensures that ideas/information/characters/events appear in the right order and relationship. That creates... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2010 at The Writer's Office
Next time you need inspiration (or just a productive distraction), try one of these entertaining exercises. Seriously . . . 1. 1. The English Patient Consider the difference between what’s meant to be read (Michael Ondaatje’s book) and what’s meant to be performed (Anthony Minghella’s Oscar-nominated screenplay). 2. 2. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Match Point (2005) Writer/director Woody Allen made two very different films that explore exactly the same idea—but each in a very distinctive style. Which do you prefer? Which do you think is the better film? Classic Charm 3. 3. Clueless and Emma Two movies based on... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2010 at The Writer's Office
I just heard an interview (on NPR's Morning Edition) with Senator Edward Kennedy's widow, who said she has notes that Teddy dictated to his nanny after his first communion! Some people are apparently born with a desire to preserve their experiences, while other people don't get the impulse til later in life. But whenever it comes along--that's the time to start. And even if you don't have an impulse, why not try it anyway? Just pick up any notebook, or get a stack of index cards, and start jotting. If you want to get more serious about journaling, look for... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2009 at Stream of Consciousness
I just realized, while doing my daily scan of "opportunities," that I've learned a lot about myself while looking for work. When I first started freelancing, I replied to many job postings that were related in a general way to things I've done, skills I have, etc. I've always assumed I could do just about anything that required good writing, so I chased after anything that looked even remotely like a fit. But over time I realized that I never got responses for most types of projects--and I began to look at each posting not in terms of "could I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2009 at Stream of Consciousness