Culture Change

An approach to culture change within an organization.


Planning a Planning System


A graphic representation of how to approach creating a person centered planning system.


Visual Tools for Writers: Storyboards

Storyboards are illustrations placed in sequence to help visualize a scene or narrative. Used for 80 years or more in film and animation studios, they have a lot to offer writers. While some storyboards for movies are regarded as works of art in and of themselves, drawing ability is not necessary to use storyboards. Stick figures are characters too.

I tend to use storyboards when I am writing complex actions. It’s easy to get caught up in the words and have the actions lose their gravity. By sketching the scene, even in the most basic form, I can track movements and consequences. It grounds the action, making it more believable. The reader can follow the action without backtracking to figure out what’s happening to who, where and when.

stick figure storyboard sample of visual tools for writers

Storyboards can help writers with pacing. A quick sketch of the basics of each scene can show slow spots. Five consecutive scenes of two talking heads smoking cigarettes in coffee shops? Might be exactly what you’re after. Or it might be worth revisiting…

Storyboarding on Post-it notes is an effective way to play with your narrative sequence. Seeing your whole story in a single glance helps you build coherence. It’s wonderfully easy to explore options as you move scenes around. Doing this with pictures, rather than written notes, gives the process immediacy. You can see more of your story with one look and you can evaluate options faster.

For writers, storyboarding is a thinking-and-doing tool, not a work of art. Don’t stress about your artistic ability.

If you are interested in learning more about using visual tools please consider attending my Graphic Facilitation Workshop Saturday April 28, 2012, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Handmade in America offices in downtown Asheville.


What is a plan?

The word ‘plan’ is frequently used in human services. The plan at the very core of how services are provided. And yet, the term doesn’t really measure up to the task of defining what is really going on. The concept of planning, as typically done in the real world, is part of the puzzle, but there’s a lot more to it. I created this graphic to explore what a plan truly is.

More to come…


Structured Note-taking

This is a blank handout from my recent workshop on Killer Presentations. The participants have this and a colorful array of markers and pencils. I have a huge version of this on the wall and fill it in as we go along. I’m always fascinated to see how people engage the information and make their notes their own.

My finished version of this section’s notes are below.


Screen-writing class notes

On February 14, I attended the first class of Maryedith Burrell’s screen-writing course, as offered through the Great Smokies Writing Program. I recorded a half hour discourse on the history of the narrative in western civilization. It went at a breakneck pace and as full as the page is, I still missed some stuff. It was great fun and I learned a lot in the process.

Download a printable version of the graphic notes from the workshop. (1.2 MB)


Flatiron Writers Workshop: Done & dusted

On February 11, the Flatiron Writers and Papershine co-sponsored their first workshop: Creating Your Writing Life. Despite the snowy weather, twenty brave souls joined us at the Unitarian church in Asheville for the daylong workshop. The seminar focused on helping people develop the commitments and habits necessary to realize their writing goals. It was a wonderful and productive day.

I graphically recorded the whole day. It was great fun, because that was my main role, listening and drawing. Often I am facilitating or teaching as I do my graphics, so my attention is divided. The ‘artwork’ suffers. As a group, we had used visual processes to develop the outline, and that gave me a leg up as well; I had a plan for laying out the information before the event started.

Download a printable version of the graphic notes from the workshop. (2.3 MB)

Stay tuned for our next workshop!


My Writing Life

My writing life, in prepartion for next weekend’s workshop with the the Flatiron Writers.


PowerPoint versus Slideshows

In my presentations workshop, I make a distinction between PowerPoint and slideshows. The slide projector can be an incredible communication tool, sharing images, video and a host of other meaningful content. PowerPoint, as typically used, is good at creating lists. Content often ends up mashed into a hierarchy of bullet points. And God forbid the presenter reads them out loud.


New Workshop: Creating a writing life

I’m partnering with the Flatiron Writers to present:

Creating Your Writing Life
This is an all-day workshop designed for those who want to make consistent and sustainable room in their lives for writing. It’s about nurturing that creative space within you, and feeding it with production and pages. Let us help you uncover the resources within to get yourself writing regularly and with purpose.

Learn more and register here: Creating a Writing Life
Learn more about the Flatiron Writers.