Writing exercise for building empathy, Part 2

A month or so ago, I published a post about how writers — and everyone else — could benefit from building empathy. I’d like to share another strategy about which I’ve gotten a positive feedback about. This exercise in particular will build you as a writer, and as a person.

For this exercise you can do one of two things: Continue reading

Personal Geographic

Some of my readers know already that I’m a big fan of National Geographic. For someone who studied anthropology for years, it’s pretty much like periodical crack. (Yes, periodical crack can be read both ways.) I dig the magazine so much, that I spend an hour or two every month reading it cover-to-cover in order to scribble over any non-G rated language so that my children can read the magazine and become educated world citizens without losing their innocence. To some people, that last sentence probably seemed like a paradox, but if you’re an Orthodox Jewish mother with a graduate degree in anthropology and children, it’ll make perfect sense.

Garrison Keillor’s Personal Geographic

MagazineThe February issue has a delightful article by Gerrison Keillor, all about his personal geography. He meanders his way through time and space, describing the landscape of “his” Minnesota: here’s where he went on a field trip, there he had his first job, his cousin died on that spot.

Your Personal Geographic

I thought this was a marvelous exercise for a writer: take a map, add the landmarks of your personal geography to it, then write. Or, better yet, map the setting of your story. Add the landmarks of your characters’ lives. Where did they meet? Where did they lose something? Where did they find something? Now, write.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments below.