Stepping Stones Blog

WIP – Kansas City

plaza-3For those of you who follow my Sunday Salon posts, you know that I have maintained a consistent blogging schedule for nearly two months now.  I feel as though I have a rhythm, and I am learning to think ahead and plan accordingly.

Specific writing projects, however, are not going as well.  I have not found a manageable rhythm, and I am experiencing difficulty with time management.  It takes FAR longer to complete these longer, more personal projects than I ever anticipated.

For one thing, there is the brainstorming.  I am learning that I must employ this practice at nearly every stage of the project.  I brainstorm to narrow the focus of an idea… or solidify an angle.  Then I brainstorm to discover the right organizational structure.  Often that requires another brainstorm session for what material to include, what to discard, and what needs more research.  While this is all vital to the project, I have yet to write a single word towards the first draft.

plaza-1Another reason for the delay is I am a visual learner, and I am often inspired by photographs.  Both of these current projects require combing through pictures on my computer to discover what I can use, and then make a “shot list” for pictures that I still need.  There is time spent on the photo shoot, which then results in time spent uploading, editing and selecting the final shots.  Notice I have still not put pen to paper, but all contributes to the writing process.

The main project that I am working on this month is for the class, Writing About Nowhere, that I will be taking July 26-27 (yes… that would be next week!!).  The prompt for the assignment is fairly broad:


Imagine you are asked by your mayor to show a dignitary from another country your city. Find a spot, position yourself, and write the portrait of your home town.

plaza-5My first order of business was to brainstorm a list of quintessential Kansas City attractions.  This rather extensive list included such things as:

  • Jazz music
  • Barbecue
  • KC sports (Royals baseball – Chiefs football – Sporting KC soccer)
  • Hallmark Cards
  • Country Club Plaza
  • Kauffman Center of the Arts
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum
  • Bi-state city (Missouri and Kansas)
  • Middle of the US (easy access)
  • City of Fountains (second to Rome)
  • Sister City = Seville, Spain
  • Friendly, hospitable city

plaza-2After the list was made, I had to brainstorm the ONE spot to visit that would allow me to talk about these different facets of my hometown. Ultimately, I decided on the Country Club Plaza (the Plaza Lights at Christmas is legendary), but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the other components.  This required a brainstorming field trip.

I selected a beautiful summer day last week to drive to the Plaza and have lunch at an open-air cafe.  This terrace location gave me a great view of the main thoroughfare, allowing me to focus on sensory details.

  • I noticed a fountain across the street (which would help me transition to the City of Fountains)
  • A busload of teen tourists surrounded the fountain, taking selfies (I could talk about our convenient location)
  • As I listened closely, a heard flute music in the background ( a nice segue to Kansas City Jazz…)
  • The Spanish architecture allows me to discuss our relationship with Seville
  • The banners on the lampposts advertised:  Be Royal (which not only allows me to discuss our sports’ teams, but also our fierce loyalty and hospitality)

plaza-4After lunch I took a stroll and found Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue … and Hall’s department store (owned by Hallmark):  two necessary components to the piece.  Brush Creek adds another European touch to our midwestern city, complete with gondola rides and a locks-of-love bridge.

All-in-all, I believe I found all I needed for this article.  The next phase was to return to the Plaza and take a few photographs, if not to illustrate the article, then to help me improve my writing skills where I “show” these sights, sounds, smells and tastes rather than just “tell” about them.

So… not a lot of “writing” this week, but a lot of writing activity.

Next week will be the time to put butt in chair.




1 Comment

  1. cestlavieladypatience

    I wish you all the best. I literally live around the corner and down the street from the Plaza.

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