Words of wisdom

Everyone enjoys, yet also sometimes despises, giving and receiving advice from family and friends. We usually do so verbally, but the goal of this exercise is to write our words of wisdom. You can give general advice, or choose a specific topic to give advice about, such as friendship, marriage or parenting. You can also choose to write the advice for a particular person or for anyone.

This writing exercise requires bulleted sentences rather than extended prose. So, you will be working to find the correct words that you want to use in order to accurately express your advice and to find ways to summarize your ideas. You can write out thoughts, and then work to summarize into simple sentences.

Version 1 (general):
1. If you have a “motto” or “words to live by” what are they? What are some of your favorite sayings? What are your “words of wisdom” that people should always remember?
2. Explain why these “words of wisdom” so important to you.

Version 2 (specific person):
1. Choose a person for whom you want to give advice. Write down his or her name, a little bit of information about the person, and what type of advice you want to give. Try to be as specific as possible about what type of advice you want to give. For example: “I want to write advice to my niece who is getting married in four weeks. I want to give her advice about how to have a long, successful marriage.” Take the time to write a list of people and types of advice then choose one.
2. What three pieces of advice do you have for that individual? First, jot down as many ideas as possible, and then look at list to see what three themes arise. From these ideas, write your three pieces of advice.
3. What are three things you do not advise them to do? Again, jot down your ideas, then look at list to find themes, and then work into three things you do not advise them to do.
4. Re-read your previous responses (advice and what you don’t advise). How do they fit together? Is there an overall theme that arises? If so, what is it? What are your “words of wisdom”?

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