The Art & Business of Writing

April 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Date: Monday, April 19, 2010
Place: International House of Japan; a map is here
Time: 6:30 p.m. light meal and networking; 7:00 p.m. talks begin

After gazing at the ephemeral beauty of cherry blossoms and raising a glass or three under the trees this season, we hope you are ready to get back to business at our next monthly meeting—the business of writing, that is.

Media Tectonics loves talented and inventive wordsmiths, and this month we’ll have two of the finest in the land on hand—Angela Jeffs and Burton Blume. They’ll delve into the writing process, including creative writer’s block and the potency of language in branding, and unlock some doors you may not even realize were closed.

Combination Plate #1

“Drawing on the Writer Within”

Everyone writes lists, reminders, reports, e-mails, blogs and even the occasional letter, yet most people believe they cannot write. What scares them? The idea of Words as Art.

Angela Jeffs wants to banish that fear forever. She’ll introduce us to the transformational creative writing program she devised over the last five years, called Drawing on the Writer Within. Angela will explain why she started DOTWW, how the program has developed, and how its various therapeutic elements form what has been described as “an organic process of growing confidence, skill, authenticity and self-awareness.”

She’ll also give us a simple, interactive demonstration of the DOTWW concept. To make this work, she’s asking everyone to bring something picked up along the way—a leaf, a flower, a scrap of rubbish, or whatever catches your eye and resonates—and some paper and a pen or pencil.

About Angela: Before Angela came to Japan in 1986 she was a London-based freelance editor, consultant editor, and consulting development editor and book packager. Angela reinvented herself here as a journalist—including writing a weekly interview for The Japan Times for 22 years—covering topics such as travel, money and women’s issues. Her last book, Insider’s Tokyo, came out in 2001. Her latest work, completed last autumn, is still in search of a publisher, but Angela has already moved on to a new project.

Combination Plate #2

“The Value of Words—Building Strong Brands Through Verbal Identity”

Far too many people focus on a company’s logo and other visual cues and neglect its verbal identity—the accumulation of words and phrases that define an organization’s brand and culture. That power shouldn’t be slighted. Veteran copywriter, marcom director and brand strategist Burton Blume of Interbrand will tell us why, and walk us through various types of verbal identities, including brand names, slogans and messaging systems as well as the related realm of trademarks.

Burton will also use a case study to illustrate just how crucial research is to crafting strategic messages. He’ll address the rising role of blogs and social media as marketing mediums, the new rules governing corporate engagement, and the critical function language plays.

About Burton: Born in Los Angeles, Burton attended Cal State L.A. and the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the famed Writer’s Workshop. A longtime Japan resident, he was international creative director at Hakuhodo Inc. and the director of marketing communications for IBM Asia Pacific before joining branding powerhouse Interbrand in 2001, where he is the executive strategy director for the Asia-Pacific region. At Interbrand, Burton has handled branding projects for companies such as ANA, Mizuho Bank, Thai Air, Honda, Sony, and Singha Corporation. He’s also a published poet whose creative work has won several gold and silver prizes at the Tokyo Ad Show and a CLIO in 1988.


Cost: 4,500 yen (prepaid); 5,500 yen at the door

Be sure to RSVP early and take advantage of the prepayment discount.

RSVP: Send us an email, and we’ll send you the bank transfer details.

We’ve tried to keep the costs low, but based on your valuable feedback we’re adding a meal this time so there will be plenty of time to network, and no one will go home hungry. If you come early, drinks can be ordered in the lobby from 6:00 p.m. Feel free to tell the I-House staff you are with MT in order to get the member’s rate.

Media Tectonics seminars are designed to introduce you to new opportunities, career options, and people you may not have had a chance to meet otherwise. Be inspired, and challenge yourself to play a bigger game this year in your life and in your career. We look forward to seeing you on April 19!


Community News

Fujisawa Beach Cleaning Project 2010

This Project is an environmental, educational and intercultural initiative that brings foreigners and Japanese together in a do-good, feel-good project. It involves a fun, family-friendly, tangible community beach clean-up and an aperitif buffet after-party in Fujisawa. This year, there will be an Earth Day clean-up on April 18th (raindate May 23rd), and a Fall Shonan Coastal Clean-up. Sponsors usually participate via in-kind or cash contributions, and encourage their staff and families to volunteer. This local community initiative has a relatively large impact. The area in Fujsawa (Kugenuma Kaigan and the coast) attracts over 14 million visitors annually; while Kamakura (6km away) attracts 19 million. Last October, 100 volunteers cleaned and sorted 42kg of beach debris. Ten companies made in-kind or cash contributions. Media coverage included Yokohama FM, the American Chamber of Commerce Japan, WIFM, Outdoor Japan, Metropolis, Tokyo Families. For your convenience, a link to last October’s clean-up is included at the end of this message. The Project is listed with the American Chamber of Commerce (Japan) on their Community Events notice board, and the French and Canadian chambers are also aware of the Project. For this spring’s clean-up, since we expect over 200 volunteers, we held a March 14th Wine and Cheese Charity Fundraiser. Information is also included in the links below. I know that you are quite busy. But, my hope is that you could share some ideas, re: getting the word out about the Charity Fundraiser and the Fujisawa Beach Cleaning Project, or even pass the information/links along. With kind regards, Alana Bonzi

Last October Beach Clean-up
March 14th Fundraiser

Special Invitation to an FCCJ Book Break: The Six Immutable Laws of Mobile Business

In the spirit of introducing you to new people and new places, even if you aren’t a member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, here is your opportunity to attend one of their regular events and learn something about business applications for the mobile phone at the same time. Mobile content providers are often looking for writers, creative programmers, game developers, innovative thinkers and daydreamers. Authors Philip Sugai, Marco Koeder and Ludovico Ciferri interviewed some of the biggest names in the mobile business, and they can tell you about what’s coming next in the mobile landscape. Check out the event notice on the FCCJ website.
To sign up, send an email to Cindy at info(at)mediatectonics(dot)come, and your name will be added to the guest list. Dinner is included for 1,875 yen (including tax), and you can pay cash at the Reception Desk on the 20th floor of Yurakucho Denki Building (North Tower). A map is available on the FCCJ website. The book was published in January by John Wiley & Sons, so come help us celebrate. Authors and their agent, Cindy Mullins, are able to bring an unlimited number of guests, so please contact Cindy to make a reservation, NOT the Club, unless you are a member of the FCCJ.

Women Writers’ Festival in Tokyo – CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have writing or publishing expertise you would like to share? A book you’re launching? A great new piece of writing you would like to share? A performance you know people will love? Then complete an application to participate as a presenter, reader or workshop facilitator in the first annual International Women Writers’ Festival in Tokyo. (Presenters can be male or female but participants at this event will be female.)

This year, as we launch this new, ambitious annual gathering, the Festival will be held all day on Sunday, May 23. We need people who would like to facilitate a workshop, participate in or propose a panel discussion, host a storytelling session, discuss the profession, art, or craft of writing. You can also apply to give a reading or a performance at the reception.

The only criterion is that applications should relate in some way to writing and be geared in part towards celebrating and supporting international women writers in Japan. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit – writing poetry, novels, or short stories, running a writer’s group, writing for children/teens, freelance writing, business writing, making a living from writing, screenwriting, song writing, writing for the Internet, blogging, inspirational writing, self-help books, how to blast writer’s block, self-publishing, traditional publishing, marketing and promoting writing, the role of the writer and reader, storytelling-you name it!

Presenting in the Festival is a volunteer endeavor but we will have an exhibition area where you can sell your books, or other materials. We cannot pay speakers at this event but we will promote them widely in all our PR materials and publications. Also presenters will not be required to pay the attendance fee for the festival. And their lunch and snacks will be provided as a thank you for their efforts. The deadline for applications is March 10th. To apply answer the questions on this link

If you have any questions or require more information, please contact Lauren Shannon at If you can help on the festival committee, volunteer on the day or would like to offer other support or sponsorship please contact me via email asap. We are looking for sponsors from companies or individuals that would like to support women writers and help us defer the cost of the day. We will be hosting the event in Minami Aoyama at the new Wesley Center. And the planned time is from 10am-6pm with a reception following.


About Media Tectonics

The rise of new media is rocking the ground beneath us, affecting the bottom line of industries like publishing, journalism, film, advertising and public relations, not to mention numerous major brands. That’s why Media Tectonics–a subsidiary of 4M Associates–is presenting workshops on publishing, social media and online technologies designed to:

• reveal the best ways to navigate the new landscape and save you time, resources and money;

• explore ways that you can create multiple (and passive) streams of income; and

• supply the support, networking, mentoring and inspiration you need to do your best work yet, in whatever new or old media outlet suits your talents and expertise.

Tectonics is from the Greek “to build.” Media Tectonics is committed to helping you build up your new media skills, expand your career options, stay ahead of the learning curve and get prepared for what’s coming next!

Some exciting collaborations have already taken place, or are in the works, and you never know what valuable contacts you can make just by introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you.

Don’t forget to become a fan of Media Tectonics on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter. You can also subscribe to the Media Tectonics Channel on YouTube. We also have the beginnings of a website and we look forward to your contributions to this work in progress. Check us out at! The first part of our interview with thriller author Barry Eisler is up. Check it out!


We look forward to seeing you on April 19 at I-House.

The Media Tectonics Team

About Cindy Mullins
Cindy Mullins has loved books and languages ever since her mom began dropping her off on Saturdays for “Story Hour” at the Carnegie-built library of the small southern U.S. town she grew up in. She came to Tokyo in 1985 to study Japanese, taught English for a time on Shikoku Island, and still calls Japan home. A respected member of Japan’s publishing industry for over two decades, Cindy has done everything from producing and running magazines and journals to acquiring titles for major publishers like Charles E. Tuttle and John Wiley & Sons and shepherding them into print.

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