Monday, August 31, 2015

Perfection--Is It Worth the Effort?

Strawberry shortcake, Nadia Comaneci (1976), Randy Johnson (05/18/04), a 300 score in bowling... All signify perfection. Yes, strawberry shortcake is perfection. Ask my taste buds.

In church on Sunday, the speaker shared a story (and I tried to find it, but couldn't) about an experiment the military did. The test group first measured the strength of their individual grips. Under hypnosis, they were told they were weak and sick. Their grip strength was then measured, the results, predictably, were less than the initial measurement. Hypnotized again, they were told how strong they were. I'm sure you see where this is going: the results were considerably higher than the baseline measurement.

Do we choose to listen to the negative side of striving for perfection (it's not possible, so why try?), or do we continue to work hard to reach it and in doing so bypass our expectations and perceived abilities?

Which path will you choose? Learn all you can, strive to be perfect (even if it's just one area like grammar or time committed each day to perfecting your craft), and as always, Write On my friends!



Monday, August 24, 2015

Obstacles. What are yours?

Atsushi at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is, no doubt, a masterpiece. Over millions of years, a river carved out this deep and colorful chasm. We do not have millions of years to build our masterpieces, but we do have obstacles in our winding path of creation.

Things that hold us back may range from poor use of our time to lacking self confidence to difficult seasons in our lives. But what is it you really want to do? What is one thing you can give up to do it?

A while ago, I read a fabulous book, Faithful, Fit, and Fabulous, by Connie Sokol. It changed how I saw my time and that I could make tiny changes that would have a significant impact. I had wanted to read to my children, but the time never seemed consistent or right. The bedtime routine went something like this: brush teeth, get in bed, mom hangs out playing on her phone while kids go to sleep. I decided that I would give up playing on my phone and read to them while they fell asleep. It wasn't that I suddenly had more time or a better time, it was that I gave up something I'd been doing for something that I really wanted. I found that it worked far better than I thought it would.

This week's challenge it to make one tiny change. What is it you really want? One tiny change--what will it be? 


Monday, August 17, 2015

#AmReading

I finished reading several books over the summer.

How about you? Did you get to escape on an amazing adventure within the cover of a book? I would love to know what your favorites were.

My favorites (and thus being, the ones I can highly recommend) were:

Kingdom of Ruses, by Kate Stradling

Tournament of Ruses, by Kate Stradling

Attractive Nuisance, by Jennifer Griffith

The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, (novellas) by Heather B. Moore, Julie Wright, and Melanie Jacobsen

and

Rising, by Holly Kelly

They're all clean with varying levels of romance. And not only clean, but I didn't want to put them down.

#AmReading: I'm currently reading All Hallow's Eve (novellas), by Heather B. Moore, Annette Lyon, Sarah M. Eden, Lisa Magnum, Elana Johnson, and Jordan McCollum. Loved the first story and can't wait to get into the rest...

Happy reading and as always, Write On, my friends (or maybe for this post I should say "Read On, my friends, Read On!").


Monday, August 3, 2015

Luck

In the temple of the giant Buddha in Nara, Japan, stands a large post with a tiny square hole cut in the bottom of it. If you are able to squeeze through, it is said to bring good luck.

In our stories, our characters sometimes get themselves into tight places. Like real people, our characters can't grow without some challenges. And like people, it isn't believable to have a character without a trial they have to face.

What's the worst thing that could happen in the scene you're writing? Write it. How do your characters respond? This will show what they're made of. Of course, we can't have pages and pages of difficult things without a break, without a shimmer of silver lining, without a little bit of luck. Weave both challenging situations and a bit of good fortune into your story and as always, Write On my friends.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Becoming Stronger

just emerged butterfly
The process of becoming a butterfly is one that has fascinated many of us since our youth. A tiny caterpillar grows to become a larger caterpillar and then encapsulates itself for a short period of time while undergoing miraculous changes. But the challenge of becoming a butterfly is in the work that comes after emerging from the chrysalis. Stretching wet wings, flexing and moving them until they are dry and can lift the tiny creature. If the butterfly is unable to stretch and move and dry its wings, it will die. 

As writers, we must stretch--learning new skills, honing old ones--and work, work, work, until our writing takes flight on strong beautiful wings. It isn't easy, and unlike the butterfly, our work never ends. Each new project is like the precious butterfly, requiring us to repeat the process before something incredible emerges. Keep flapping your wings and Write On my friends.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Inspiration

As youth, we put up posters and quotes and pictures that inspired us. From music stars to sports teams, from mythical animals to movie sensations and sayings that we connected with. Our favorite things fighting for a space to breathe on our walls.

Red Gate at Miyajima Japan
As adults, do we surround ourselves with things that uplift and inspire? I love the concept of vision boards. It's the bedroom wall of our youth squashed into a much smaller space. Your board could be on a sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" card stock or a 12" x 12" magnetic board, or even a 3' x 4' poster. What would be on it?

Each of us is unique and has our own set of challenges and abilities. But know this, you, YOU are amazing in your own way. Believe in yourself. I believe in you, I believe you can overcome and achieve great things. Sometimes we need help and sometimes we need to extend help.

I hope through my writing that I might lift and inspire. May you also. Write On my friends.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer!

Yes, it's summer and my normal routine has been hi-jacked. Late mornings, family vacations, extreme heat warnings, engagements, diet soda, swim team, out-of-towners, BFFs, reflections, and milestones have all been part of it. I like summer for its lack of routine, for having my kids around, and for opportunities to get together with family and friends. However, I do need to have some semblance of a routine (like blogging on Mondays) and writing every day.

One of my accountability partners suggested we send our word count for the day, even if it's zero, when we submit our lists. This is how our Accountability Partnership works: there are three of us. We send our list of to-dos each night. During the following day we check in with each other marking off the things we have accomplished, encouraging the others with the things they have to do and repeat. So add to that list our word count. Even thinking about a few days of WC 0 had me itching to write something just so I didn't have to report a 0. (No, not competitive at all ... really.) The great part is, though, that I made myself write. It isn't that I don't have time, I just don't make myself sit down and do it.

A word count 0 day is OK (especially in summer when kids are home), just not every day. Write on, my friends, write on!