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!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fatherhood

Yesterday was Father's Day. I certainly am not Daughter or Wife of the Year and many Father's Days go by with not much to show from me. Is it because the wonderful Fathers in my life are undeserving? Absolutely not. I just get swept up in the whirlwind of summer and life and all the unimportant things. So on that note, I decided to post about things my dad taught me.

My dad and daughter playing Barbies together.










Ten things my dad taught me:

How to work hard.

How to laugh at myself.

Reading is important.

Good grammar is essential.

God is perfect. We are not.

Serving others dissolves selfishness.

How to ride a bike.

It's better to do things the right way even if it's easier to take a short cut.

Family is forever, friends come and go.

Muscle cars are really cool, especially if your 8-track of Queen is blowing your speakers.

Thanks Dad. I love you!


What's one thing your dad taught you?


If you want more reading on the psychological side of the importance of fathers, check out PsychologyToday's blog or LDS.org.

In our writing, we add depth to our characters by showing their relationships to those around them, including their fathers. How does a character change and grow by overcoming the challenges of secondary characters? That's what character driven plots are all about: the growth of the character. Challenge your characters, make them grow, frustrate them, push them to their limits, encourage them and show them what they're made of. How? Their dad, of course. (Still love you, Dad!)

Write On, my friends.


Monday, June 15, 2015

The Journey of a Thousand Days

On our trip to Japan, we flew Hawaiian Airlines. (We love HA). The in-flight magazine, Hana-Hou, had an article titled Runner of a Thousand Days by Dave Choo.

It's an amazing tale of a Buddhist priest, Ryojun Shionuma, who lives in the mountains above Nara, Japan.

We meet him as a runner of the Honolulu Marathon. Although he has never run a marathon, he has completed the two most difficult tests of the Shugendo sect of Buddhism to which he belongs (Shugendo literally means, 'the path of training and testing'). The first--considered the hardest--is the Omine Sennichi Kaihogyo. It means, 'One Thousand Days trekking on Mount Omine.' It isn't a thousand continuous days as the trail is only open from May 3 to September 22. But it is continuous in that it is every single one of those days for the roughly nine years it takes to complete the thousand days. Completing this daily, thirty mile hike for this test of strength and endurance is equivalent to circling the earth one and a quarter times and only one other person has ever completed it. Wow. I was excited about the day we walked thirteen miles; I can't imagine going thirty. Daily.

Shionuma also completed another feat which I won't go into but will just say people have died trying to complete it. You can check out the complete article if you want to read about it. But for today, I just want to focus on the daily trek.

Writing is hard. Doing it daily for a thousand days. Harder. (For some of us it seems impossible). But we can accomplish difficult things. He didn't give up when he got to the middle and nothing made any sense anymore. He didn't give up when the scene didn't quite work out the way he wanted. He persevered and put one foot in front of the other until the journey was done.

Don't give up, keep writing, keep putting one word after the other--even if it seems like drivel. Keep at it, write good words, inspire greatness, and like Shionuma, there is an end to your journey (but it's just the beginning of the next one).

Write On my friends!


*I neglected to take the magazine which was the April/May issue of Hana Hou and the return flight was in June. You can check it out, but the article about Ryojun Shionuma didn't have a link at this posting (the link above is to another blog where the complete article is posted).

* Image from: http://shionuma-ryojun.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/15.jpg

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Drowning, the #2 Cause of Accidental Death

Mid-Week post (because it's such an important topic)

Having children, and a pool, this especially applies in my case; however, I felt the information was so significant that I shared on FB and Twitter and I'm now sharing the post link on my blog. The signs of drowning may not be what you think. Read a great post on Modern Mom and learn more about this tragic and preventable death. Please. It will only take a few minutes, but can make all the difference.

Drowning, the #2Cause of Accidental Death



Monday, June 8, 2015

I'm Back!

So I took a little hiatus (two weeks is little, right?!). What did I do with that time? I traveled to Japan with my husband and oldest three children.

It. Was. Amazing.

Knowing we would be doing a lot of walking, we took backpacks rather than suitcases. It worked out really well because we did do a lot of walking (an average seven miles/day, our highest mileage was 13). We crammed as much as we possibly could into those two weeks traveling from Osaka south as far as Fukuoka, then to Tokyo and as far north as Lake Akan and back to Sapporo for our flight home.

We got to reconnect with friends from a few months ago, from twenty-five years ago, and with my cousin and her husband. We saw lots of shrines, ate lots of katsu curry and noodles (seafood is not our thing) and in the Hiroshima train station there's a place called Hearth Brown that has killer bread (a dash of almonds and powdered sugar on top and vanilla custard inside--to die for!)

Japan is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I am very blessed to have been able to go back to some of the places I lived so long ago.


Part of a temple in Miyajima.
A statue in Yokohama.
One of the world's top three night views: Hakodate, Hokkaido.
The beautiful countryside of eastern Hokkaido.