Saturday, November 29, 2014

Writing lessons and life lessons

I’m back in the writing groove after nearly a year of telling myself, “Tomorrow, I’ll write tomorrow.” Not that I don’t write every day, I do, but it’s not the creative writing I enjoy. My recently published book, “Finding Family,” came out in August and I’ve done some marketing and a couple of book signings, but even that has taken a back seat to other demands on my time. I can think of any number of reasons I haven’t been more devoted to the craft of writing, but it boils down to life getting in the way as only life can. Considering how happy writing makes me, I don’t know why it’s such a chore to sit down and focus.
 Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to talk to writers of varying levels of success. These wonderful interactions have taught me a lot about what it means to be a writer and how each applies to having a happy life.
Write tight. Whether you are writing an advertisement or penning the Great American Novel, less is more. Good writing is often a matter of making the most of a few well-chosen words.
 Journal Note: The same is true in every day encounters. More time spent listening and less time talking can bring unexpected rewards, and will likely result in stronger relationships. 
Do your homework. (Research). Writers have an obligation to their readers to be credible. Works of fiction with shaky plots and weak characters turn readers off. Non-fiction books with incorrect information turn readers off. Period, end of story. 
Journal Note: In presenting your thoughts and ideas verbally, whether one-on-one, in small groups or before an audience of thousands, be trust-worthy. Nothing taints character and integrity like misinformation or an out-an-out lie. 
Write. To be successful, writers must write. It sounds simple, but making time to write is difficult if you are not intentional about putting words on paper (or computer), which is why most authors have a schedule and stick with it come what may.
 Journal Note: To be successful at anything, perseverance is required. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV) Stick with it, whatever “it” is for you, and you are more likely to achieve your goals. 
Be interesting. Create a compelling story with strong characters, drama, conflict, action and a satisfying conclusion. 
Journal Note: In life the interesting people are more engaged, motivated, happier and less stressed. 
Be creative. There are many ways to write about the same subject. Love. Hate. Death. Life. Fear. Happiness. Truth. Lies. You name it and it has been written about, and that will continue. How does your creativity and innovation bring new life to these concepts? That’s the story you want to tell. 
Journal Note: How will your personal story take shape as you live each day? Find ways to be creative, even if it’s as simple as drinking your orange juice out of a wine glass. No matter what you do, you can bring elements of creativity to the way you live.

Happiness is… Think about it. You get to fill in that blank any way you want to. It’s your story. It’s your life. Be happy.

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