On Success and Failure

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Whenever I need a strong dose of reality, I listen to the following TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. The best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love (Over 11 million copies were sold), Elizabeth was catapulted into instant success. But there is life after success, and sometimes it takes the form of failure. In this entertaining Talk, Elizabeth shares her brushes with success and failure.



Advertisements

A Writer’s Prayer

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Two years ago, I participated in a series of Artist’s Way workshops facilitated by Lisa Browning of One Thousand Trees. During one of those sessions, I encountered an interesting task: Create an artist’s prayer. While reflecting and researching, I discovered the following Writer’s Prayer written by Sandy Tritt:

Open my mind, Lord. Grant me the talent to write with clarity and style, so my words go down rich and smooth, like fine wine, and leave my reader thirsty for more.

Open my heart, Lord. Grant me the sensitivity to understand my characters–their hopes, their wants, their dreams–and help me to confer that empathy to my reader.

Open my soul, Lord, so I may be a channel to wisdom and creativity from beyond my Self. Stoke my imagination with vivid imagery and vibrant perception.

But most of all, Lord, help me to know the Truth, so my fiction is more honest than actuality and reaches the depths of my reader’s soul.

Wrap these gifts with opportunity, perseverance, and the strength to resist those who insist it can’t be done.

Amen


In the Final Stretch

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Tomorrow is the last day of the NaNoWriMo challenge. While some of us have achieved (and maybe even surpassed 50K words), others are in the final stretch, working hard to reach that final goal. Wherever you are on the NaNoWriMo journey, take some time to have a three-minute laughter vacation.


Keep Your Dream Alive

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

During my teaching years, I collected and shared inspirational and motivational literature. I have kept those files and refer to them often, especially during prolonged bouts of writer’s block. The following real-life success story from Monty Roberts is one of my all-time favorites. Monty shared this story with a group of visitors to his ranch.

A boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. He was the son of an itinerant horse trainer, who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm, and ranch to ranch, training horses.

During his senior year in high school, the boy was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.

That night, he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables, and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.

He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it into his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, “See me after class.”

The boy went to see the teacher after class and asked, “Why did I receive an F?”

The teacher said, “This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.” Then the teacher added, “If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.”

The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, “Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.”

Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

He stated, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.” When the teacher was leaving, he said, “Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years, I stole a lot of dreams. Fortunately, you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.”

Moral: Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what. No Dream is too big or too small when one works hard to live it. One should always try making dreams come true no matter what.

Source: Moral Stories


A Massive Dose of Inspiration

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

It’s the middle of the week, mid-way through the NaNoWriMo challenge. The hump of the hump or the hump squared. Definitely a time for a massive dose of inspiration. And who better than the late David Bowie to deliver that dose.


More #NaNoWriMo Tips

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In last Wednesday’s post, I shared five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

Here are five more tips:

1. Relax and TELL. For years, I’ve heard editors and workshop facilitators repeat the mantra: SHOW DON’T TELL. What a relief to focus on getting the scene on paper in any form and then prettying it up later.

2. Leave notes in the text. Plot and dialogue are my strengths while descriptive detail is one of my weaknesses. Instead of belaboring the setting and other details, leave notes about what’s missing. i.e. Description of waterfront or restaurant. Don’t stop to check the internet for anything.

3. Journal when stuck. Author and course facilitator, Catherine Chant recommends journaling about our character’s feelings to elicit more details and move the storyline along. The character could write her response stream-of-conscious style or write a letter describing a problem. Even if the journal entry is edited out of the story, the words still count.

4. Stop before the ideas run out. At the end of each day’s stint, write a sentence or two about what happens next. This will provide a starting point for the following day.

5. Turn off the internal editor. I need to keep in mind Anne Lamott’s advice and “write a crappy first draft.” Forget about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Don’t delete anything. In short, give myself permission to write badly.


Starting #NaNoWriMo

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

One year ago, I began my first NaNoWriMo journey. At first apprehensive, I slowly built up confidence and achieved a final goal of 50,940 words. During the winter and spring months, I edited and polished the manuscript that was later accepted for publication. In the spring of 2018, The Wild Rose Press will release A Different Kind of Reunion.

Today, I’m starting my second NaNoWriMo journey. Still apprehensive but much more confident. Here are five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

1. Announce your plans. At first, I wanted to keep my involvement secret, but after reading about the positive reinforcement that a support group can provide, I decided to share the news with everyone in my circle. In addition to other writers—online and offline—I also told the non-writers. I was looking for encouragement, not advice. Simply asking: “How’s that novel coming along?” will help keep me on track.

2.Write at peak times. To find a routine that works consistently, I need to write when the muse strikes. I have discovered that the following times yield the most creative results: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

3. Work ahead. Sneaking in an extra 300 words (or more) early in the month can build up word counts and compensate for missed days when illness and other commitments affect the quality and quantity of the writing.

4. Turn off the television and all electronic gadgets during peak creative times to ensure there are no distractions.

5. Embrace both linear and non-linear paths. While I prefer to write linearly—one chapter at a time—skipping over to a more interesting scene can help stimulate right-brain thinking.