How did the three blind mice meet?
Why were they chasing the farmer’s wife?
Go – Write it!
How did the three blind mice meet?
Why were they chasing the farmer’s wife?
Go – Write it!
Something I often hear as a counselor is clients speaking about the weight of expectations they feel they’re carrying on their shoulders; and the frustration, guilt, or resentment they feel in relation to them.
Many of these expectations are often tied to a particular role they “fall into,” that contains within it: unexamined assumptions relating to some action(s) they feel they should be doing, rules for communicating (what they feel they should be saying, and how), pressures to take on board “shared” viewpoints…
Often they express feeling as if they lost their center or connection with themselves.
Some roles are consciously/purposefully chosen. I choose to relate to clients within the boundaries of a counselors’ role. At other times, individuals can fall into an interaction where there is an expectation/pressure to engage in a “role-play”… mindlessly… pulled by some emotional pathway, deeply engraved by a lifetime’s worth of conditioning… For example, many adults continue to feel strongly affected by their parents’ perceived expectations of them…
Sometimes individuals’ roles within relationships include assumptions about hierarchy (in some cultures more than others), expectations relating to distributions of privileges, expectations relating to the division of weight that is placed on the inner experience of each individual. Often, the language which does not fit an expected role-script is unwelcome, discouraged…
One of my favorite historical examples of a figure who modeled the importance of rising beyond roles and cultural expectations, and embodied authenticity and inner strength, was Jesus. I admire the way he kept right away from describing himself via popular roles or politically loaded terms of the time, which he perceived as a poor fit with his life’s journey and purpose.
I love the way Jesus preferred to describe his inner experience and communion with God using creative metaphors-that beautifully made use of people’s familiar associations (e.g. used imagery such as harvests, laborers, etc.) yet transcended the language of the well established familiar social and political roles, traditions, expectations, and their underlying beliefs and perceptions.
Jesus had a hard time with the Pharisees. Perhaps they perceived his non-compliance with the established roles that reinforced their power and privileges-most unsettling. Jesus smacked too much of personal power, disregard for the authority of political/social pecking order…
Possibly to connect with a sense of inner peace, he was documented to withdraw into solitude oftentimes, perhaps in this way he restored his strength by nurturing his connection with God. Just as in his case, I believe that it is a helpful first step in our journey towards authenticity to find ways to connect with a loving place of self-care and strength within ourselves.
Given the powerful focus our society (and at times other people) have on trying to hijack our attention and encourage us to look to the outside of ourselves for fulfillment–creative expression of, and reflection on, our inner experience allows us to re-center and reconnect with our inner journey of transformation.
And, support us in reclaiming control over reconstructing our experience so that it resonates with our values, faith, the direction of our journey, and more closely aligns with our truth.
Many Thanks for sharing!
A writing exercise to get your rusty writing pipes lubricated.
Write the same scene from three different points of view. I know this doesn’t sound new and groundbreaking, but when is the last time you did it? And what types of characters did you choose?
Let’s lighten it up for you – stretch your skills. If you’ve never written from the opposite gender point of view – try it. This is an exercise I did with Dad Shining. This story could not have been narrated by a woman, it had to be chronicled by a man. And that man, it turns out, had to be the son. Dad Shining was published by Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal – so I must have done something right.
But don’t stop there – go further. Write it from a pet’s point of view. The Art of Racing in the Rain is an adult novel narrated in total by the dog. And it is a GREAT novel! Imagine a story from outside of the human point of view.
Or write it from a child’s point of view. Because my children are older, and I’m presently writing a story which involves a nine year old girl, I’ve had to call my friends. I was fortunate enough to spend time with a delightful little girl and found the time and the young woman inspiring. I have even more ideas than I can handle.
Let me know how it goes – share in our Writing 365 Group.
There’s a theory that we don’t fear failure, we fear success.
A researcher gave graduating students an impromptu essay prompt: “After finding out Joe/Jane aced their medical exams for graduation, he/she …..”
It’s reported that the vast majority of students set up a scenario in which Joe or Jane went out and partied, got in some sort of trouble, an accident, arrested, or in some cases just gave up and “decided to do something else with their lives.”
The researchers decided this was not an indication of the fear of failure, because they’d set up a scenario in which the person(Joe/Jane) had already succeeded, yet the students then wrecked the plan. Therefore, they surmised it a fear of success.
This possible fear of success comes from anxiety, which is rampant in society today. People stay where they are comfortable, where they are familiar, and their habits serve them. Moving on to the next level, success, will bring about different challenges, and the fear of the unknown wins out.
It occurs to me that this happens to writers. People write, and write, and write, but then don’t submit. Is it really the rejection they fear? or is it the success? Think of all the anxiety that comes with the next level of publishing. You’ll be expected to do well, to do it again. And, what else might change?
What do you think? What do you fear?
Many people are confused by semicolons; some people just hate them.
Kurt Vonnegut hated them. Even Malcom Gladwell seems adverse to them. He said, he doesn’t see their point. So, Mr. Gladwell, this blog is dedicated to you.
I, personally, LOVE semicolons; it’s like I don’t have to stop my thought! However, some of my editors have asked me to cut them down. One editor-friend said, “they do not appear in popular fiction.”
BUT THEY SHOULD!
Whether you like, hate, are confused, or don’t give a damn about them, every writer should know how to use them correctly.
The secret to the semicolon is simple. Two complete sentences which are closely related in thought or idea. Other writers believe a comma and conjunction (fanboys) or a period is just as good, but I think of it this way:
Did this help anyone?
I’ve met a number of people from all different walks of life; the one trait I admire most across the board is humility.
I was at a writer’s conference signing. I happened to be waiting at the front desk when another writer walked up and took me for someone who worked there. He didn’t look at my name tag; he didn’t look at me at all. He said something to the effect, “I’m in a hurry, get my tag for me.”
I smiled and said, “let me get you someone who can help you.”
He huffed out a breath.
I found it rather humorous. He would run into me once or twice during the event and didn’t remember the front desk incident. But, moreso, I found he treated most people as if they were there to serve him. I’d never heard of him before, and I haven’t bothered to read any of his books. Had he been the least bit human to anyone, I probably would have bought his book then and there.
We don’t have to act like asshats to get what we want. Self-importance rarely serves anyone and doesn’t win any awards. It may get you knocked off the invite list.
Humility is not a denial of our skills or our sense of self-respect. Humility is being modest about the skills, talent, and dreams we are working to achieve. And it takes nothing away from us or from those around us.
Writing a novel is not a destination; it’s a journey. It’s the hardest journey you will take with unclear signs, narrow paths, tricky u-turns, treacherous cliffs, an occasional dead end, and a steep road toward the end.
You will come out of this ragged, weary, exhausted, and wondering what it was all for. But then, your newborn book materializes before your eyes and you see it was all worth it.
Some people do not understand the basic rules of professionalism. Speaking to, writing, or responding to an editor or publisher should be undertaken with care. These people are our colleagues in the best sense of the word.
I’ve worked with a few literary journals and have talked to editors at others. The things authors say and do completely surprised me.
I’ve only had a single editor be so completely unprofessional I became embarrassed for her (and forwarded her email to her boss). On the other hand, I’ve dealt with a number of writers who have taken pride in their unprofessional behaviors.
One writer posted a snarky response (he supposedly emailed) to an editor. Whether he actually wrote that to an editor is one thing, it’s quite another message to post it on social media for all to see. He may have felt he had won the battle, so to speak, but what he actually did was show how unprofessional he behaved with a colleague, and what a risk other editors or publishers might find him to work with.
We can disagree with editors, publishers, other writers, but there’s no reason to verbally attack or otherwise be rude to anyone in the industry. Taking your private issues with public companies to social media is a mistake on any number of levels. Just like employers look at social media sites, so do publishers.
I had one publisher ask me for all my social media links. While some writers told me not to hand it over, I felt it was part of my job to have these available to people in the industry. I maintain social media sites for this reason. Publishers don’t want to just know if writers have a following, but how they’re interacting with readers, writers, and others on those social media sites.
Being rude in an email, speaking arrogantly on a call, and posting disagreements publicly will not further a career.
I do understand it’s quite popular in our society of late to act like an arse and expect to be treated like a king/queen; however, it gives a poor impression and people will not want to work with a person who acts like a spoiled child.
We started writing because writing was fun. We have the power to create worlds out of words. We create people and have them fall in love, face their fears, win, lose, and try again. We live many lives!
How can we do that better? Edit.
Oh, no, there she goes again, talking about work.
Writing is the fun part. Editing is the work and will take more time than creation.
One top complaint from editors is a lack of basic editing. How many times have you sent a text message or email containing some sort of mistake only spotted after? We are forgiven because we all make mistakes; however, editors expect near perfection.
I submitted a story (Bowie and the Basket Case, to be published by ID Press this month); It was accepted on the condition that I listen to suggestions from the editor.
I’d read the story easily 100 times. My friend read it. Another friend critiqued it. – all before I submitted it!
I said yes, the whole time wondering what might be questioned.
The editor responded something akin to, “Page 10, paragraph 3: I think you meant than, yet it reads that.”
There were a few other things; however, I was shocked at this tiny error!
Spell check and grammar check never found it, of course. My friends, my editor, and myself didn’t catch it. Mistakes are easy to make, harder to see. (as in life, right?!)
Have fun writing.
Then get to work: Edit. Edit. Edit.
In some writers’ groups, when I’ve mentioned that I’d been contacted by an editor who requested changes, there came about a rise of instantaneous resistance.
So far, whenever an editor has contacted me about changes, the changes were minor: a comma here, a synonym there, once a nick-name which they ended up leaving in.
One of the these editors worked for The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal ($1.00 Stories). I believe him to be more experienced and credentialed in the requirements of publishable writing.
I willingly listened.
So before your writer hackles rise – listen, consider, then decide. Be polite and professional.