Tag Archives: motivation

O-o sayy cannn youuu C?

No, not time for the National Anthem or to play ball….but there are some valuable lessons here as we look to what we’ve known since we were small that enables us to be great writers.  Let’s start with the anthem shall we? 

The anthem was, and still is a rallying call to remember that we persevere through adversity (definitely a writing trait), but also the anthem was one of the first pieces that talked about the nation with a sense of oneness, of community.  We became a “Land” of people and the “Home” of us all.  Writing is that and more, a community.  While writing is very much a solo endeavor at the writing stage, every last one of us is an individual practitioner in a community of writers…and what a community it is.  Community and a sense of belonging is something that we learned in kindergarten too.  The notion of where we fit and where our circle isn’t a life long learning curve, but the foundation was laid long ago as we learned our likes and dislikes.  What a tremendous thing that as a writer we get the whole community, like them or not.  *grins*  Writing takes learning, and sometimes the best teacher is the one who stands in another circle normally, but is available to us through the writing community that is its own great big circle.  The great thing I’ve found is that I haven’t met a writer yet who didn’t have something to offer if I was willing to hear…This willingness to be open or not brings us to another C – our Character.

Character is a compilation of several other traits together, also C words…confidence, care, and conceit.  We want the first two but not the last.  Confidence in our work is something that we need to have or find as we go from the writing to the networking and publishing part of our world.  An editor, agent or publisher can give you a morale boost, but if you don’t have confidence in your writing or your ability to tell the story and sell it, you will be walking a long lonely road as that empty spot inside cannot be filled by others.  Our friends and allies can help bolster us, but in the end we have to find the inner strength and fathom how to employ it to our purpose.  Fake it til you make it, but make it.

Care is not only about our writing, but also about the writing community too.  The people you meet and aid or enable in their work are the ones who are going to be there for you.  The writing community is a giving community and the benefits are there for all to reap, but leave care at home when you come to the community and you will have to rebuild any ground you had gained as the community of nurturers will and do close ranks to aid those who are in need, but not those who prey upon others.  Care is tantamount to success.  You need to care about your work, your world, and the community at large.  The urge to fan your feathers at the first great review is in us all and while being the proud parent of the work of wonder, we have to remember to reign back the conceit that can come.  Pride is one thing, conceit is another, keep the difference clear in your mind and your heart as you go forward.

Last up today, we’re going back to baseball as the final “C” is a biggie and one we learn in sports, in kindergarten, in life.  It is that as a writer we must be coachable.  Participating in the community, giving care and encouragement to others, having confidence in our work and remembering to couch our pride before we get too big for our britches is all important, but we can lose it all if we fall short on this last big C. 

We must learn to be coachable.  Writing in some ways is a school of hard knocks.  Ask any writer how many rejection slips they got before they were published and there’s sure to be a story there.  Ask any writer how many revisions or edits had to be done before the work was final and publishable and again, you’ll get a tale.  The point of having an editor, an agent, beta readers and ARC copies is to give you feedback on what’s working…and what’s not.  It is what you do with the information about what isn’t working that will define your reputation in the writing world.  People talk.

Sure, we all fell head over feet in love, lust, or hate with our latest and greatest and now someone wants us to change it.  Before you have a tantrum and kick your feet on the floor remember a few things.  One, we asked these people to give us feedback because???  We value their opinion and their place in the community.  Why would we knee jerk to “no” if these are the people we are entrusting to get us, AND THEM, to the top with our story?  They are not saboteurs, they are doing what we tasked them to do.  Two, sometimes because of the labor intensity of the writing, we are too close to the story to be objective. 

Passion is important, being able to moderate it to drive the passion so others can experience it too is the role of the coach.  Choose your coach wisely and remember – they don’t send the star quarterback in against a defense carrying machete’s, they evaluate the situation, and call the play that is best for the situation to promote their team to a win.  Likewise, you are not a lamb to slaughter and need to trust your coach to do their job as you do yours.

There is so much about writing that is simple if we are willing to look at it with fresh eyes and the wonder of our first day of school.  So far we covered A, B & C and found some pretty simple but significant things that we have in our arsenal that have been there since we were learning the alphabet.  I wonder what we’ll find next.  Til then…


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Author Interview…

I had a chance to sit down with Ellie Mack and answer some questions about writing and writing challenges.  Take a peek.


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The Maestro and the child

After a long journey through NaNo land, I am watching as others cram to finish, to push the final leg, and am reminded of a tale that was shared with me long, long ago.  I do not know the original author, nor am I certain I will tell it as well as it is from memory now, though I’m certain to have the original somewhere.  I hope that it instills the same motivation and powerful awareness of the power you hold within you.

A mother, frustrated with her young son for his apparent lax attitude toward his lessons and practice took him to the concert hall.  The Maestro was giving a concert and she hoped that he would take inspiration from seeing someone so accomplished.  As they walked down the aisle to their seats, she cautioned him to remember his manners, not fidget in his seat, and to be on his best behavior.  The crowd was all decked out in the evening finery, men in coat tails and women in gowns bedecked in jewels.  This was a momentous night.  Sitting uncomfortably, trying not to fidget, looking around at all of the adults and taking in the noise of the crowd his young eyes fixed on the stage and the immense black grand piano sitting at the center.  As his mother turned to converse with those around their seats, he was fascinated.  Fixated.  Drawn and compelled.  He just had to know.  Before anyone was the wiser as no one was watching him, he quietly slipped from his seat and followed the gravitational pull of the beautiful instrument that called him.  Making his way onto the stage he walked carefully, doing nothing to break the spell.  Sitting up on the bench, his feet could not touch the floor or the pedals, but the circle was complete when he laid his hands on the keys.  Being rather averse to practicing he knew nothing by heart, save Chopsticks, and so he began plucking out the simple tune.  The hall slowly stilled as the guests in the audience turned toward the stage, a pulsing shock as they discovered the boy, and then a barrage of noise as they exclaimed their outrage.
“Get that child off the stage.  How dare he touch The Maestro’s instrument.  WHO brought a disrespectful child here?”  And so on.
The Maestro backstage, heard the commotion, quickly ascertained what was happening, clicked his cuff links and walked briskly onto the stage amid the commotion, quieting the patrons gently with his hands.  As he reached the piano and the small boy sitting there he leaned over him and said,

“Don’t stop.  Keep going.  Whatever you do, don’t stop.”
The boy continued playing while The Maestro leaned over him and then sat beside him, improvising a counter melody to the simple Chopsticks.  Over an over that night they played, not the program as stated, but an improvisation on Chopsticks.  At the end of the evening The Maestro thanked the boy for his assistance and handed him off with a few quiet words to a stunned mother.

Now, I am not The Maestro, but I say to all of you who are remiss in your lessons and out of practice in your craft, or just a little behind, a bit frustrated with the journey ahead, still dreaming, or well on your way to a new success…

Don’t stop.  Keep going.  Whatever you do, don’t stop.  Keep dreaming.  Keep reaching.  Find the magic and share.

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Some things are always true

This is true not just about life, but about writing as well.  Are you walking?  Or only dreaming..

Excerpted from the book The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle by Jim Rohn

Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow

The problem with waiting until tomorrow is that when it finally arrives, it is called today.  Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.  The question is what did we do with its opportunity?  All too often we will waste tomorrow as we wasted yesterday, and as we are wasting today.  All that could have been accomplished can easily elude us, despite our intentions, until we inevitably discover that the things that might have been have slipped from our embrace a single, unused day at a time.

Each of us must pause frequently to remind ourselves that the clock is ticking.  The same clock that began to tick from the moment we drew our first breath will also someday cease.

Time is the great equalizer of all mankind.  It has taken away the best and the worst of us without regard for either.  Time offers opportunity but demands a sense of urgency.

When the game of life is finally over, there is no second chance to correct our errors.  The clock that is ticking away the moments of our lives does not care about winners and losers.  It does not care about who succeeds or who fails.  It does not care about excuses, fairness or equality.  The only essential issue is how we played the game.

Regardless of a person’s current age, there is a sense of urgency that should drive them into action now – this very moment.  We should be constantly aware of the value of each and every moment of our lives – moments that seem so insignificant that their loss often goes unnoticed.

We still have all the time we need.  We still have lots of chances – lots of opportunities – lots of years to show what we can do.  For most of us, there will be a tomorrow, a next week, a next month, and a next year.  But unless we develop a sense of urgency, those brief windows of time will be sadly wasted, as were the weeks and months and years before them.  There isn’t an endless supply!

So as you think of your dreams and goals of your future tomorrow, begin today to take those very important steps to making them all come to life.

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