The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Monday, October 27, 2008

Now is the time for all good authors.....

I'm not sure how typing is taught to the current generation, but I'm sure it's different from my high school experience.

My first typing class dates me. I remember sitting in a class with 25 desks perfectly aligned. Each desk had a standard (non-electric) typewriter. You know the style. At the end of each sentence you had to return the carriage. All the keys had masking tape on them so there was no advantage to looking at your fingers. The teacher would call out letters as if we were marching to a tune....the tune of 25 plunks as each key hit the carriage drum and bounced back. Every so often you would hear someone say, "Oh no, shoot" or "phooey" as they discovered several keys lodged in a pile on the carriage.

After a month or so of finding our way around the keyboard we smiled as we proudly typed, Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Over and over we typed similar sentences trying to memorize every key as our fingers danced to the rhythm.

I have forgotten most of the sentences we typed, except for, "Now is the time..." It was easy to remember this one. It seemed patriotic. It called to a deeper sense of purpose. I was a teen when John Kennedy announced, "Ask not what your country can do for you....ask what you can do for your country." I was energized and felt that I was important. I felt privileged to be in a country where I could take up the cause to help others.

Authors....we must continue that cause. Even with media and television, it is still the written word that slices through the hardest heart. We have a job to do. No matter how this election turns out, our writings will continue. We have the ability to change lives by what we write.

I hope you will take the time to type this line several times and let it take root in your heart. "Now is the time for all good men/women to come to the aid of their country." Your voice needs to be heard. When you feel alone and your writing seems to be an endless debate of grammatical rules - don't give up. "NOW is the time for all good men/women to come to aid of their country."

More than ever, non-Christians need our words. If you knew that plowing through that unedited manuscript and getting it to a publisher would mean 150 souls would be saved - would you do it? Would you do it for a hundred? How about 75? How about 32 or 22 or even 11? Would you work hard for a month if you knew that 2 people would meet you in heaven and thank you for your service?
"Now is the time for all good AUTHORS to come to the aid of their country."

Will you join me?

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grammar Monster

Authors have to face a lot of writing monsters. There are times every writer feels like this picture as we wait for the next creative idea. What is your writing monster?

Maybe it's the monster of procrastination. We often feel like we could find those "illuminating" words if we only had our house clean or our e-mails sorted through. We are sure we will be more productive if we finish the bills, take a walk or wash the car - first.

The monster of preparation doesn't feel like a monster - after all the research must be done. But if piles of documents clutter our desk and loaded pod casts cause our computer to crash, the monster is winning.

The monster of friendly phone calls can delay writing for most of the day. If only our friends could understand that writing is a job and takes as much time as any other profession.

The monster of duty can take a huge bite out of our day. "You're not really busy today are you? Can't you pick of the kids?" or "Since you are at home all day can you take widow Sims to the doctor - the church would really appreciate it."

The monster of needs is a legitimate monster that must be fed, but can turn quickly and demolish creativity and stomp on our deadlines. The need to be with my husband can morph into a four day vacation from work. I need to spend time with my children can become an entire week that leads us further from our goals. I need a break from writing can become years of unfulfilled goals. We must take care of our needs while finding a balance that returns us to our committed goals.

My personal monster is grammar. As a well-known writer suggested at a writer's conference, I try to "throw up in the computer in the morning and clean it up in the afternoon." Unfortunately, just when I'm hitting that afternoon slump, the grammar monster attacks. "Is this passive? Does that verb need a dangling modifier with a participle injunction for the creative facility of noun usage." Yeah, I know. Doesn't make sense, but sometimes neither does grammar.

I think it's important for authors to play games. We need to relieve the tension of a paragraph that just won't sit on the page. I have decided that I'm a dragon (monster) slayer and that it's my job to chop at all the monsters until I have a piece of writing that speaks to the public.

Grammar monster - chop chop - "Take that you evil misspelled word."

Procrastination monster - chop chop - "Get away you demon, I will create!" get the idea. I am convinced that a writer is like a laser of light cutting through the darkness to bring hope.

We must always remember our goals, our God given talents and how much this world needs to hear the truth.

If we slay our monsters, we will bring light to the world and that will always make us smile.

God loves you and has called you to write,