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

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,

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