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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing is too hard:(

I shook my head and couldn't believe Jimmy McMillan and his party of "The Rent is too d*** high".  It caused a lot of pundits to smile and even a few to agree that the rent is too d*** high. 

Since then (although I don't use those words) a couple of times I've sat at my desk and thought.  "Writing is too hard".  It is you know.  It is very hard. 

It's frustrating when I have a brilliant idea and can't hang on to the right words long enough to grab that pen and paper. 

It's hard when I have to read some passage from The Chicago Manual of Style five times because I just don't understand (and maybe don't want to understand).

It's gut wrenching to read that rejection e-mail and wonder if you will ever get that piece published.


But...on the other hand....writing is a calling that I just can't abandon. 

So today....I'm at my desk - once again.  Praying for inspiration - once again.  Refusing to clean the den until I write 1,000 words - once again.  Hearing my mother call and begging her not to interrupt the process - once again.  Feeling guilty about all the things that need to be done and yet here I sit - uninspired - once again.  Holding on to the promise that if I force myself to continue the process and to push through all this, I'll finally be published - once again.

I think it's that last once again that keeps us all pushing and writing.  For comfort I read a quick passage from Jim Denny's book, Quit your day job!

I have actually met a surprising number of unpublished writers who are probably a good deal more talented than I am - but they'll never get published.  When I've asked them about their disciplines and habits, they've told me they have none.  They write only when "inspired."  When I've suggested that they need a daily writing routine, they adamantly resist my advice.  They have their idealized image of "the writing life" and they don't want the realities of hard work, focus, discipline, and persistence to mess that up.

Writing is a job - a tough and demanding job.  You can't succeed as a writer until you understand and accept that fact.

Thanks Jim...I needed that! 

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't let the Beetles destroy your writing

No, I'm not talking about the singing group.  I'm positive that writers have the ability to attract beetles that will effectively destroy their best work.  I've watched the insect variety destroy my best roses while the the smallest beetle works on other various flowers in my garden.  I've tromped down woodland paths and seen how their constant chewing has brought down even the mightiest of trees. 

According to Wikipedia....."Beetles are the group of insects with the largest number of known species. They constitute the order Coleoptera which contains more described species than in any other order in the animal kingdom, constituting about 25% of all known life-forms. About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species), and new species are frequently discovered. Some estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at as high as 100 million, but 1 million is a more likely figure."

I think we should add a new beetle species.  I like to call it "journaoptera".  This species of beetle is dedicated to eating away at your work by creating tiny holes that weaken your piece.  The "justaminute" beetle refuses to latch on to the host.  This culprit quietly calls to you from another room or makes a quick call on the cell phone.  "Can you help me for just a minute.  It won't take long.  I promise."  The front fangs are laden with a sugary substance that numbs their bite and makes you feel guilty if you don't leave your work.

Another insect in this species is the "depromioptic".  This little creature makes his home just under your eyelid.  He is the tiniest insect yet his poison is the most deadly.  Every time you look at your work, his poison covers your eyes with doubt.  Each word takes on a clouded perception allowing his partner "giveitupfornow" to convince you that your piece will never be ready.  Victims embeded with these two insects rarely send their work to an editor.  The devastation they produce leaves a weak area where "discouragatic" can enter and bury his blood sucking fangs.  This beetle will gorge on the life blood of creativity until the writer is so weak that producing saleable work seems like an insurmountable task. 

The nastiest beetle is the "contradicanub".  This insect carries guilt like a tanker carries gas.  He sits on top of the skin making thousands of little scratches and depositing guilt until it covers the writer like a heavy blanket.  "You can't write today.  You promised to take your mother to the store.  Don't finish that article until the house is totally cleaned.  That information can wait until you spend time with your husband.  You need can't be nice to your family and write until you get some rest.  How can you spend time at the computer when your church needs you?  After all, don't most famous writers recommend that you get out there and live life?  What about your children?  Who comes first, the work of God or your writing?"

Beetles can destroy your writing.  Beetles can eat away at your work until you lose your desire to do what God has called you to do.  Arm yourself with the right kind of insecticide. 

Read good books on writing.  Pray about your calling.  Realize that most men and women who do what God has called them to do - had to sacrifice in order to get the job done.  Don't let anything come between you and what God has called you to do!

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.  Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.  Psalm 96:3

Have you encountered a writing beetle?  If so, let me know about it.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Are you interesting?

Have you ever stood for what seemed like an eternity and listened to a friend who bored you to tears?  Maybe they thought you needed to know about their crabgrass or what they ate for breakfast.  Maybe they thought you should know that earwax can be used as a glue substitute or that they couldn't sleep last night because they wondered why paint sticks to ceilings. 

It really didn't matter what they talked about, you just couldn't wait to get away!  Why?  Perhaps it's a good friend, a special Uncle or a child you love dearly....but are bored and can't wait to bail.

And then you meet with a dear friend that seems to be able to make anything interesting.  You laugh at the dumbest stuff and you sit on the edge of your seat engrossed in some story about how dull life really is.  What makes the difference?

Your slant on life can be the difference in conversation (or writing) that depresses the listener and conversation that lifts the listener.  So what changes our slant? 

Social psychology proves that when a person is engaged in life their outlook is different from those that seem to cocoon.  In the writing world that is especially true. 

If all you do is write about your opinions and your life, your writing will seem flat and uninteresting. 

But, if you take the time to get involved with others, listen to their opinions, lift the veil and look at problems from their point of view....your writing will be like a fine tapestry rug.  There will be depth and beauty entwined in everything you write. 

So today I beg you to get out of the house.  Make time to live your life, visit with friends, talk to relatives.  Enjoy who you are and the things God has placed around you.  Then, when you come back to your office to write - let all that sunshine filter through and highlight new colors and textures. 

Could be...this will be the day inspiration flows through you like sunshine through fall leaves.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hurricane Writing

For marriage, words can be the most powerful advantage or disadvantage.  We all know how a sweet compliment from our spouse can make our day.  We also know how a disagreement over breakfast can ruin our day.

For parenting, words can be the most powerful trainer in your child's life.  It's been proven that it takes 10 compliments or praises from a parent to cancel out one negative statement.

Words are powerful.  Words can also impact groups and nations.  In 1946 Frank Capra directed the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."  He adapted it from a screenplay by Goodrich and Hackett.  If you haven't seen it, it's a must!  The moral of the movie is that no one is an island.  Everyone has an influence over someone else.  Because of that, suicide is never an option and neither is wishing you were dead.  All of us can go back and find a "good" reason for our life.  No matter how tragic the events of our life, there was some point where something we said or did changed the course of another person's life.  That's why our actions matter.  That's why our lives matter.  We cause change to those around us.  Anytime this movie played the theatrical owners receive letters from people who were contemplating suicide and change their minds because of the movie.  The year it was released, thousands sent in letters.  There have been thousands more since then. 

I was thrilled to have another article published on line by Marriage Partnership and (a division of Christianity Today).  The article was titled, Does Faith Hide Marital Abuse? and it was an explanation of how scripture can be twisted to keep victims in abusive marriages. 

This article has once again taught me that all writers must be concerned about their holy calling.  We must continue to write even when storms swirl around us.  We must push even when everything seems to be stamped with rejection.  Even when it seems we make more mistakes than we should, we must keep writing.  God can't use our words unless we continue to produce words!

Early in the comments on my article a woman admitted that she was contemplating suicide.  Several readers responded to her and so did I.  Just yesterday she posted that she had decided not to commit suicide.  I cried and prayed for her for hours.  I was thrilled that she had found hope in the words I used.

Here's my hope for you.  Anyone writing that article could have been used by God.  It's not's writing stuff that we know God can use.  It's addressing the problems we see and using whatever form we like.   Perhaps you use fiction better than poems.  Whatever way is best for you - address the issues and write!

Writing has been painful for me lately.  My 82-year old mother fell and broke her foot.  I had to drive to Georgia and bring her here.  She can't use crutches and I have to take care of her completely.  She has dementia and Obsessive Compulsive disorder plus several immune diseases.  It's been difficult for the last six weeks.  Last Tuesday, my son when back to Georgia to get my 78 year old Dad.  They both will be here until after Christmas.  There's a lot to do for both of them.  And...Ron still is without work, bla, bla, bla....

After talking with Jim Denney and Barbara Curtis I decided that perhaps God was teaching me a difficult lesson.  Perhaps he wanted me to learn how to write in a Hurricane.  I pushed to write the article for Marriage Partnership and to work on others.  I'm still pushing to finish a book.  A minute here, an hour there, stay up late, get up early, miss that function, sneak away from mother all adds up to producing another piece of writing.

Please don't believe Satan's evil words.  When he says, "You can't do that.  Put it off.  It's too hard.  You just don't have time." - get back in his face and scream...."I'LL MAKE TIME". 

I'm friends with someone who was a fantastic writer.  He had several things published and could have had a prominent career.  Unfortunately he let his daily life come before his writing.  He used day to day life as an excuse for not producing.  He's now very ill and may lose his life.  He still talks about the book he wanted to write and the things he could have done.  How sad for him and for the world that his time is gone and those ideas will never be shared with others.

Your writing is important.  God can use you.  Don't let the little things - or even the big things in life keep you from being used by God.  Who knows, you may save a life or even a country!

God loves you and has called you to write,