December: The Start of Something Big

DSCN5786December seemed like the perfect time to share this quote often attributed to Picasso (but probably wrongly so. Still, it’s a fine quote, whoever said it.):

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

When it comes to writing, I suspect that I’m better at helping others bring out their gift than I am at my own work. And now that I’m a bit older and possibly wiser, I’m pretty okay with that.

When my daughter’s story was selected for Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Angels and Miracles, I was thrilled for her! And recently, she was interviewed about her story for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She made a point of mentioning that her mother was a writer and that I’d helped her polish her story and encouraged her to send it in–and she was disappointed when none of that part of the interview was included. But that’s the way it often is when writers lend a helping pen. We don’t help others tell their story for the glory; we help because there’s a joy in seeing a writer succeed, whether it’s one story that needs to be told or the beginning of a long and successful career.

There’s purpose there, in the giving away. And a purpose here is that I shared something over at the Muffin this weekend that you might’ve missed. It’s just a little bit of writing advice but maybe it’ll be the start of something BIG for you and your writing!

What’s in a Word (Cloud)?

Way back in the beginning of this year, I picked a word for 2016: CHALLENGE. And boy, has this ever been a challenging year!

But I’ve had my share of blessings as well. Like the friends and family who’ve carried me through lots of challenging days. And so many friends whom I’ve never actually met in person…They’ve been there, walking beside me, too.

So on this Thanksgiving, my gratitude list runneth over. I grabbed a page from the month of November for today’s blog post over at the Muffin, “Counting Your Blessings in a Word Cloud.” Maybe you’ll see your actual name among those words. Or maybe you’re part of the “love.”

That’s really the only word you need, right? Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

A List of Favorite Things! (Pssst! Mostly Books! And Exclamation Points!)

pexels-photoLast weekend, I hosted one of my SCBWI writer workshops at the Gwinnett County Public Library and gosh, it was just packed with wonderful writer stuff! And so I thought I’d share in list form, because…well, I love lists.

  1.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with my library. I LOVE MY LIBRARY SYSTEM! The Gwinnett County Public Library is a co-sponsor of these events and that means they do a swell job, promoting events in all of their 30 or so branches. And I–and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators– really appreciate that kind of promotion! If you have writer events, please check with your local library. You might be surprised what they can do for you, because…drum roll, please…they’re mandated to serve the public! Yay!
  2. Author Dori Kleber presented a workshop on the “Hero’s Journey in 32 Pages.” And it was excellent! I wish I could tell you more but I suspect that Dori will be giving that workshop quite often and you know what they say about the cow and the milk. (Wait, what? You’ve never heard that expression? Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Mom would say that to me in my younger–much younger–dating days. But in this particular instance, I’m referring to writer knowledge not, ahem, other things.) If you haven’t read her picture book, More-igami, now’s the time to go check it out! (And if it’s not at your local public library, why not ask about it? Your librarian might just order More-igami!)
  3. And speaking of books, NCTE will be in Atlanta this year–this week!–and SCBWI is sponsoring a FREE public book signing! With over TWENTY kidlit authors! You know what makes a great holiday gift for kids that you can feel great about after the holidays? A signed book! So if you’re in the Atlanta area, please come out and see us! And if you’re not in the Atlanta area, take a look around your area. I bet you’ll find a local author or two, signing books, just about any weekend. Think about supporting the authors and purchasing the gift that lasts a lifetime: books!

Well, that was an awful lot of exclamation points but I’m not going back to change any of those punctuation marks. Because I’m that excited. And besides, I love exclamation points as much as I love lists.

 

Six Words

So what a week, huh?

That crazy voting, the winners and losers, the tears, the tension…seriously, I was on the edge of my seat, watching. But enough about The Voice.

Something else is on my mind this morning–well, it’s been on my mind for a couple of days now and I thought that maybe it was time to share it.

512zor9gsfl-_sx332_bo1204203200_I read Daily Guideposts 2016 every night; I found the book when cleaning up Dad’s place and I brought it home, thinking how comforting it would be to read this devotional that Dad may have read in the months before he died. And it has been comforting–and inspiring and interesting.

So on Saturday, November 5th, I read about summarizing your faith in six words and I was immediately struck with the concept. Partly because I’m a writer and love a challenge, but mostly because I often preach about story, that if you can summarize it in a sentence, you know your story. And I wondered, do I know my faith that well?

And so I grabbed my pen and within a minute, I’d written these words:

“Love. Forgive. Serve. Repeat as needed.”

Maybe it’s simplistic, but those six words have resounded in my head and my heart this week. Love. Forgive. Serve. And who knows what mighty things my faith can accomplish when I repeat as needed?

I’d love to know what your six words would be. And before I forget, I also have a post over at the Muffin today, talking about favorite writing tips, websites, insider info. I’d love for you to share any of your favorites there as well. And you know you don’t have to keep your response to six words, right? But hey, you’re a writer–challenge yourself!

November ALREADY?And New York!

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Yep, that’s me at the Top of the Rock!

So if you’re friends with me on Facebook–and if we’re not, I hope we’ll soon be!–you might’ve seen the pictures that Juniorette Hall posted about our recent birthday trip to New York City.

And if you’re a follower that keeps up with my blogging–here or over at the Muffin–then you know I love talking about my life experiences and somehow connecting them with a writing point.

I did not realize how often I do that until just recently. But I have to come up with stuff to say and so far, my family and friends haven’t minded being the source of inspiration and/ or tall tales.

Which could be because my friends and family don’t read my posts and/or tall tales.

Hmmm…I’m going to pretend I didn’t just have that particular thought. I did, however, have a couple of thoughts on New York and National Novel Writing Month in “New York and NaNo” over at the Muffin today. If you don’t want to read it, just keep that thought to yourself, okay?