It’s been an exciting week for writing! Perhaps the most exciting one of all…
…a huge factor for this was that I finished the first draft of my second novel; Vanishing Act. It’s a VERY rough first draft, that needs not only editing but re-writing. But it’s a first draft none the less.
When I finished the first draft of The City Breathes With Us, I spoke about the Do’s and Don’ts of finishing a first draft…but I wanted to talk about something different this time. I spent about a year writing the first draft of novel one, and less than two months writing novel two. I did things differently, and I’d like to share the tips that helped me below:
1. Don’t expect perfection No first draft is ever perfect. Hell, no ANYTHING is ever perfect. But the very first draft is so extremely far from perfect…
As we press forward on this, “Journey”, we call, “LIFE”, we discover that there is only one constant in this world, “Change!”.
If we can accept that fact, then the journey can be a little easier, if we fight against it, we create an avenue of, “Chaos!” in our hearts, emotions and minds.
Yes, change, can be a very unsettling thing, and chaos is never a fun thing to go through, however, if we keep pushing forward through the Chaos, we can actually learn the lesson that was needed, therefore creating a Miracle, as it were.
The Meaning of the word Chaos from: The Merriam Webster Dictionary
Yes, Chaos can literally wreak havoc and have a hay day in our hearts and our minds. Everyday, every situation, we are faced with a choice, do we chose to learn from the chaos, and change, or will we chose to learn from what is going on and turn it into an opportunity to learn from what is going on. Usually, when we chose the latter, we have an area of new knowledge and one day, we will have an opportunity to share your experience with someone who is faced with the same type of situation. Yes, that is where the miracle is located. Have the ability to help someone else on a similar journey as your own.
So, yes, we can find a, “Miracle”, from our Chaos.
Where are you on your journey today? Are you choosing to learn from your situation, or are you striving trying to figure it all out, therefore, many times, creating an area of chaos in your heart and mind?
So, for the past couple of weeks, we have had a visiting cat, Siamese Cat, visiting us at the front door of our house. He is super friendly, super social, and loves the attention. His name, because of his name tag, is MoTeck. (Interesting name). Our son, thought maybe it was homeless, but you can tell by looking at him, he is well fed and well taken care of, AND he has a color, name tag and phone number.
Now, Moteck has been scratching at our door, to let us know he is here. I went out to shoo him away, and he was all, “Hey, let me in, it’s cold out here!” LOL.
Then I began to think he was a cat left behind or something like that, so I called the number on his collar. Spoke to the owner, who lives one block away from us, and she tells me he is an outdoor cat, and comes home in the evening, as he makes his rounds in our neighborhood.
She said he is super social and she had another person call her last week, worried about him. It was super funny. I am glad he has owners still here, that he is well fed, a warm bed and very well take care of.
There are a great many lessons I’ve learned from Journaling, writing to my blogs and just freeform writing.
You may know by now that writing IS hard.
1. Find Your Motivation
In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” — Stephen King
Motivation for anything is important. Finding out what your motivation is enables you define your goals and objectives. My first writing on Medium was to crush my pride and break through the inertia. It wasn’t to impact anyone or shape the world. For others it will be to improve the world or enrich the lives of others.
Only the writer determines what is valid.
Find your motivation at every step of the writing journey and refine it as you see fit.
2. Just Write
Overthinking often leads to inaction. In the area of writing, this is a common ailment whose only cure is to write. Like Louis L’Amour has said: “Start writing, no matter what”.
“No matter what” includes days when you have no inspiration. On such days write about “writing without inspiration”. Turn every situation into an opportunity to tell a story. You can only get better the more you write.
“The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
3. Allow Yourself To Suck
“The first draft of anything is sh**.” — Ernest Hemingway
This is one advice I’ve heard seen times without number. To truly learn and improve,one must put away their pride and need for perfection.
Writing is hard work and a well crafted and clear sentence takes effort. As William Zinsser articulates in his book “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction”, good sentences often come through several iterations. Hardly the first, second or third time.
Giving yourself permission to suck will see you through times of despair and self-doubt.
4. Leverage Personal Experiences
The use of personal experiences in communication is a powerful tool. It enhances relateability and ushers the reader or listener into your world.
For a moment, they can feel you — touch you…become you. The next time you’re writing, ask yourself: “will the reader relate better by incorporating a personal experience”?
“…. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt — I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you.” —Cassandra Clare
5. Simplify (Keep It Simple)
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” — Jack Kerouac
A writer who is uneconomical with words creates a chore for the reader and as such is seen to lack empathy. The cardinal rule is: if you can’t explain something simply enough, you don’t understand it well enough.
Simplicity is recommended unless the intent of the writer is to be abstract.
For goodness sake, begin to write. Just let it flow. Now is the time to do it!
Not ago, I had a blast playing Halo 3 for the first time. It lead me to reflect on the countless hours I’ve poured into the Halo series over the past 6 years.
Sure, I might not have much to show for it, but that time was thoroughly enjoyed. In retrospect, I even learned some important life lessons that have helped me succeed.
1. Hesitation is death – In Halo, nothing will get you cracked on the back of the skull faster than hesitation. The same is true in real life. If you waste time worrying about what your competitors are doing, you’ll never succeed. Sure, if you take a chance you might get burned, but you need to accept that risk and make a move. If you fail, learn from the experience and try again. Success comes from being aggressive and actively seeking opportunities.
2. Success requires experience – Obviously natural skill contributes to Halo success, but what really makes a solid player is experience. If you jump into a game without understanding the geography of the map or the capabilities of the various weapons, you won’t stand a chance against an equally skilled player who does. The lesson here is that to acquire an expertise, you need to put in the time to learn the basics. If you don’t know the medium you’re working in, you’ll be strategically disadvantaged.
3. You can’t win without teamwork – In team Halo matches, the ability of players to work together is more important than individual skill. A group of solo artists working against a unified team will constantly be isolated and overwhelmed. To be successful you need to sacrifice personal glory to watch your buddy’s back. Once you can get past ego and start to cooperate with others there will be more success for everyone.
4. Anticipation is the key to victory – The key to making a sweet kill in Halo is knowing what your opponent is going to do before he does. This comes from experience and pattern recognition. When you can anticipate, you can place yourself in the ideal position to bury your competitors before they have the time to adjust.
5. Leverage your strengths – The world of Halo is extremely diverse. Between the numerous weapon strengths, ranges, and combinations, there is an infinite number of ways to make a kill. Different playing styles lend themselves to different strategies. You’ll be much more successful if you can recognize your personal strengths and put yourself in a position to capitalize on them while hiding your weaknesses. Winning comes in streaks – Anyone who’s played much Halo has experienced streaks. One day you’re dead on, killing everyone in sight. The next, you’re getting dominated and can’t seem to find a rhythm. Streaks are part of any high functioning activity.
6. Some days you just can’t concentrate a well as others. The lesson here is that you need to recognize your streaks so you can weather the bad ones and make the most of the good ones.
7. The Devil’s in the details – To the untrained eye, a Halo match looks like a bunch of maniacs running around shooting. In truth, it’s a precise ballet of intelligent players reacting to each other and the environment. The difference between life and death can be as small as the angle of a grenade toss or the decision to reload.
The same is true in real life. You need to pay attention to all the tiny details that contribute to success or failure.
The stars are the street lights of eternity. ~Author Unknown
The Night Season, a great time to stop, ponder and reflect. To take an inward look at WHO you are, who you were and WHO you are becoming, or want to become.
I enjoy the night season at times, especially when the kids are in bed and fast asleep. Here is a perfect picture.
The boys, they are upstairs, in bed and asleep, my wife is alseep in our room, with our cat, also asleep at her feet. The house is in complete silence and all that can be heard are the words flowing in your heart and mind. Yes, the peace and quiet is a great sanctuary to stop and reflect and one of my favorites is to either journal, or write to my blog.
The night season, can be a deep time to reflect on your own heart, silence your soul and listen to your Creator speak life back into your life and Destiny! At times, which is what was experienced by my heart recently, while writing, came across a SERIES of emotions, most of which need to be attended to and taken care of, or gotten rid of, one of the many great lessons learned in life is that we are not designed to carry some things that we are trying so desperately to carry. Well, light was being shed on such things in my heart and it was house cleaning time.
And as this was happening, it was quite painful. There were things that I just did not want to deal with, but know that it has to be done, the light was being shed on it all for a reason, and the reason is designed to bring me freedom and move me in the correct path to meet my destiny. Easy project, no, painful, but in the end, good! Am I there yet, not quite, but do know that the path and trail that is being taken is the correct one. There is a whole new level of freedom for me to walk in.
There is a passage that I like in the bible that relates to this part my night season:
“Weeping may endure for a night, But JOY comes in the morning.”
And, yes, there is morning. A new day. Like Anne’s Teacher once told her on Anne of Green Gables, “Tomorrow is a Brand New Day, with No Mistakes in it yet!”
Yes, I love the night season, the quiet, the peace, there really is nothing like it.
What about you, is there a quiet time that you enjoy? Is there a place you like to silence your soul and reflect? If so, what does that look like?
Distraction(s)Sitting here pondering a great many things today.
There is something that has become abundantly clear.
We currently live in a Western Culture that is FULL of distraction(s).As we travel and move forward on this journey we call LIFE!
And we discover why we are here and why we were born, we begin to move towards that, only to discover there are forces and things in this world designed to keep you from achieving that dream and or that goal.
The dictionary says this of distraction(s):
1 : the act of distracting or the state of being distracted; especially : mental confusion <driven to distraction by their endless chatter>
2 : something that distracts : an object that directs one’s attention away from something else <turned off her phone to limit distractions>
<One created a distraction while the other grabbed the money.>; especially : amusement <a harmless distraction>
<a book of word puzzles and other distractions>Definition of distraction for English Language Learners
: something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention
: something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about problems, work, etc.
: a state in which you are very annoyed or upset
Have you discovered your purpose in life?
I really like this quote:I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us.
When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation.
As you continue to move forward on YOUR Journey, work to keep your focus and work to not get distracted by the noise of this world.
Rather, be a person that can be a change agent in this world, one who can be considered a light house in the storms of life, one that will be there to help guide his fellow man as they discover their purpose in life.
Hello All,sitting here pondering all the people that I have spoken to this year about Christmas. So many, including myself, just *NOT* that excited about the Christmas Season this year.
And I have found that to be strange. Some thoughts on this Season:“It’s that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas?
Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?
For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don’t have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons.
Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength.
You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event.
They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.For me, Christmas is the Greatest Love Story ever told. Why was Jesus Born? Why did God send his only Son to this Earth? Christmas is an expression of our Creators love for us, for you and for me.
It is about Loving on family and friends. It’s not the gifts or the dinners or the parties, it is all about sharing the Love that our Creator has placed into our hearts. We are like rooms. Our lives contain moments of happiness and joy blended with a mix of sorrow and loneliness.
Do you feel broken and alone this Christmas? Jesus came to restore our broken world. He loves you, and freely offers hope and love to you this holiday season.
“So, it is my Hope, that you have a Very Merry Christmas!
One of my least favorite things to do is sit in a waiting room. Does not really matter what kind of Doctors office, however, there is a very real truth that the Doctors and Nurses are trained in the field of the human body, and how to take care of the human physical body.
There are areas of trust that I have and areas that I simply don’t have faith in.
Currently visiting the Neurologist for our oldest son. Our son has non verbal autism.
Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Neurology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of conditions and disease involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle.
Study of the brain. A very specialized field. We are hoping and praying for a great visit and hopes of a solution with his autism.
So, over the past few months, I have been learning more and more what Autism is, and the Spectrum that it is…
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.*
We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges.
A combination of genetic and environmental factors influence the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as:
Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders
Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.
Many people with autism also have sensory issues. These can include aversions to certain sights, sounds and other sensations.
Autism’s hallmark signs usually appear by age 2 to 3. Often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier.
If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.
– DR. STEPHEN SHORE
Learn the Signs
One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.
What are the signs of autism?
The timing and severity of autism’s early signs vary widely. Some infants show hints in their first months. In others, symptoms become obvious as late as age 2 or 3.
Not all children with autism show all the signs. Many children who don’t have autism show a few. That’s why professional evaluation is crucial.
The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:
By 6 months
Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions.
Limited or no eye contact.
By 9 months
Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions
By 12 months
Little or no babbling
Little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving
Little or no response to name.
By 16 months
Very few or no words.
By 24 months
Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)
At any age
Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
Avoidance of eye contact
Persistent preference for solitude
Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
Delayed language development
Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
There is much for me to learn, but am on the basics of this all right now. Our Son is an amazing young man, one whom I Love Dearly. He is a 10 year old, who acts anywhere from 3-5 years old. He is full of love, compassion and has a very sensitive heart, and it shows. An amazing young man. And one day, we are believing for a Miracle of healing, as we continue to help along this journey. I have discovered a whole new community on this journey and find it quite amazing and awesome!