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Articles you should read!

And You Say You Want to Write

Now, I gotta say that’s a good thing, but can you write? 

Does it matter what you write?

Does it matter if you may never get a Pulitzer prize?

These are all good questions, but let’s take a look at what this is all about.

First, it doesn’t matter if you are a great writer or not.  Don’t let the highbrow scribbler or word slinger brow beat you into setting aside your pen or your keyboard.  It’s yours to do and yours to enjoy.  It’s like any other art form.  It takes practice and it takes a willingness to learn and hone your skills.

Second, Does it matter what you write? Of course it matters, but what matters is that you write about something that YOU enjoy, not that ink slinger that considers himself hot stuff because he’s “an author.”  Truth is, the minute that you put the point of that pen on a piece of paper or tickle the first key on your keyboard, YOU are a writer.  Maybe you haven’t scaled the heights of perfection, but that’s where it begins.  So, whether you want to write poetry or movie scripts, westerns or romances, it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you turn on the switch and go to work.

Third, does it make a difference if you never get published or join the ranks of the Pulitzer Prize winners?  Of course it matters.  Anyone who puts a moments effort into any endeavor has within their molecular structure at least a modicum of desire to excell.  That’s what this is all about; that desire to excell.  The truth is that no one is likely to come along and turn on that switch or put a pen in your hand and ask you to write unless you have an established reputation that you can write.  But whether you get published or not, put it down.  What you write may someday become a small piece in the great jigsaw puzzle of history, and that’s important ’cause that’s what history is all about!


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            I just decided that I must make up my mind.  The indecision is beginning to erode my better judgment.  A friend of mine tells me that at any point in time we have thirty-two decisions from which we must choose.  I never could identify them all.  Maybe he is wrong and there are only thirty-one, or maybe there are really thirty-three.  I’m really having a tough time trying to decide.  Wow!  Decisions again.  There is no end to the decisions we have to make.

            When the chips are down, we have a chance to decide what it will take to get back on the high road.  Of course, then there are those decisions again that must be made to keep us there.  Continue reading

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Telling Jokes About Yourself

Telling Jokes About Yourself

You say it’s not easy to joke about yourself?

Ah, but that’s just where the fun can begin.  To be so reclusive that we can’t make fun of ourselves puts one of the most interesting aspects of our lives way under the table.  I’m not talking about secrets we harbor or incidents that expose the baser aspects of our lives, but those human screwups that haunt even those most perfect among us.

I have been collecting what I have filed as “Quips and Quotes” for years and often post them on my websites and sometimes on FaceBook.  They include quotes from great leaders or a neighbor that has an inherent bent to getting entangled with malapropisms.  And, they include stupid things I’ve done in my section “Growing Evidence I Was a Model Child.” Continue reading

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Vivid, Engaging Characters

Creating Vivid, Engaging Characters

 Using a Scene to Engage a Reader in the Act.

There are many ways to describe an individual character.  You could write about his red and white striped pants with a hole in the knee or the tick that cocks his head jarringly to the side.  You can even talk about his work weary bowed legs.  An engaging character is one that brings your reader into the scene as a participating player in the act.

Take this simple scene of an old man pushing a heavy load of rocks up a hill in a wheelbarrow. Continue reading

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What’s in a Word

Playing with Words

            What’s in a word?

“Online?”   Any housewife knows that’s              “Browsing?”  Any good farmer knows that’s
where clothes end up after a day’s wash.             what sheep and goats do to forage for food.

It’s a question that goes back for centuries, but because of its breadth, the answer just keeps expanding out to infinity.

When Noah Webster was compiling his dictionary that he published in 1928 he repeatedly received definitions and comments about a variety of words from a source in Europe.  When he had finished and published his work, he decided to visit with this mysterious contributor to his tome.  He was directed to a tiny village high in the hills of Scotland.  After a long train ride and a long walk up a steep trail, he was told that the man whom he sought spent his time “out back.” Continue reading

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            What is it about procrastination that makes it so easy and digging in so difficult.  It is an affliction that has pushed all of us, but the very few who would deny this reality, to the limit.  It comes in only one form, and that’s wrapped up in the link between our brain and our extremities that forces us to put off!

When the body is keyed up and ready to do something, the brain slumps into a gelatinous  mass that is incapable of untangling the twisted clump of neurons and fails to connect the synapses that put the body in motion.  Oh, the brain knows that if we take a bite of a hot potato we’ve got to grab that glass of water to quench the fire.  Continue reading

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How many times?

There is no way to place a number on the times that a writer should re-read his work.  It’s like sanding a board or repairing a dented fender or re-working a new recipe you’ve concocted.  If you don’t care about the end result and just want to git ‘er done, then why bother with the details.

Reading your material is essential and the need is obvious.  But how many times?  That’s an open ended question.  Continue reading

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So Let’s Begin Writing

So, let’s begin.  Every writer or author that I have met or talked with says they have been afflicted with “writer’s block.”  How do you surmount that tiny obstacle.  (Yes, as soon as you accept the premise that it’s a tiny obstacle, you’re over the hump and beginning to coast down hill.)  There are many ways that I have heard about, but the best one that works for me is to start building a file of ideas.  These are nothing more than a few words that remind you of something that you thought would be a good story or article.  When you wish to get to work, go to that file and, WOW!  There’s an assortment of starting points. Continue reading

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It’s the Little People

It’s the Little People

What makes a good story?

It’s the little people. It’s people that too many have forgotten.

It’s the mother who chose to stay home and take care of the kids and the dad who takes on extra work to close the financial gap. Continue reading

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