Monday, September 22, 2008

We are the Magic-Makers, the dreamers of dreams...

“There’s no place like home.” ~~ L. Frank Baum

Years ago, I read this wacky science fiction adventure. The characters leapt through dimensions, visiting parallel worlds, and … more. In short order, these savvy travelers figured out that some of the never-before-visited locales were strangely familiar. As comfortable as a well-loved book. *wink* Imagine if those beloved tales sprang to life in other dimensions of reality!

Every story exists… somewhere.

They quickly acclimated, drawing up lists of favorite books to see just where they might end up next.

When visiting Oz, our heroine is recognized and greeted as an honorary princess by a denizen of that magical land. When her companion raises an eyebrow, she explains.

“Pop and I moved so often when I was a kid, but Oz was always with me.”

Having moved often as a child, I related. My treasured series of Oz books went with me, and no matter how unfamiliar the school, I always could return to my dearest friends.

"Roads," observed the shaggy man, "don't go anywhere. They stay in one place, so folks can walk on them." ~~ L. Frank Baum

To be a writer… to create… worlds. Is there anything better? We’re creating magic. Portals into another world. Windows flung open so that tropical breezes can carry us away.

Sometimes we forget the magic simply because there’s so much to this writing business. One word, one sentence, one paragraph at a time. Hard to remember that once all the pieces are carefully pushed together there will be a panoramic view. A view to get lost in. Another world.

"Imagination has brought mankind through the dark ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine, and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities. So I believe that dreams--daydreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing--are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to invent, and therefore to foster, civilization."~~L. Frank Baum


We’re creating worlds here, folks! Think about your favorite books. The ones you get lost in. The world picks you up and sweeps you away. You manage to let go the worries, release the stress, you slip into a bubble of contentment and climb aboard the most incredible vehicle that could ever exist. All within the pages of a book.

And that’s what we’re creating here. When we’re meeting deadlines, counting pages, sweating out an outline, digging out a synopsis, or freaking out over the query, we forget the Big Picture.

Magic. We’re creating worlds here…

Let’s all pull out some of the writing we most love and just for a moment… forget the stress of getting published, of upping the numbers, of finding an agent, of getting the next idea, of polishing mania…

Instead… FEEL the magic. Get excited. Realize what you hold in your hand, in your heart, in your head. Magic. We’re creating worlds here!!

"That proves you are unusual", returned the Scarecrow; "and I am convinced the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed."

Everyone wants to and needs to feel special. Yet so many of us don’t feel special at all. As children, we stress and worry because we’re different AND because we’re not. As adults, we don’t fare much better. Yet we all share a special escape… reading. We can cast spells, solves mysteries, have wild sex *grin*, or slip into another time. Through books, we are all special. The fears of being ordinary slip away as we eagerly turn each new page. We are blessed with a special gift, brought to us by each writer who has taken the time, made the effort, and pushed past the fear. Writers like us…

We’re making magic. We’re creating worlds. It’s worth it. And I’m convinced that each story we craft enriches the world. And to put a twist on the words of Arthur O’Shaughnessy, “We’re the magic-makers, the dreamers of dreams…”

This week, let’s remember the magic. Let’s experience the dream. We Are WRITERS!!

“I firmly believe every book was meant to be written.” ~~- Marchette Chute

We’re starting off with a lovely new week. A week filled with promise and potential. What’s your minimum goal? What’s your stretch goal?

Even as you read this, I'm flying in on the red-eye. *yawn*

My goals this week:

Jump back into my book full-force!
Ten new pages.
Weekly essay.
Unpack. *grin*

What are YOUR goals for this Magical Week?

Write-write-WRITE! Go-go-GO!!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Choosing to Believe...

"I still believe in Hope -- mostly because there's no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas." –Molly Ivins

In life, we have two clear choices, to believe in success or to believe in failure. It may seem as if there are an infinite number of perspectives available but it's simply not true. Each view slants one way or another, with all sorts of justifications for the core belief. We invest hours in explaining Why we will fail or why we will succeed. Often investing as much time in our justifications as we do with any action towards our goals!

"Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other." --Brian Tracy

All that time and energy to fuel our dreams. By golly, it certainly behooves us to know exactly Which Choice we're aiming for! Especially because our Choice will fuel our actions. Optimistic people tend to succeed more often because they Choose to believe in Success no matter what. By framing their perspective with optimism, they tend to look for solutions rather than seeing negative circumstances merely as a reinforcement of their failure. They Believe Success is Inevitable. And so it is.

"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible." --Orison Swett Marden

No obstacle is too great when one shores up a dream with hope, faith and optimism. Mary O'Hara was 56 when she wrote My Friend Flicka. Anna Sewell was 57 when she penned Black Beauty. What may be the world's longest running play, The Mousetrap was completed by Agatha Christie when she hit the age of 62! Not to be outdone, Laura Ingalls Wilder published Little House in the Big Woods, the first of the eight-volume Little House on the Prairie series at age 65.

You bet these incredible women didn't let setbacks discourage them for long. They had two choices. To believe they would succeed or to believe they would fail. Which choice do you think they made? *smile*

"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." --Helen Keller

The stars were once the primary navigational tool. The heavens above and a sturdy compass to provide direction. Consider the stars to be our source of inspiration. Occasionally there will be clouds obscuring your view, but your heart is the compass. Trust your heart to guide you, to give you direction. Believe in yourself. Believe in your goals.

"Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Every day that we invest time and energy into accomplishing our dreams, we are a step closer to realizing our fondest hopes. The ones who reach the stairs don't rely on outside circumstances to validate their success. Success is in their hearts, in their attitude, and the world knows it.

Take a moment every single day to validate your dreams. Don't wait for the world or for outer circumstances to do it. You are a Writer! We Are WRITERS! Say it now and every day. Remind yourself and you'll find out a secret. Believing in success makes you responsible to achieve that success. What most don't realize is that pessimists are lazy at heart. By believing in failure, they have a built-in excuse to avoid the work. Hah! We have no such dubious luxury (thank Goddess). We believe in success and so we must Choose to Do The Work. We Are Writers!

"Light tomorrow with today." --Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Today's focus is what will fuel tomorrow's actions. And the next day, and the day after that. Let that flame burn bright in your heart, for the optimism will always light the way. Remember, We Are Writers!

I'm off to vacation in sunny Hawaii this week so I may not get a chance to check in at all. Keep that energy up and those fingers flying!!

Ready to set some goals?

Smiles to you all,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Becoming the Butterfly...

“A blank piece of paper is God's way of saying how hard it is to be God.” --Sidney Sheldon

I love this quote. *smile*

Authors are the Ultimate Creators of a Universe. A highly personal, crazy, wacky world where our characters are expected to ponder, giggle, exchange sloppy kisses, and live happily ever after.

So… why am I staring at a blank screen and tossing around potential plot points as if they were nothing more than soggy croutons in a limp salad?

“Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” – Arthur Koestler

I have three books under my belt. Another half-way through. Creating these manuscripts has taught me much. An unmistakable lesson is how writing fiction really is a lifelong learning process. It does create a split personality of sorts. After all, there are hundreds of techniques and “rules of writing” and yet there’s only one person who knows what method works best for you. And sometimes she’s at a loss as well, eh? *grin*

There’s no mistaking the rush of excitement when a moment of clarity sizzles inside the brain. The two sides of our being mesh and in that moment we become the creation we struggle to create. We Are WRITERS!!

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.” --Buckminster Fuller

All we have to do is move past that “blank page.” Jeez-Louise! So… what do we do? How do we push past the frustration born out of our need to *see* the theme, the dark moment, the turning point, the inner conflict, the character arc, and everything we’ve decided is essential to making a good story?

"Life is trying things to see if they work." ~~Ray Bradbury

There’s really only one way. We experiment. We doodle out ideas in our brain. Mix and match possibilities. We take a chance.

Indecisiveness is my curse. My biggest stumbling block. What I realized is that I needed to let go of my debilitating fear of Making The Wrong Choice.


Here’s what I found. There are no wasted words. If I write a whole chapter and later decide that direction isn’t working, I can easily start over. The time I spent writing has strengthened me and helped to improve my craft. Had I invested the same amount of time staring at blank screen fretting and worrying over a blank screen, I’d be left with nothing. And here’s the rub—I would no doubt feel worse than if I had “wasted” time writing a discarded chapter.

“I learned you have to trust yourself, be what you are, and do what you ought to do the way you should do it. You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.” ~~Barbra Streisand

It all boils down to trust. Trust that we are writers. We experiment and explore the potential within. We take risks with our ideas and dabble in intricate possibilities. We dare to move forward knowing that sometimes the direction will need to be changed. We do it all and more because…


And what do writers do? Writers WRITE.

Summer's golden glow will soon fade as the crisp clear taste of Autumn sweeps in. Ready to get some work done?

Let's set goals!

My husband threw a wonderful surprise my way. He's taking me along on his business trip to Hawaii! Yay! Why not mix business with a whole lot of pleasure, right? So this next week will be a balance between unexpected vacation planning and writing.

Set up essays for posting while I'm away.
Write at least ten pages. *crosses fingers*
Plan, pack, clean, prepare. *grin*

How about you?

--Chiron O’Keefe