Category Archives: art

RIVER OVER GRASS

AbstractJust a couple for today’s post.  These were taken years ago at two different parks

River Over Grace

River flowing over grass at Hillsborough State Park.

DSC_0086

Underwater plant at Lettuce Lake Park.

 

 

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I HAVE A NOVEL IN MY MIND

    

     I recently read an article that talked about writing being work and I have to agree one-hundred percent.  If you think writing a novel is easy then I would think you haven’t written a novel then had to rewrite it and then rewrite it again.  Writing is not a hobby or play.  It is a job just like any other career.  If you want to be successful you must take it seriously.  I must confess that I have not taken it as sincerely as I should.  I have been just plain lazy and I have no excuses that are acceptable.

     So you say “I have this great novel in my mind if I could just find time to put it on paper.”  Well, so do I and probably over a thousand others.  I know one thing for certain; as long as it stays in your mind it will never become a bestseller.  We will never “just find time” we must make time.  Remember we all get the same amount of hours in a day the difference is what we do with those hours.  How do we manage our time and why can’t we find time to write.  I can’t speak for you that is something you will have to do some soul-searching and answer for yourself.

     First, I believe that God should always come first in our life.  He should have the first and best part of our day.  Then we schedule other activities.

     I can find all kinds of endeavors to do instead of writing.  I say I love to write but now I must search myself and see if that is true.  If it is true then why don’t I make more time for it? 

  • One reason could be fear of being rejected.  If I don’t finish the novel it won’t be turned down.
  • Fear of being ridiculed; if this has ever happened to you about something you wrote whether as a child or adult then that fear is real.  You never want to subject yourself to it again.
  • Fear of not being the best.  Not everyone can be perfect and there are a lot of novels out there that lack perfection.
  • Fear of failure.  You tried writing before and your manuscripts were not accepted by a publisher.  Well you finished it didn’t you?  So you aren’t failing maybe you just need to try a different hook.
  • Pure honest to goodness laziness.  I really don’t believe this applies to many or any of us.  There is always an underlying reason for our lack of production.

            If we really and truly want to write we simply must sit down and put words on paper and forget all the other bunk.  So what if others laugh?  They ridiculed Noah and look what he did (we’re still talking about it today.)  If you must have perfection then keep writing until you achieve it.  If your fear is failure well so long as you are putting words on paper you are not failing. There are as many reasons for not writing as there are people who want to write.  Each of us must decide which apply to us and do our best to overcome whatever it is.  No one can or will do this for us it is up to us to write or not to write.  The road to being an author is not an easy one.  We hit some huge bumps along the way but we must persevere and overcome those obstacles.

     Thanks for stopping by, until next time keep writing and before you know it that novel you had in your mind will be a completed manuscript on paper.

 God bless.

 

WRITE BY FAITH

     How many times have you heard someone say “I could write a book?”  The truth is they probably could however, in all probability they never will.  We all have a story or many stories we would like to tell.  Nevertheless, what we think would make a great book others aren’t interested in at all.  What we do and what happens in out life doesn’t matter a hill-of-beans to the general population.  But writers on the other hand will write even if another living soul never reads a word of what we’ve written.  We have a drive; call it a burning desire, to tell the stories that are bubbling in our souls.  And how do we write?   By faith!  And we become successful by faith.  We all have faith no matter what it is in.  My faith is in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I know my talent comes from God.

     If you are a Christian you have faith that you are saved.  If someone asked you where you will spend eternity you would quickly say “Heaven.”  Why?  Because, you have faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I think you will agree that salvation is the biggest and most important thing in our lives.  And we trust God’s Word when He said “Trust in Jesus and you will be saved.”  We know that God doesn’t lie.  So let me ask you this?  If you trust God for the big thing, your salvation, what don’t you trust Him for the little and every day things?  The Bible tells us that God will supply what we need.  (Matthew 6:25-34)  It tells us that God knows what we need and He has already taken care of it.  There are so many verses in the Bible that talks about us having faith.  So we know that is important to God.  We have not because we ask not. James 4:2

     You might ask what that has to do with being a successful author.  Everything! If we are to be truly successful we must trust God for our success.  And we must trust when we ask that we have received it.  No, not that we will receive it but that it is already ours.  Dr. Charles Stanley put it this way; small faith says God might, big faith says He will but strong faith says He has.  No, God is not some Santa Claus waiting to grant our wishes.  He’s more than that!  He’s a loving, kind, understanding Father Who loves His children and wants to give them the best.  He already gave us His Best, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so why would we hesitate to ask for our daily needs.

     You want to be a successful writer?  When you sit down to work before you put one word on paper you bow your head and ask God to write through you what He wants you to say.  You might say, “Oh but I write Romance Novels, or Suspense or whatever.”  Do you thing God doesn’t know romance?  He created it.  Turn in your Bible to Ruth 2 and read the story of Ruth and Boaz.  You want suspense? How about the stories of Daniel, Joseph, Noah, and so many others?  Remember God created all things even romance and suspense.  Does this mean you will be an overnight success?  No.  God will never give you what you are not equipped to handle whether trials or riches.  But it does mean that when you trust God you will write what He wants you to write.  And I can tell you that He will give you stories and you won’t get writer’s block.  Oh yes, you can still be lazy and not sit down and write or make all kinds of excuses.  Proverbs 6: 9-11 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?    When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.  But if God has given you the talent and desire to write He will write through you if you are willing to do your part.  You will never lack a store house of story ideas.  And a good measure is; after each writing session thank Him for sitting and writing with you.  You will be so surprised how easy your writing goes. 

     Remember God has to come first in your life.   Matthew 6:33 seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

     Thanks for stopping by until next time keep the faith and keep writing.

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS

         One of the things I’ve come across in my writing career is the impatience of other people; usually our loved ones (spouse, children, siblings.)  Often when we talk to them they want to know if we are still writing, where we are in the process and how much longer do we think it will take us.  This is unnecessary pressure.  It can bring our creative juices to a quick halt, or I know it can mine.  The one thing an author doesn’t need is more pressure.  However, these well-meaning souls usually have no idea what we go through.  They think we sit down at the computer and the words just flow from our fingers. Oh, if it was that easy, right?  They have no idea how we struggle to show and not tell a scene, to listen to our characters and speak through their voices not our own and so on and so on… Some have even asked “Why don’t you get a real job?”  Writing isn’t a real job?  Hello!

     When I want to tell them to back off I have to think of Noah.  Can you imagine the pressure he went through when he was building the Ark?   I’m sure that his family, like ours, wanted to know when he would finish and what he was really working on.  Maybe they accused him of wasting time.  We might take a year or so to write a novel, probably less once we get rolling, but it took him 120 years to build the ark!  To put up with people ridiculing you for 120 years had to take some strength.  Yes, of course I know that God gives us the strength to do whatever He asks us to do but that doesn’t shield us from the people who are just looking for and hoping we will fail.  Yes, He also gives us the strength and knowledge to deal with them in a way that He approves.

     Now I know that I’m no Noah but I do believe my love for writing and my God-given talent is for writing, so I have to believe that God will give me the strength to persevere and finish the novels I have started.  I need to “Trust in God with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)  This means I have to turn my writing career over to Him.  I really do try to do this.  One thing I have found that helps me is to say a prayer before my writing sessions to ask Him to write the story through me and after the session to thank Him for His help.

     Maybe you aren’t a believer in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, if not praying won’t help you with your career.  But it is so easy to become a child of God. All it takes is faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ alone.  Remember God knows your heart so all you have to do is tell Him you do believe that Jesus came to earth and died as a substitute for our sins.  Sounds easy?  It is.  

     I know God gives each of us a talent to make our living but He leaves it up to us to find that talent and develop it and become successful.  God takes good care of His children but He will never give us more than we are capable of dealing with whether troubles or blessings.

     Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time keep praying and asking God what He wants you to write and keep believing.  Remember what He did for the people during Biblical times He will do for us today if we believe.  Oh the stories that I could share but I’ll save them for another time.

God bless.

FAITH IN YOUR TALENT AS A WRITER

     A career in writing can be a very lonely job.  However, it can be equally exciting; we get to see our characters grow and develop their personalities.  We get to travel places that we might only get to go in our imagination.  Being an author can also bring along fear and doubt.  We get rejections on top of rejections while we see others who don’t write as well or are at least equal with us.  We wonder “What am I doing wrong?”  The truth might be that the problem is not in your writing at all. 

     We can’t doubt and have faith all at the same time.  It is impossible!  We either have faith that God gave us our talent and we will be successful in His time or we doubt that He will do what He said He will do.  If we doubt, in essence we are calling God a liar.  He either keeps His promises or He doesn’t.  And I for one know He doesn’t lie.

     We just need to have patience and wait for His time.  Sometimes it might take days, weeks or even years but when the time is right we will see God working to answer our prayers.  This has happened to me so many times.  I once prayed for a house in a certain area.  Well we moved into an apartment and it was nice so I quit praying for the house.  A couple of years later we bought a house in the area I had prayed about.  I didn’t think about my prayer until one day I was backing out of our drive and thanking God for our home when His Spirit spoke to mine and said, “You asked for a home in this area.”  Let me tell you it floored me!!  I stopped right there and said, “Yes Lord I did, please forgive me for not thanking you sooner.”  The house was what I had prayed about a couple of years before!!  God is so good all the time.

     So talk to God and if He has given you the talent to be a writer don’t doubt your success.  It will come in God’s time.  It will be the success He has planned especially for you and you will be happy.  So now instead of worry have peace in your soul and know that God is in charge.  He is working behind the scenes when we don’t see His hand in what we are doing.  Go on and in your mind see your book on the best sellers list, see yourself doing huge book signings and start now thanking God for your success.  Is this mind over matter?  I don’t think so. Remember Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  That is a promise from God!  So we don’t need to look around at other authors and see them getting published and wonder why we aren’t.  We don’t need to worry if an agent will accept us or not. 2 Timothy 7 tells us; (For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.)  All we need to do is keep writing and trusting God.  It sounds so easy but let me tell you that you will have times of doubt.  Satan will try to whisper in your ear that you are a fool and shouldn’t believe that God is in charge but don’t you believe him.  You just keep praying and asking God what He wants you to do next and trust Him for a successful outcome.

     Thanks for stopping by and until next time keep writing and keep trusting God and believe that you are a success because God doesn’t lie.

BUILD YOUR WORD REPERTOIRE

     Recently my 67-year-old sister-in-law shocked her oldest daughter by telling her that she liked RAP music (for lack of a better word though it hardly qualifies as music.)  We all got a good laugh out of that because we’re almost sure she doesn’t even know what RAP is. Or she might really shock us by knowing what it is.  But it is highly doubtful.  This is a woman who does not use swear words nor does she want them said around her.  She is a true Southern Lady.

     I thought about it and I decided I might like some RAP if they didn’t cuss so much.  As I was growing up, and trust me that was many moons ago, we were taught that a person uses cuss words because they have a limited vocabulary.  So the author of RAP just like any other writer should strive to develop a repertoire of words even though they might never use them in any of their work.  We know that as writers we should tell the story (or song) in the most precise terms.  A reader or listener does not want to struggle through fifty dollar words when ten-cent words will get the point across.

     There are a number of ways to build our collection of words; Scrabble, learning a new word every day, reading and so on and on.  I prefer the reading method.  I like having the knowledge when and if I ever need it but like every one else I attempt to make my manuscripts an easy, enjoyable read.  Our readers want to be entertained not impressed by our large vocabularies but on the other hand I feel they don’t want every other word to be a cuss word.

     Will I listen to RAP?  I have in the past when my sons and I were sharing a car.  I didn’t really like it then but I did enjoy sharing the moment with which ever son was driving me to and from work that particular day.  They were also kind enough to listen to my Country Music on rare, very rare, occasions.  Today if you get in my car and turn on the CD player you will probably hear something like “The Wheels on The Bus Go Round and Round.”  Why?  Because that is the kind of music my two-year old grandson enjoys and we are sharing moments and building happy memories.

     I like most music but not all of any genre. Music is part of life and wouldn’t the world be colorless without it?

     Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time settle back in a comfort chair and listen to RAP… or not.   God bless.

DOUBTING MY WRITING SKILLS

    

Do you ever doubt your writing skills?  You know you are a writer maybe you’ve even have published books to prove it.  But you sit down at the computer and you think, “I can’t do this.  I can’t get my thoughts to come out the way I want them to.”  And a small internal voice whispers, “Of course you can’t.  Who are you trying to fool?  You can’t write and even if you put words on the paper no one will want to read them.”  Then you hear.  “Writing is a hard world to break into.  You have to know somebody who knows somebody to even get your big toe in the door.  You might as well give it up.”  And you think “Who do I know?”  And you come up with “On one.”

     But you are wrong!  If you are a Christian you know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and they are bigger than anything, even the publishing business.  If God has given you the talent to write He will open the doors that He wants open for you.  We don’t need to worry about which doors will get open and how they get open.  That is not our job!  Our job is to write and keep writing.  We know God gave us the talent so we have to trust Him to guide us where we should be. 

     In James 1; 1 – 8 James tells us to trust God and not be double minded.  If we know God gave us our writing talent then we can trust Him to show us how to succeed.

     We must practice our faith in our every day lives.  When a problem arises we should think of God immediately.  Once we have talked to Him we know He has worked the situation out for our benefit. (Romans 8: 28)  When we ask we must have faith that it is done.  Jesus was the perfect example to this.  He would get alone to talk to God and we read where He knew what to do and say.  Jesus didn’t doubt God because He knew God was and is bigger and more powerful than anything this world can throw at us.  We too must know this.  We are God’s children and He works all things for our good.  So when we go to our Father we should go knowing whatever we ask will be done.

     Satan wants us to be full of doubts and fail.  He wants to destroy us.  If we are destroyed and fail what glory does that bring God?  But on the other hand God wants us to succeed and be prosperous.  I fully believe He would not have given us the desire to write if He didn’t want us to be authors.

     A good practice is when you sit down to write, first bow your head and ask God to guide you; ask Him to write the story through you.  Then start writing and leave the consequences to Him.  You will have more confidence in yourself and the work you produce.

     Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time keep writing but more important keep believing and praying and remember God is greater.  God bless.

DOES GOD CARE ABOUT OUR WRITING CAREER

     I’m feeling better but still a little weak.  I tell you that was one bad virus.  Once it grabs you it just doesn’t want to let go.  But God is stronger and I will heal one place or the other. Being sick I just haven’t felt like putting any effort in my writing.  I know I need to sit myself down and work on finishing the Southern Drama and Suspense novels that I’ve been working on forever.  Then there is the Southern Drama that I need to rewrite and a new one that is playing around in my head with faint sketches on paper.  So I certainly don’t have Writer’s Block what I have is lazy block.  And the only cure for that is to get over it period; which I absolutely plan to do.

    Some of my blogs will be about writing and some about my life and some about God and His wonderful love for us. 

     Today I would like to talk about Hebrews chapter 11.  The people in Hebrews 11 show a strong faith.  This is the kind of faith we Christians should experience.  Like a weak muscle we must exercise our faith so it becomes strong.  When we have faith and see God do the little things we ask we began to ask for bigger things.  This is how we build strong trust in God.  We know He can and will but we must teach ourselves not only is He will or able but He HAS done what we seek.  That is the kind of faith we need to practice. When we come asking our Father for something we need to go away knowing it has been done.  It is a done deal so we thank Him for it.  God is so good and He wants us to build a strong fellowship with Him.

     I know God answers prayers today.  Is it wrong to pray about our writing careers?  I don’t think so.  God gave us this desire and talent to write.  I fully believe He wants us to talk to Him about what we write.  We need to make sure we are writing what He wants us to write and the only way to do that is to talk to Him and give Him a chance to talk back to us.  I also like to say a prayer before each writing session and ask God and the Holy Spirit to write the story through me.  At the end of the session I like to thank God for showing me how and what to write.  Does God care about our writing career?  My answer to that is ABSOLUTELY!  God cares about everything in our lives.

     Thanks for stopping by.  Try talking to God about your writing and see what He says.  No… you won’t hear a booming voice because God speaks softly to our hearts and spirits. God bless and keep you.

SHOW DON’T TELL. YEAH RIGHT!

     If you have ever taken a class on writing then you have heard “You must show not tell your story.”  So you think Piece of cake I can easily do that.  What are you writing if you think showing is a cake walk?

     If we want to have a dream of a chance for our novels to make a best-selling list we have to do more than just show.  The audiences today and probably yesterday as well, demand more.  They want to be in the moment!  They want to feel the laughter and pain.  So how do we put them there you ask.

     We use all of their senses.  They not only want to see, they also want to feel, touch and smell.  First we have to learn how to do this.  I suggest that you get several best sellers in the genre the same or close to your manuscript (checking them out of the local library will save you money) then not only read them but study them.  Look at how they move from scene and how they capture the reader; how they encourage them to turn the page.  Now you will have a better understanding of what you are trying to accomplish.

     We put our audiences in the scenes.  We bring in the smells, the sounds and the taste.  We let them hear the white noises that we hear and see every day.  But we must do this without our reader being aware of the white noise just like we usually don’t notice them but the noise is still there.  They want to smell the exhaust from a bus without it hitting them over the head.

     Yes, of course we must show not tell but we have to do more than that.  As we develop our skills we will write best sellers and enjoy the trip as well.

     Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time take a few minutes and make yourself aware of the white noises around you; the hum or a refrigerator, whir of a ceiling fan, a dog barking in the distance.  They’re there and we must include them in our scenes if we want our scenes to be real.  God bless.

AN AUTHOR’S SUCCESS

Have you ever been jealous of the successful authors? I ask myself this question. I try very hard to never be jealous of or envy anyone else. But when I look at some of the last years earnings for some authors and they are way in the millions, like $78,000,000 I think man it would be so nice to earn that kind of money. But is that jealousy? I certainly hope not. And then I wonder why some make it and some don’t. Is it because some are lazy and some work harder? I don’t think so.
As you well know, I believe God gives each of us a means, call it talent if you wish to make our living. But He leaves it up to us to find that talent and develop it to succeed. And again that depends on what one calls success. Some  go farther than others but does that really mean some are more successful than others. Certainly they are by the world’s standards. But do we want to pattern our lives after the world or after Jesus? Remember Jesus didn’t even have a house of His own to live in while He was here on earth. But wouldn’t you call Jesus successful? I sure would. When He said in John 19:30 “It is finished” He had successfully done the job He came to do, there by being a success.
Some authors seem to manage their time better than others and it is so true some write more novels than others. So should we be jealous of them? I don’t think so. Instead of worrying about what they have accomplished we should set our minds on reaching our own goals. We have heard it said that God will not put more on us than we can bear but we should remember that is success as well as trials and temptations. Ask yourself if you are ready to handle the success that the authors who make millions have. Are you strong enough to resist the temptations that come with wealth? Would you prefer wealth to good health? Do you write because you want to and must write or do you write hoping to get rich? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against wealth and hope to obtain some myself one day but I have to ask myself if that is why I write and the answer is an emphatic “No.” I write because I love to write.  Am I successful? I feel I am. Think of all the people who say “One day I’m going to write a book or poem or whatever.” And if you are doing it then call yourself a success! You are doing what so many dream of doing but never get around to it. Some say they will write a blog some day but if you are blogging now you have beat them to the punch and have succeeded in writing a blog.
I conclude that like beauty success is in the eye of the beholder.
Thanks for stopping by and until next time think about what you consider success. And keep writing even if you are the only one who sees what you write.