Tag Archives: writers

Never Forget Your First Love

When I was in college, I learned a valuable life lesson from an unlikely source…my bass professor.

During a lesson in preparation for my senior recital, he stopped me midway through a section.  I studied the music to see where I’d made a mistake (but didn’t see anything) so I began again.  He quickly stopped me and said, “Play a C major scale.”

Without flinching, I flew up the fingerboard, but before I had reached the next octave, he interrupted me yet again.

“Let me see it,” he said.  Unnerved, I handed him my upright bass and bow, wondering if it wasn’t too late to change majors.  He began to play the scale slowly, making each note ring with purpose. In fact, my instrument had never sounded better!

“You’ve forgotten why you became a bassist,” he counseled, as he made my instrument come alive.  “Listen to each note.  Enjoy how rich it sounds.  Feel how it resonates through your body.”

He was right.  I had become so consumed with flashy speed and finger dexterity that I’d lost touch with my passion.  I was playing notes, not music.

Although this was a music lesson, I’ve found that this truth spills over into every aspect of my life: writing, marriage, parenting, spirituality…

I often have to take a moment and ask myself: “Have I forgotten my first love?”  “Have I forgotten why I became a _____?”

And since speed kills–and we’re all going 100 mph in a 50 zone–I know I need to take drastic measures.  So I take my foot of the gas, pull off to the side of the road, gaze into the sunset, and get reacquainted with my heart.

For me, it’s the difference between life and LIFE!


Are you one of these?

Courtesy Microsoft

Maybe you’re already aware.  Maybe your friends have said, “That’s you!”  Maybe you’re like so many who avoid self-analysis at all cost.

No matter which category you fall into, I’m here to help you find, discover, and embrace the truth of who you are!

So, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy: “You may be an author if you…”

Walk into a bookstore, see the amassed talent and mumble, “I suck!”

Walk into a bookstore, see the amassed talent and mumble, “They suck!”

Eavesdrop on a spicy conversation to get some “nuggets” for your story’s upcoming dialogue.

Consider your Christmas letter proof that you’re published.

Love replying to every email in order to sharpen your writing skills.

Get excited when your teacher states, “Write about what you did for the summer.”

Think C-Span’s Book TV is exciting to watch.

These are but a few indicators that you may be an author. 

Have any to share?

 


New Baby!

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Right now, my friends and family are FREAKING OUT!  “They’re PREGNANT?”  “He’s in his fifties!  How’s that even possible?”

Rest assured, folks, that the “new baby” is merely allegorical.  As a writer, I’m always striving to grow, and one way I do this is by increasing my vocabulary.  So when I discover a new word, for me, it’s like having a new baby (only without the stinky diapers, 3 A.M. feedings, and subsequent college tuition.)

If you’re still reading this, then I have to assume you’re a writer since everyone else thought:  “Oh, this isn’t about a baby…”  “Oh, it’s not about sex…”

So let’s continue…

Recently, I uncovered a plethora of gems in a fantasy I was reading and added them to my Excel vocab worksheet.  Geeky?  Yep!  But I’ll be the first to admit where I’m weakest (vocab/grammar) and need to improve.  Plus, with the spreadsheet nearby while I write, I have a handy tool and resource at my fingertips.  If not, I tend to use the same tired word or phrasing, which is boring, and if I’m bored, my reader has to be too.

So when I discover a new word, especially one that sums up several words, I get excited.  Honest, I really do!  And you can bet your booty I’ll have these new tots dressed and ready to go, anxious to insert them in a page and watch them help my story grow up. The trick, of course, is to not be the obnoxious parent who shows off baby all the time!

So what tricks of the trade do you use?

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