Tag Archives: Writer

I Can Do That Today

14 May

A businessman bought popcorn from an old street vendor each day after lunch. He once arrived to find the peddler closing up his stand at noon. “Is something wrong?” he asked.

A smile wrinkled the seller’s leathery face. “By no means. All is well.”

“Then why are you closing your popcorn stand?”

“So I can go to my house, sit on my porch, and sip tea with my wife.”

The man of commerce objected. “But the day is still young. You can still sell.”

“No need to,” the stand owner replied. “I’ve made enough money for today.”

“Enough? Absurd. You should keep working.”

The spry old man stopped and stared at his well-dressed visitor. “And why should I keep working?”

“To sell more popcorn.”

“And why sell more popcorn?”

“Because the more popcorn you sell, the more money you make. The more money you make, the richer you are. The richer you are, the more popcorn stands you can buy. The more popcorn stands you buy, the more peddlers sell your product, and the richer you become. And when you have enough, you can stop working, sell your popcorn stands, stay home, and sit on the porch with your wife and drink tea.”

The popcorn man smiled. “I can do that today. I guess I have enough.”

Extract from Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado

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The 6AM Writing Challenge

1 Nov

Today, I wake up earlier than the neighbours, earlier than the sun and even earlier than the birds. It’s dark outside and cold inside, but I’m smiling. This is the first day of my 6AM Writing Challenge and so far I am doing well.

November is known by aspiring writers as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which writers can take part in a challenge to write a novel (50, 000 words) in one month. I had thought about taking part in NaNoWriMo, but decided against it. My main reasons for taking part would have been to develop a daily writing practice and to prove to myself that I can write a whole novel in a month if I put my mind to it. However, I already developed a daily writing practice with the help of the 120 day “Do What You Love” Challenge, and my main ideas for a novel require a lot of research and planning: it would be a waste of time to start without the necessary information, and a shame to rush through something that requires more attention.

Although I decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo, I still felt that I needed a writing challenge for November, and what I needed the most was time to write. Up until now, I would write for fifteen minutes right at the end of the day, and would not set aside quality time for writing, even though my schedule allows for a couple of hours of ‘free time’.  I therefore decided to make use of these hours for writing, but the only way of fitting in these hours into the day was by…waking up earlier.

So here I am, scribbling away as the neighbourhood and nature sleep. For the whole month of November I will be waking up at 6AM to do one hour of writing before starting the day. The 6AM Writing Challenge won’t be easy (I love sleeping!), but it is the only way for me to fit writing into my day.

Whichever creative challenge you are participating in this month – be it NaNoWriMo or your own personal challenge – I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to finding out how you are getting on!

 

For the Love of Writing

24 Oct

When asked why they would like to write a novel, most of the students in my writing class replied with reasons such as money or a change of lifestyle. No one in the class said “Because I love writing”.

Writing has become a business. In almost every issue of Writer’s Magazine there is an article explaining to readers how they can make a million pounds with their ebook, blog, self-published novel etc. One article I read recently stated that in order to have a successful book, writers must pick out a target audience before getting started and then write their book to meet their audience’s desires, in order to guarantee sales.

This purely commercial attitude to writing saddens and disheartens me. Personally, I do not write because I want to become filthy rich, but because I enjoy writing. I write about things I love or things I believe in, and I am always deeply fulfilled to finish yet another article or poem or story. Writing in itself brings me joy, and I write every day precisely because the act of writing makes me happy.

I am worried that if writers and the publishing industry continue to focus purely on sales, then future generations will never discover the fun and pleasure of writing as an art. Even today, I wonder where I could find a teacher who could teach me the beauty of written expression, rather than the technique of creating a bestseller.

If you know a writer who writes for the love of writing, send them my way! I have many things I would like to talk to them about…

Versatile Blogger Award

11 Jan

The last week of 2011 brought me a wonderful gift: Princess Nadie of Nadie’s Brain and Kate from The Phoenixplains chose Love Out Loud for the Versatile Blogger Award! “I am just like you in love with love so I had to give this to you,” said Princess Nadie. Thank you very much to both Princess Nadie and Kate – it makes me extremely happy that there are other people who are guided and inspired by love. And thanks to the blogosphere we are able to share this inspiration with each other.

After accepting the Versatile Blogger Award, the winner must:

1) Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post.
2) Share 7 things about yourself.
3) Pass this award along to 15 blogs.

So, seven things about me:

  1. I started my first diary at the age of eight.
  2. At the age of nine I was part of a team of children in my school to write a musical for our end-of-year show.
  3. Poetry was my passion in my late adolescence – I wrote over seventy pages of it in my last years of school.
  4. The most interesting and fun thing that I have ever studied is probably scriptwriting.
  5. I once wrote to my favourite writer by e-mail…and got a reply!
  6. Someone you’ve heard of has sung one of my songs.
  7. If I could have any writer’s talent, I would choose Pushkin’s.

Seeing as the Versatile Blogger Award is exactly what it says in the title – versatile – each nominated blogger can choose any 15 blogs that they enjoy reading. So my choice of the next Versatile Blogger Award winners is as follows:

1) Spirit Lights the Way ~ “Be Here Now”

2) Lisa Rivero ~ “Writing life in the 21st century”

3) Natalie Cuts Forth ~ “Accessing your intuition”

4) A Clean Surface ~ “Simplicity, organization, inspiration, minimalism, humor…and reality”

5) Power Strength Grace ~ “Empowering, fresh and inspirational guide to well-being”

6) Life’s Maze ~ “Life’s full of mysteries and changes; here we talk of some of them”

7) The Quiet Voice ~ “Life, books and pop”

8) Six Months to Live ~ “Life is what you make it. What could you do in 6 months?”

9) Healing and Living ~ “Because anyone can achieve happiness”

10) 365 Life Photography ~ “A picture a day stops the memories from fading away”

11) Cherie Roe Dirksen ~ “Pushing the boundaries of inner truth and creativity”

12) Sparkle Me Zen ~ “A sparkle zen to enrich, encourage or enlighten”

13) Daily Health Boost ~ “Your daily dose of inspiration & motivation for keeping up a healthy and happy lifestyle”

14) The Soulful Contrarian ~ Soulful and Contrary

15) Seasweetie’s Pages ~ “One woman on a quest for peace, joy and the write words”

Dear blog authors – please allow me a few days to get in touch with all of you by email to let you know about this nomination. Thank you for your understanding.

Follow Your Heart – Susanna Tamaro

14 Sep

“Be still and listen in silence to your heart. When it has spoken to you, rise up and follow it”, thus ends Susanna Tamaro’s international bestselling novel Follow Your Heart. Translated into eighteen languages, this is an epistolary novel in which an elderly Italian lady, fearing her imminent end, writes to her granddaughter in America. Alternating between diary and memoire, the old lady recounts her past to her only remaining living relative. Understanding that this will be the last communication that she has with her granddaughter, the old lady tells her story in the hope of being understood, and, in some way, forgiven, by her young descendant.

In Follow Your Heart, the protagonist tells her family’s story and explains the way in which her relatives, as well as contemporary Italian tradition, played a role in the formation of her character and her fate. She often gives wise reflections on life, as if ensuring to pass on to her granddaughter everything that she has learnt over the years: “Life is not a race but an archery contest. Saving time counts for nothing; what matters is to hit the bull’s-eye”. As we learn more about the old lady’s life through her honest narrative, we learn that most of her life’s tragedies arose from miscommunication and the fear to listen to one’s instinct over custom or duty.

Through this novel, Tamaro creates a fable whose philosophical lessons will stay with us long after we have finished the book. Tamaro captures a universal human essence in her writing, which is evident in the way that the protagonist’s many moral and metaphysical battles remind us of our own. However, having chosen the epistolary form, Tamaro sacrificed the ability to describe the old lady’s past life with more detail, and thus, more emotion. The only moments when we truly sympathise for the old lady and understand her fragile state is during the descriptive passages that capture her present lonely life in an empty winter home. As well as lacking in emotion, the narrative also suffers from a plot that is unable to provide any life lessons without the old lady’s regular words of wisdom.

Follow Your Heart is a novel that will provoke each reader to contemplate his or her own experiences. However, for me this book will remain no more than a source of wise quotes, a story that touched my mind, rather than my heart.

 

For information about Susanna Tamaro’s other work, click here.
For Susanna Tamaro’s biography on Wikipedia, click here.