Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Storm Writing

Recently Fay Lamb included this quote on the ACFW crit group: "For me, life is writing and I can do it anywhere. It doesn't matter where I am. I listen. I write. I live." ~Maynard James Keenan

True words.

Today's post is dedicated to life, weather, and inspiration. Last week a winter storm pelted the area I live. What I saw the next day caused me to laugh and, oddly enough, discover these writing lessons:

There I was snuggled in my home, sipping hot chocolate, and gazing at Michigan sized snowflakes falling in Montana when my husband leaped from the sofa (a literal leap!) and announced he would snow-blow the driveway. "We'll be able to get out of the garage and down to the street tomorrow." Thirty minutes later the abominable snowman bounded into my house, content with a job well done. My husband was right. The next morning we slid down our driveway while other drivers chiseled and pounded crusty snow in a mad attempt to plow a path for their car. 

What did I learn? 

Writing a manuscript worthy of publication takes tenacity, help, and blessings. This is not a cream puff task.  Buck up. Push through. Get the words down. When someone struggles, lend a hand. Offer to critique, share your skills, and give a word of encouragement.  When you're the one in need, let others know. Humble yourself, ask for help, and be a blessing to someone else by letting them help you.

3. Use Wisdom
At the end of my work day, employees from a nearby auto glass business gathered outside to help a co-worker.  Their business truck sat sideways in the street aimed to backup into the garage bay. The driver revved the engine a few times while the workers shouted, "Now gun it this time."  The engine roared, the wheels spun, and the truck careened toward the bay.  The workers cheered as they trudged through the knee-deep unshoveled path.  I couldn't help but wonder how many times they tried to get that truck in the bay, and what would have happened if the workers had shoveled the path first.  Larry, Curly, and Mo would have been jealous.

What did I learn?  There is a wealth of instruction available for writers. Sometimes I'm lazy and choose not to sharpen my skills. I toil over my WIP revving my brain and spinning my wheels because I'm locked into my way. I must admit, when I choose to correct my work and modify my writing according to the instructions, my WIP sounds good.

Here is a cup of cocoa to invigorate your winter writing days. 

May you find strength to follow through perfecting your WIP, give/receive help liberally, and use wisdom found in books/blogs/etc. in your writing today.

How is your writing--can we bless you in someway?

What did I learn?
Obstacles will clog the path to publication. If I hone my craft and apply what I've learned before submitting my WIP I will be able to weather the journey and prove myself worthy of publication.

2. Accept and Give Help Liberally 
Our city didn't plow many streets.  I fishtailed through several side roads until I came to a plowed street where rush hour traffic competed for the blue ribbon breaking on ice award. Miles later I discovered two feet of snow-frosting covered my usual parking place.  I gunned the engine and jerked the car through the snow, convinced the car would never escape without a tow truck.  But that was a 5:00 problem.  In the meantime, we city folk pushed each other out of alleys, parking lots, and unplowed streets. Business owners left their stores to lend a hand, and high school students on their way to school pushed stuck vehicles. Some called into to work that day, some didn't even attempt to get to work. At lunch one man wouldn't let a restaurant owner help dig out his car.

1 . Follow Through


Renee Ann said...

Love the pics!

Laura S. said...

These are terrific lessons. I'm glad all the snow gave you something to think about other than stress and worry! I love the snow, though!!!

Saumya said...

Wonderful tips and such comforting pictures! I never realized how much work a novel takes until I actually started writing one and you are so right about all of these!

Casey said...

This was really good Mary. I loved how you incorrporated lessons from a local storm on writing. I love how you always use these analogies. :)

I have gotten to the point in my writing where I am just stagnant in my edits. I need someone wiser and stronger to tell me what I need to fix, which is why I have such great crit partners. :) And hopefully a coach at the beginning of the year...we'll see where God leads me. But this post has invorgated me to get back to my writing this morning. Thanks Mary!

Beth K. Vogt said...

Great appliction of real life to writing life. Now I'm craving hot chocolate!

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

I think half the fun of writing the post is finding the pics to go with it :)

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

Been in many a snow storm, you probably have too...but this one just tickled the funny bone and sprouted the writing applications.
I think the funniest ideas come from watching people:)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Ohhh, my mouth is watering after all those hot chocolate references and pictures. :) Another thing a winter storm is good for...hunkering down and writing since you can't go anywhere else.

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

I think we all continually learn the enormity of writing a novel...all the more to press on (as my college English teacher once said.

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

Sometimes I feel so blind. Especially when someone points out a "duh" thing to correct. I wonder, why didn't I see or think of that. I suppose God has blessed us beyond belief with crit partners and friends. Love those support groups.

Casey said...

So very true Mary!

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

I'm sure there is a statistic somewhere that proves hot chocolate stimulates writing creativity:)

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

I can see you now, curled on the sofa before a fire in the fireplace, sipping on hot chocolate. A sure recipe for a high word count.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great tips, Mary! I have so much to learn as a writer, I need to remember that...want to stay in that constantly learning mentality. So blessed by the help I've received. May I allow God to use these things in my life to chip away at my pride.

Angie Dicken said...

Wonderful tips, Mary! The last one resonates with me most. Sometimes I focus so much on writing it, and forget to sharpen my skills along the way.

Pepper said...

FABULOUS post, Mary. I want to reach out and grab that hot chocolate. Oh MY!! Yum, one of my favorite things to drink in winter.
Case and I have that in common. Neither one of us is a coffee drinker ;-)
But Hot Chocolate? ANYTIME!!!

And what great lessons. Whew, I was reminded yesterday about how wonderful it is to have support along the journey. I got a call from author Patti Lacy, because she knew I was struggling with the whole writing gig right now.
She was an awesome encouragement, and a God-sent reminder of many of the tips you placed on this post.

Thanks, Mary.

K.B. Owen said...

Thanks for making my work feel valued, even though you don't know me!