Tuesday, July 2, 2019

One Easy Step to Improve Your Writing This Summer

With summer in full swing, the Independence Day celebration days away, there is a way to keep your writing skills sharp while having a BLAST.

Family gatherings. Beach trips. Fireworks. Laughing. Sand in toes. Barbecue. Great food. Sticky fingers. Messy little faces. Giggles. Sandcastles. Bike rides. AND MORE.

THIS is a moment to savor. Remember last years?

If you can spare five minutes you can follow this easy step to improve your writing.

Some time during the day, even if it is at night before you sleep, or morning with coffee, turn to the next blank sheet of paper or blank screen. In the spirit of summer, treat this moment as fun. No editing. All fun. No due date. Think about one isolated moment from the day. Something that brought a smile inside. Something that made you giggle. Something that touched your heart. Brought a tear. Write down what happened. Five minutes.

If nothing from the day stands out, dig back to your youth. Here is mine:

My parents took my sisters and I to the county fair. I was eight years old. One booth had balloons attached to a wall. The man shouted out to the crowds, "Break four in a row and win a prize!" Stuffed animals of all sizes sat on a high shelf above the balloons. I begged my mom to let me try to win a prize. Dad handed money to the man.

The man set four darts on the counter in front of me then called out to others passing by. "Come everyone. Break four in a row and win a prize." 

I picked up one dart. Behind me, music played from the carousel. I eyed the bear on the top shelf then the red balloon wagging in the breeze with fifty others and threw the dart. POP.

"The little lady broke a balloon. Come see. Come win a prize." The man shouted to the crowd.

I picked up the second dart, aimed at the blue balloon, and threw. POP.

"The little lady broke a second balloon. She can't possibly break a third. Step right up. Get four darts and try your luck. Win a prize!"

My mom leaned close. "See that pink duck?" She pointed. You could win that. Wouldn't that be nice?"

The pink duck was for babies. I wanted the bear. I picked up the third dart, aimed at the yellow balloon, and threw. POP.

"Honey, the pink duck is almost yours." 

"She broke a third balloon! She's broken three. Don't worry, little lady, you'll win a small prize even if you don't break the fourth. Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen, and get your darts. Try to win a prize."

"The pink duck would be nice, honey."

"She won't break the fourth balloon." The man said to my mom.

I rarely ever caught a ball. I rarely ever tossed anything where it belonged. My eyes couldn't see like most people's eyes. An eye surgery at age five didn't fix the problem. If that fourth balloon broke, well, it wouldn't be because of my aim.

I looked up at that bear then picked up the fourth dart.

"She's broken three balloons. Can she break the fourth? I don't think so. Step right up. Come see the little lady try to break the fourth balloon. Get your darts and try to win a prize."

The green balloon wobbled in the breeze. I drew my arm back. The carousel's music blared behind me. Kids laughed. 

"Hurry. Hurry. Get your ice cream. Get your ice cold ice cream."

The dart flew away from my hand. The green balloon shifted to the left.

"Get your four darts. Win a prize."


My five minutes ended.

While cleaning the house for family visitors yesterday, I listened to recordings of this year's Blue Ridge Writer's Conference. The tip I shared today is from the session taught by Bob Hostetler's class on writing well.

It's your turn. Take five minutes.

Perhaps you are asking why? What are the benefits to these five minutes.

These five minutes are a source of great ideas. Thoughts. Expressions. Descriptions. Feelings. True senses from every aspect. Invaluable tools for your future stories and WIP.

Would you like to know what happened next at the balloon stand? Okay. Here it is.

"You won the pink duck, honey!" said my mom.

The man left his perch and walked to me. "The little lady won a prize!" He leaned closer. "What would you like?"

Mom put her arm around me and pointed to the pink duck. "Tell him you want that one."

The man didn't look at my mom. "You can pick the prize you want, little lady. What will it be?"

"I....want....the bear."

That bear visited school for show and tell the next day. Sat in my bedroom for years. Moved to my new home when I married. And became the favorite stuffed animal for my children. 

Yup. This was a true story.

~Mary Vee
Photo taken in Venice, by Mary Vee

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Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Paula Shreckhise said...

Great advice! Great story. And memories!

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

Thank you, Paula. So nice to see you here on the Alley. :)