Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Writing Impacts My Life

To say that writing has impacted my life is probably too obvious to even mention. But how it affects my life is well worth discussing, I think. Here are the main 8 ways that writing has, and still does, impact my life.

1. Writing helps me make sense of my life. Everything I write has a little (or a lot) of me in it. Don't spend too much time analyzing and guessing what aspects of my work pull elements from my real life, because you'll likely be confused and guess wrong. But the fact of the matter is that I pour a little of myself into everything I write, and it all has special meaning for me. Through the course of the stories and development of characters, or even just the way I describe something, I find a little more meaning and sense in the world that is my real life.

2. Writing is one way that I connect to other people. Through my stories, I can share a little of myself that I may not otherwise divulge. My husband often claims to better understand the workings of my mind after reading a new story I have written.

3. Writing helps me say what I want to say. I'm not always the most eloquent person, but I have a lot I want to say. I love crafting those messages into stories that not only tell my message, but illustrate it in such a way that it, hopefully, comes alive for people. I want to make the world a better place.

4. Writing is my most consistent hobby. Through the years, I really can't think of many things that I have consistently stuck with. I do crochet, but otherwise, my hobbies change regularly and may never see a rekindling in months and years to follow. Writing is the one major exception. I have been writing stories and poems since I was in elementary school. I'll write a novel, then edit and re-edit it even if I don't think anyone else will ever read it. I get absorbed in my books and characters, and it is truly an enjoyable experience.

5. Writing lets me use words, which I love. Ever since I was a baby, I have loved words. I love it when I find the perfect word to convey the precise meaning and connotation that I am trying to share. I love it when a phrase makes me ponder or see something in a new way. I seek to create some of my own ponder-able statements.

6. Writing helps me relieve stress. At times, when I have faced a particularly aggravating situation, writing about it in the context of a fictional story, and letting the characters work it out, helps me see the situation from a different perspective. Often, it's the key to calming my emotions and seeing the solution. And no one gets hurt.

7. Writing is always a great conversation starter. If you write and have ever talked to someone about it, it's likely that you've often heard one of two things: "I'm also writing a book" or "I know someone who is writing a book". It's astounding how many people write. Taking the time to take genuine interest in other people's literary pursuits always leads to fascinating conversations and builds friendships.

8. Writing is just a whole lot of fun. What else can I say. I write because I love it. I can't count how many hundreds of hours I have devoted to writing. And I have loved ever minute of it. It is challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Even if I'm the only person who ever reads some of the things I've written, it was, in my opinion, time well spent.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Favorite Non-Fiction Books

This is my list of favorite non-fiction books. They make the list if I found them to be BOTH useful or educational AND entertaining. I'll be honest, I don't read a whole lot of non-fiction books, so the list is a little short, but here it is.

POP! by Sam Horn- This book is ll about how to come up with POP! out, get-your-attention titles, taglines, and marketing slogans. It's incredibly useful and helpful in addition to being a great read with lots of humorous and intriguing examples.

Me Inc. by Scott W. Ventrella- All about running your own life based on principles of successful businesses. It's interesting and insightful, and draws amazing parallels showing that truths remains constant through all venues it is applied to.

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card - Since I primarily write speculative fiction, this was a great resource, though it is useful for tips on good story telling and writing in general. It is written in an interesting and engaging manner that makes it an enjoyable read.

Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicolas Sparks and Micah Sparks - This is the autobiography of Nicolas Sparks (one of my favorite authors). I love reading the story of how other authors "came to be", if you will.

The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood - This book looks at true life stories of people who have survived unthinkable circumstances in an effort to quantify what makes some people better at surviving than others, and how you can be a better survivor.

The E-Myth Revised by Michael E. Gerber - This is a great book about the problems most entrepreneurs and new businesses suffer from, and what to do about them. Being an entrepreneur, reading this book was like talking to someone who knew all my biggest business secrets.

The Other Side of Heaven by John H. Groberg - This is the exciting, humorous, and poignant tale of a Mormon missionary sent to Tonga and the adversity he faces, things he learns, and ways his life is changed as he helps others. Disney made a pretty good movie of this about ten years ago, but, of course, the book is better.

The Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss - This is a great book for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, but terrible for anyone trying to fight the independence urge.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Little Reader

How do you instill a love of books and reading in children?

I thinks it starts from when they are the tiniest of little babies. I started reading to my daughter, Allie, when she was just a few weeks old and haven't stopped. She is a year-and-a-half now and she loves books. She's gone through different phases along the way. Sometimes she would really let me read to her, and other times she wanted to turn the pages so fast that I could hardly get past two or three words per page, but I always tried to follow her pace and let her be involved. I think that really helped. I never want reading to be a frustrating experience for her.

Here's Allie reading in her rocking chair. The bookcase is close enough that she can grab books and keep reading (or at least turning pages) for a long time. They all end up on the floor before it's over, but Allie has a great time.

Amazingly, Allie spends more time looking at books than she spends playing with any other toys. She even likes to carry a book around with her when she's playing outside.

I read to Allie, and I take her to story time at the library nearly every week. After story time, she chooses several new books to check out and take home.

I really hope she continues to love books as she get older and starts actually reading on her own.

What have you found helps to instill and encourage a love of reading as children get older?