Writing Tip: Schedule Time to Write

“You gotta make it a priority to make your priorities a priority.” ―Richie Norton

We often say that we are too busy to write, but the truth is, we haven’t made it a priority. We don’t have to spend hours writing, or even complete a chapter a day if that’s not where you are right now. But if you are able to schedule time to write, you’ll find that you’ll make progress. So, whether you’re a morning person and can get fifteen minutes in before you head to work, or you prefer to come home and spend thirty minutes on the computer after dinner, schedule time to write. Put words onto the page. They don’t have to be very good, but they do have to be there. You can edit bad writing, you can’t edit a blank page. So schedule time and start writing. 

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Writing Tip:

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee

When you set out to write, one of the best things for you to learn is how to take criticism. To do that, you need to listen and take notes. Hear what’s being said and understand if and how it’s applicable to not just what you’re writing, but how you write. Use the criticism to become a better write, but be careful of the source. Early in my career, back before computers, I was looking for a job and had sent out resumes by mail. One person sent it back, having circled all the errors. No other comments were made though. I was younger and was hurt by the situation instead of seeing it for what it was: someone with too much time on their hands. Contrast that to when I was writing my second book, Stepmothers Anonymous. I asked my sister to read and comment on it. And she did. She had plenty to say. I had to rewrite several portions of the book. But here’s the thing, I’ve been able to use her comments not just for that book, but for the subsequent ones I have written. So embrace critiques and use them to better yourself and your craft.

Merry Christmas!

Time and time again over the next few hours, Joseph had to quell his instinct to protect Mary. She had become his other half, as Heli said, and to hear her suffering was more than he could bear. Joseph began to pray; however, the words were barely out of his mouth when he heard another cry, a different one: it was the cry of a babe, a newborn. Struck by the sound of it, Joseph stood up and made his way to the stall where he left Mary. There he found his wife, sitting on the stool. She was dressed in her undergarments only; her legs were uncovered and there was blood on the nearby straw; yet she was wearing the biggest smile he had ever seen. She gazed up at him and that’s when he noticed the bundle in her arms.

Her son, he thought, then corrected himself: their son…the Mashiac. Apprehension gripped his heart once again.

Mary moved the blanket away from the child’s face as Joseph stepped closer to her. Reminding himself of his father-in-law’s words, he took in a deep breath and knelt beside Mary. She leaned into him, so he could take a closer look at the boy. He was small, pink and wrinkled, with a head full of black hair.

“Isn’t he beautiful?” Mary whispered.

Having been struck speechless, all Joseph could do was nod. Foolishly, he had imagined the child would be born with the full wisdom of a man and the knowledge of his destiny. And maybe somewhere in his consciousness, the babe was aware of it. For now, though, he was simply a child, perfect in shape and form, just as G-d created him. He would fulfill his calling in time; until then, Joseph would accomplish his and be the boy’s father.

“What will you call him?” the woman asked.

“Jesus,” he replied, gently stroking the child’s head.

(Excerpt from Full of Grace).

Merry Christmas!

Writing Tips For Writing Your Memoir

“I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.” Lena Waithe

Everyone has a story tell. How you do so is up to you. But if you plan on writing it, here are a few tips to help you:

Define your theme. Ask yourself: What will readers take away from my story? What will they learn from reading it? Common themes include lessons about accepting change, dealing with loss, overcoming addiction, surviving abuse, impressions from an era, valuing friendships and relationships.

Look at it from a distance and put it into the shape of a story. Take time to outline your story. Use a timeline. You don’t have to start on the day of your birth. Focus on an event, or series of events, and interweave the theme through it. Leave out scenes that don’t add to the flow of the narrative.

Don’t concern yourself about other people’s feelings. Remember, you are telling your story, your truth. While you cannot slander people, you can tell your side of what happened to you.

Lastly and most importantly, if you’re taking the time to write it, take the time to learn the art of storytelling so you can tell your story well. Learn how to show and how to tell. Learn how to re-create yourself as a character. Learn how to write dialogue, plot scenes and sequels, and how to describe what happened to you. It’s a small price that will yield a high return–your audience finding themselves in your story.

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#RuthReads and the Art of Filmmaking

I started a video series earlier this year that I’ve actually kept going. It’s called #RuthReads, and it’s just me reading a short excerpt from one of my books or one of the books I’m reading.

Now I say, ‘actually,’ because I usually avoid the camera, but I’ve kept doing this because I love reading, love sharing the books I read with others and have actually learned a new skill.

My husband is a photojournalist and I’ve often watched him edit videos. Not that I ever thought, “Oh, that looks easy,” but when I started doing this, I did think, “I’m a graphics person. I can just take a video with my phone and marry the two on Adobe Premiere. I can make this work. This will be great!” And because I am the type of person who learns by doing, I downloaded the program and started mimicking what I saw him do.

They say, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” but I’m here to tell you it’s not always the most effective way learning. There’s a lot of trial and error (mostly error), but like I said, I made it work … mostly because I’m reading about the program now instead of pushing buttons until I get it to do what I need it to do <insert sheepish smile>. I’m not going to be switching careers any time soon, but it’s nice to be able to say I can do something new, even if it’s at the most very elementary level.

This is my latest video. You can catch the others on my social media feed. I try to post weekly.

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Writing Tip: Show, Don’t Tell

“In descriptions of Nature, one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when the reader closes his eyes he gets a picture.” Anton Chekhov.

This quote by the Russian playwright, and variations of it, became the basis for the ‘Show, don’t tell’ technique used in various kinds of storytelling. ‘Show, don’t tell’ describes writing by showing the actions and relationships and feelings instead of just telling the reader what happened. It allows the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings, describing the scene in such a way that the reader can draw his or her own conclusions.

So what can you do to implement ‘show, don’t tell’ in your writing?

  • Use the character’s five senses.
  • Use strong verbs.
  • Avoid adverbs.
  • Be specific.
  • Use dialogue.
  • Focus on actions and reactions.

This technique applies equally to nonfiction and fiction, including poetry, speech, film and plays and public speaking. Think about how you can show your audience what you want to share with them; and by doing so, you will keep a captivated audience that will stick with you to the end.

#ruthegriffin #studiogriffin #reader #writer #publisher #selfpublisher #selfpublishing #writingtips #publishingtips #writingprocess #journaling #creativesuccess #storyteller #quotes