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Gleanings from the past week

As a new week starts, I go over a few things that struck me in my reading in the past week. These help to carry me forward ~

“Always be reading; always be writing down new ideas. Ten ideas a day.” ~ James Altucher, The Power of No.

This practice helps me to be in the moment, which is always the point of power and thus creativity. It is an exercise for the creative muscle. It is the act of writing them down, purposefully, that helps me to see these ideas that I wasn’t at all aware of existing in my mind. The first couple of days I was dismayed that I could only come up with a list of three or four, but with persistence, I’m now listing eight to ten. It’s a lot of fun. Reminds me of the practice that I learned early on to make written lists of everything that could happen next in a scene. Working the creative muscle makes it stronger. Do it on purpose.

“When I want to read a good book, I write one.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli, as quoted in Eric Maisel’s book, Living the Writer’s Life.

“Truly profound power and peace lie in the ability to change my behavior to suit my needs.” ~ Anonymous.

Any of you have some interesting gleanings from the week?


Gleanings from the Week Past

“Because a song, a book, a play, a picture or anything created was gay it did not necessarily follow that it was trivial. It might well be, mused Mrs. Baily, gazing into the moving sunshine with unseeing eyes, a finer thing, because it had been fashioned with greater care and artifice; emotion remembered and translated to give pleasure, rather than emotion remembered and evincing only an involuntary and quite hideous howl.” ~ Miss Read, Thrush Green

I’m reading all the Miss Read books. I need comfort reading right now, and what her character says is exactly true.

“In every aspect of life, it’s easy to let fear influence our decisions.” ~ Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Pen On Fire

These days I examine my motives. Fear is there 99% of the time. Whenyou see it, you can make a conscious decision to set fear aside. One big fear for me is taking precious time for myself to write, when my mother or grandchildren, or anyone else, might need me. And someone always seems to need me. I’m practicing listening to what is right for me to do, and very often it is simply to write.

“Pain is a central part of a writer’s education. Pain is inevitable, as you discover that this piece must be rebuilt from the foundation up, that that piece is dead in the middle, that this third piece is a beautiful idea rottenly executed. Since pain is inevitable, fear it a little less.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

Pain is a part of all life. It seems the oddest thing to me now, but for much of my life I would go to great lengths to avoid pain, as if I believed, and yes, I did, that one could avoid pain, or at least minimize it. I did not realize that by attempting to live without pain, I was only half-alive. Now when I look back, I realize that my best writing occurred when I went headlong, my emotions carrying me beyond fear of looking foolish or being hurt.

Accept pain as part and parcel of living and writing, and suddenly it isn’t so fierce some. It is equally true that all things pass, and pain most of all when faced. Keep writing right through it.

It would be great for any of you to post what you are reading, and what gems you’ve found helpful.


Gleanings from What I’ve Been Reading

“Learning by doing is especially important. There is more to be learned from writing a bad novel than from attending twenty good novel-writing workshops…And to do that writing, a writer needs inner permission to write.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

Giving myself permission to be the writer has been my life’s challenge. The world and family pull me in many directions. To be a writer requires dedication, commitment to the craft, even to the exclusion of loved ones at times.

“She walked into her empty sitting room and closed the door behind her the better to relish that sweet solitude which to her was the breath of life.” ~ Miss Read, No Holly for Miss Quinn.

Miss Read’s novels are a haven. They appear deceptively simply, yet these novels continue to be published today, providing wisdom, comfort, and joy.

“To endure is the first thing a child ought to learn, and that which he will have the most need to know.” ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, author of Pygmalion

To endure is the first thing a writer must learn, too.


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