Thursday, December 06, 2007


Chuckle of the day: I went out to the blog to see what words of wisdom awaited and saw no Thursday post yet. Then it clicked: it's my turn to blog today! Yikes! Well, I thought I was getting my little corner of the world under control. Obviously, I need to work on that some more.

OK, now for those words of wisdom. Wait, they'll be arriving any moment. While we're waiting for those wise words to arrive, I'm going to venture into Alice's area of expertise. (And, no, I'm not being facetious -- I love listening to Alice and always learn so much. So thank you, Alice, for sharing your wisdom and experiences with us. I very much appreciate it!) How about everyone else: what is the best advice you ever received?

I like these:

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with B.S." Or, "Fake it until you make it."

Is it working yet?

On the more serious side, I've tried to take these pieces of advice to heart:

"If you resist changing something about yourself, that's the thing you need to change the most."

"There's a lesson in every situation if we are open to it."

"Fake it until you make it," which was actually said in a different context than the same advice above by someone who was advocating visualization. She suggested seeing yourself as who you want to be and feeling the emotions of achieving your goals until you actually get there.

As for writing advice, I think my all-time favorite goes something like this: "This is MY way of writing. Use what works for you and don't worry about the rest..." followed by writing strategies, suggestions, and those golden gems of wisdom that bring aha moments.

And perhaps I should close with an appropriate bit of wisdom: "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow!"


Genene said...

And I really like Alice's idea of commenting first so you can click the box to have comments come to your e-mail. Another great piece of advice!

Paty Jager said...

Yes! Alice is full of wisdom and since we started this chapter blog, I believe I have gleaned a piece of wisdom from every blogger and some of the commenters.

My favorite words of wisdom is" "A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." Richard Bach

And one from Snoopy- "I love to hear an editor beg."

Fun Blog, Genene!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oh, Genene, this is so timely for me.

I went to yoga this morning and at the end of the class they have veg-out time (or what they call rest and positive affirmations). Needless to say, it took me several classes to see the beauty in this rest time: Five minutes where you do nothing but lay on your mat, close your eyes, listen to peaceful instrumental music and try to find your center. (Yeah, yeah, it was a little new-age for me at first, but now I love it!). Anyway, today, while I was lying there trying not to think of the ten-thousand things I have to do today, the instructor read today's affirmation:

"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
--Henry Ford

Wow. It just totally hit me. And so very true when it comes to our writing. That quote right there was worth the body pretzel twists I put myself into for a full hour.

Karen Duvall said...

Great blog, Genene. 8^) Advice is great and I'm always open to it. I may not always follow it, but I always keep an open mind.

"It isn't a lie if you believe it." George Constanza, Seinfeld

I'm not sure that's advice, but I like what it means, especially as it applies to writing fiction. Fiction is all about writing lies, but doing it in such a way that it's believable.

Also, I like the saying that's on one my hero's many t-shirts:
Love thy neighbor. Just don't get caught.

Eli, I've been curious about trying yoga, but the idea of pretzelizing my body makes me cringe. Still, I should try it. I understand it's great for relieving stress as well as toning muscles.

Alice Sharpe said...

I have been way too pithy lately and intend to stop!

Cherry Adair hit me with a couple of suggestions at the Seattle conference that I'm finding useful. One was to mention something important in your book three times. I had a teacher friend who used to do this with her students (and sometimes when talking with me.) For example, "Alice, you talk too much." then, "Did you know recent studies have revealed there is a tendency with writers named Alice to talk too much?" and lastly, "Your throat must be dry after all that talking." I got it the first time, but old habits die hard.

Back to Cherry. She said, If the necklace a character is wearing figures heavily into the plot, then when she plans her book (and I gather she plans her books very thoroughly) she plots three separate incidences around the necklace. She said (and I am wildly paraphrasing her) the first time the hero sees it, the woman wearing it is emerging naked from a swimming pool. She mentions it in another context later, and eventually it's revealed the necklace is something that keeps the wearer from escaping and at the last, is used as a weapon to trap the bad guy (I think). Sounds like an old Star Trek episode! I love it.

She said the number three was arbitrary for her. I think it's a good number and while this planting clues thing is something I've been doing without thinking much about it, now I have this three in my head and it kind of helps!

I like what you said, Genene, about how you have to understand any writing advice is subjective. And Snoopy's words of wisdom are priceless. Dare to dream.

Alice Sharpe said...

Eli, thanks for sharing that quote! I love that.

And yes, the old burned hand is doing okay and I can type! Now all I have to do is get through the afterlife of the codeine.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better, Alice. Though codeine isn't conducive for writing, I'm sure.

Karen, definitely try yoga. The one I go to is sort of a cross between yoga and pilates, two times per week, but I really like it. I'm the most inflexible person on the planet (my running partner told me it's because we run, ROFL) and most of the 60-yr old women in the class can twist themselves into knots way better than I can, but since I've been doing this class I've noticed my balance is better, I'm more flexible and I have a lot more strength in my legs and shoulders. And hey, it's more fun than lifting weights. It IS also really good for managing stress. Just that five minutes alone where you're not required to do anything but lie there makes a huge difference in my day.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Alice, I love the repeat-three-times thing. So often I'll read a book and something important will be mentioned only one miniscule time (like the necklace thing) and by the end of the book I'm scratching my head thinking, what the heck? I'm gonna make a point to try it.

Barbara said...

I collect little bits of wisdom as I visit blogs, websites and books and compile them in a Quotes file on my computer desktop. I won't bore you with them all, but here's one I found on Jerry Waxler's blog, Memory Writers Network, 11-27-07:

"It's a vast ever-changing world, and one that makes no sense whatsoever, until we create the stories that bring us all together."

That's what we're in the business of doing. Be proud!

Genene said...

Paty, I love the Snoopy quote! Where have I been that I missed that one?

Eli, good for you for taking yoga. I got me a yoga video and practiced faithfully for the first week or so, then used it less and less. This is a good reminder to dust it off and start using it again. It's a beginner's tape, so there aren't even too many pretzel-like poses! And I usually fell asleep during the five minutes at the end. Love the quote and found it so true!

Interesting quotes, Karen! It could be a fun writing exercise to put a new spin on well-known quotes.

Alice, please don't stop being pithy! I wasn't kidding when I said I really enjoy your words of wisdom and learn a lot from you. I think your teacher just didn't want you to steal her thunder! Sorry about the burned hand and I'm glad it's better, even if the codeine is still sloshing around in your system. Ick!

Like Eli, I'm intrigued by Cherry Adair's "three times" way of pointing out the importance of a detail in a story. Another nice tool to tuck in the old writer's toolbox.

Good quote, Barbara! I like the idea that writing is a way of making sense out of this world. Or of explaining the "why" of things. I remember making up outrageous explanations for things when my kids were younger and the question "why" came out of their mouths every five minutes. At least it stoppped them for a few minutes while they figured out if I was telling them the truth or making something up!

Thanks for joining in, everyone. Words do have such an impact on our lives. As Barbara said, be proud!

Danita Cahill said...

Ah, Genene. Words to live by!

Danita Cahill said...


I love the "veg-out" time after yoga. It reminds me of something I once heard. "The most important note in a piece of music is the silence which follows the last note."