Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Think it, Say it, Do it...

Last week we looked at some of the characteristics Olympic champions and accomplished writers have in common, traits like desire, dedication, determination, and daring. This week, we’re looking at two words these two groups of people have in common.

Those words are I can. The word can’t isn’t even in a champion’s vocabulary. Rather, “I can” is rehearsed in their mind and spoken audibly or inaudibly, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that those words, I can, permeate the mind and heart of a champion. If that were not so, why would they put themselves on stage for all the world to see if they did not think they could maneuver the ski slopes, dance on skates, snowboard the halfpipe, all with precision, and have a good chance of coming in first? They think they can do it; they say they can do it. And then they do what it takes to make it happen.  

Did the champion’s accomplishment take hard work, practice, and perseverance? Of course. Did their making it to Sochi require commitment, along with times of pain, sweat, and tears? Yes! And once there, I’m confident the words I can played a big part in helping them get up when they fell, pushing themselves when they’d rather have rested, giving it that extra boost as they neared the finish line when they felt like they had no more to give.

How does all that apply to an accomplished writer? I’d love to be able to talk with writers like Hemingway, Christie, Grisham, and even lesser-known authors. Rows of their books on library shelves indicate they felt confident at some point in their writing endeavors that they could, indeed, do it. I’m sure there were times when doubt, fatigue, perhaps even fear, entered in; that would be natural. But the words I can won out. And they completed their race, all the way to the finishing lines of their manuscripts.  

Have you heard it said that what you think about, you talk about, and what you talk about, you bring about? I believe our words are self-fulfilling. I’ve seen it in my own life and in the lives of others. And for sure we know that if we say we can’t, then we won’t. It’s that simple.

Each athlete who went to Sochi did not win a medal while there. Even so, they are all champions in their respective sport. We know many authors whose books do not become best-sellers. Nevertheless, they are accomplished writers. What they all have in common are the words I can.

What about you? Are you one of the many who want to write a book? Are you working on a book right now? What words are going through your mind? What words are you speaking out loud and to yourself?

If you need encouragement in your writing or help in the words you are speaking to yourself, write to me at I want to see you succeed and join all those who have said, and are saying, "I can."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Olympians & Accomplished Writers, & What They Have in Common

Watching the Sochi games last month, I became acutely aware that Olympic Champions and accomplished writers have a lot in common. I came up with a list of over 80 characteristics, many synonymous, that apply. Here are five in no particular order that just happen to start with the letter “D”:

Desire. Wish, want, longing, craving, and aspiration all apply to champions, whether it's someone running a race or writing a book. Champions are personal examples of excellence or achievement; they long to be the best they can be. Somehow, through hard work and dedication, Olympic Champions and accomplished writers take their desire to the next level. They go beyond just wishing and wanting. They actually do it!

Dedication. Devoted wholeheartedly or committed to a goal, cause or job describe someone who is dedicated. Is there any question as to the commitment of the skiers, skaters, snowboarders, and hockey players we watched last month? Is there any question as to the dedication of writers who become published authors? Committed runners finish the race; committed writers finish what they've begun.

Determination. Strong-minded, resolute, gritty, single-minded, unwavering, firm, dogged, and indomitable all describe champions, whether on the playing field or at the computer pounding out word after word after word. Nothing, absolutely nothing, stands in the way of Olympic champions from doing all that is within them to reach the finish line, first! Authors whose names appear on completed manuscripts have the same kind of resolve.

Disappointment.  Frustration, even failure to attain hopes or wishes, happen in any ambition. It’s a fact of life. But it’s not the disappointment or frustration that matters in the lives of champions; what matters is that they get up from a fall and continue their skating routine; they ski in spite of illness. Will accomplished writers feel disappointment, even rejection? Of course. Will they continue to write anyway? Most definitely!

Daring. Brave, adventurous, courageous, even reckless disregard for danger describe champions. The Sochi events demanded those who were daring, even reckless, in their pursuit of greatness. An accomplished writer must be daring too. It takes courage to put yourself out there, to bare it all, so to speak. It’s risky to allow others a glimpse into your head, heart, and soul as you lay your words out there for the entire world to see.

Would you agree, Olympic Champions and accomplished writers have commonalities? In weeks to come, we’ll list a few more. As a writer, can you relate to any of the above?

If you need help getting on course to write your manuscript or staying on course once you’ve begun, write to me at I’d love to cheer you on!

Friday, February 28, 2014

How It All Began...

My Love Affair with Words

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:5, RSV

My love affair with words began many years ago, when as a little girl I sat nestled beside my father on the living room sofa, watching him work the crossword puzzle in the evening newspaper. From time to time he’d even ask my advice, as if a 5-year-old had much to offer in the way of the English vocabulary. But with enough hints on his part, I guessed a few words right.

In addition, Daddy was a speech-maker. On a few occasions, he invited me to his weekly labor union meetings, and from the audience I shot admiring glances toward the podium where he so eloquently voiced his concerns for his fellow workers. Of course, I didn’t understand much of what he said, but I was so proud.

In preparation for his speeches, Daddy literally read the dictionary, jotting down words he was not familiar with so that he could go over them again and again. To include me in the process, he marked those unfamiliar words with a little black dot and then had me list them in a little spiral notebook he carried around in his shirt pocket.

In school, English was always one of my favorite subjects from spelling bees in the elementary grades to term papers in later years. When I was a child, I enjoyed reading everything from my grandmother’s worn Bible to my mother’s recipe books. I loved comic books and Nancy Drew mysteries. Today I work with words, writing, editing, and coaching writers throughout the manuscript process. 

Daddy’s not around any longer; cancer took him at an early age. But I think he’d be proud of his daughter. I know he’d enjoy seeing some of the fruits of his labor. When he didn’t even know what he was doing, he was training up his child in the way she would go, and I have not departed from it since.

I am thankful for my father who loved words and for passing along that love to me. I am grateful, too, that he allowed me to work closely with him when neither of us had any idea of the plans my heavenly Father had for me as a woman. 

Dear Reader, do you love words too? Do you need help getting your words into print? If so, contact me at I would love to explore possibilities with you, especially if it's "Your Time to Write!"