Thursday, February 28, 2013
An article in the New York Times caught my eye with the headline, "Relax! You'll be more productive." Intriguing.
The gist of the article is that we need to rest more to increase productivity. Apparently the work-a-holics aren't as productive as those who work less hours and take the occasional vacation.
"The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy."
It gets even better. The author discusses an interesting method to writing a book. He says that his productivity has been better when he works in three 90-minute sessions with rest or restoration between sessions.
It's a good article. Read it yourself: Relax! You'll be more productive
The photo shows one of my favorite spots to rest and restore myself, my hammock. Ahh.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Look at poor Jennifer Lawrence -- she tripped while going to receive her Oscar for best actress. Being the professional she is, she recovered immediately and even made light of her predicament saying,"You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, and that's really embarrassing, but thank you."
I could relate to Jennifer. I've been known to "test gravity" myself on occasion.
Honestly, I think her oops moment only served to make her more endearing. She was relatable. Who hasn't tripped and tried to make a graceful recovery?
Here's where this ties in to writing: perfect characters have imperfections. Whether they're good or bad, the characters we create must be relatable. We like less-than-perfect people and we relate to them.
So the next time you're creating a character be sure to rub some of the polish off. Make them ordinary, and give them some minor flaws. Let them act like real people who sometimes trip or spill a drink or walk into the kitchen and forget what they're there for.
And also, if you haven't seen the movie that Ms. Lawrence was in, Silver Linings Playbook, go see it! It was one of the most satisfying movies I've seen in a long, long time.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
I think of the writing journey in much the same way. Difficult. Interesting. Uphill. Occasionally stumbling. Weary. But doable.
One of the inspiring thoughts that has motivated me for years came from a sermon I heard in the early 90s. The pastor, Robert Emmitt from Community Bible Church in San Antonio, said, "It's better to try and know for sure than to do nothing and always wonder."
If we don't act on our dreams and goals we'll never know what we could have accomplished.
What inspiring thought has gotten you to act on your dreams?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I loved everything about this book: the cover, the soft texture of the cover, the title, the era, the characters, the pacing, the beautiful and heartbreaking words.
Sigh. I've got a hangover, and I've got it bad.
Here's the blurb:
In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a "nothing mama," she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.
For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key that unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family's longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.
Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?
Saturated in Southern ambiance and written in the vein of other Southern literary bestsellers like The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, Julie Cantrell has created in Into the Free—now a New York Times Best Seller—a story that will sweep you away long after the novel ends.
I was delighted to learn there will be a sequel to Into the Free, and I can't wait for it to release!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A few years ago I refinished my old 1990s table with a beautiful coat of purple and dark brown paint.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me one bit. All the scratches and marks were from sharing meals and living life with my family over the same table that we’ve gathered around for more than 18 years.
So here’s the thing: sometimes life’s messy. In the give-and-take of living we rub up against one another. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s wonderful when family and friends step in to give you the perfect piece of advice or offer a cautionary word. I think that kind of rubbing has a polishing effect. And sometimes when we're all rubbed up, the best thing is to love in spite of the rough parts.
My table illustrated that fact to me. It’s scuffed and scratched, but still beautiful because it’s my sturdy, reliable table. I hope that the scuffed and scratched me is still as appealing to my loved ones, and I know that those I care for aren’t any less valuable because of their scuffs and scratches.
I wish you love and peace today, friends!
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I'm stumped when people lie. And when they lie about stupid things, I'm even more stumped.
Have you seen any of the Lie Witness News episodes that appear occasionally on Jimmy Kimmel Live? They're quite remarkable. He sends a camera crew out onto the street to ask people about an event that never happened, and they go on and on lying and lying.
Here's one clip of them discussing the Super Bowl a week before the event took place. Why, oh why are people compelled to make up elaborate stories to go along with the lie?
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I finished Flight of the Earls last week, and I can't stop thinking about the characters I met. Fortunately, it's the first book in a series.
Here's the blurb: When famine strikes in 1846, Clare Hanley leaves Ireland for the promise of America. But the journey isn't what scares her the most, it's the fact that her older sister and uncle emigrated five years earlier---and vanished! Arriving in New York, can she overcome her fears and a terrible secret that could destroy her family?
I so enjoyed the fast pace of this story, and I'm looking forward to reading the entire Heirs of Ireland series. It feels like one of those epic series--like Winds of War or North and South. You just want to keep reading.
I'm delighted to know the author (we're represented by the same literary agency), and Michael agreed to visit my blog.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Author Tyler Blanski is a fresh voice from the younger generation, and his newest book, When Donkeys Talk: A Quest to Rediscover the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity, has recently released. While I haven't read this one, I 'm happy to point you toward it. Check out the endorsements and reviews, and read the first few pages. I'm sure you'll be hooked.
Tyler says the book is "an invitation to dust off the wonder and awe of Jesus and his Gospel, to rediscover that we live in a world packed with the miraculous in the corners. In a way, it's a published prayer."
His prayer is that the book will encourage readers who have become jaded to fall in love with Jesus all over again, to inspire them to a deeper conversion, and to bless the weary hearted.