Monday, December 30, 2013

Pearls of Wisdom

By Keith N Fisher

Do you sit in classrooms, chapels, and lecture halls and spout sarcastic humor? It’s usually something smart allecky in regard to what is being taught? I do. Sometimes I can’t control myself.

I’m not trying to disrupt. Really I’m not. I take everything seriously, but sometimes being serious is too . . . well . . . serious. Levity is like sugar and we all know what a spoonful of sugar does.

Sometimes when my pearls of wisdom come out funny, I get a laugh from people next to me, sometimes not. Other times, it’s a dirty look. I wonder if people think I do it for the attention.

Every week here on the blog, I try to write something wise for you to read. Most times, my words hit the mark. They’re pearls of wisdom. Other times, not s
o much. Today, I have no wise cracks. I was late, so I’ll post later in the week.

I hope you’re enjoying the holidays. Hope your writing is going well. Good luck with it—see you next week.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

As the New Year approaches . . .

by C. Michelle Jefferies

My newsfeeds, email, newsletters and blog rolls are full of them.

Resolutions and goals, and all sorts of things associated with the new year rolling around.

Do they make you feel guilty? They do me.

I have been in search of direction and balance for years. It is a thing that eludes me and causes all sorts of guilt and stress in my life. Last year my word of the year was balance. And while I achieved some, I still felt guilty almost every time I thought of the word and the things I was associating with it.

It's been a hectic year. From tons of medical problems and financial stressors to discovering that someone I thought was a serious friend was a fake, my year was a long slow torturous trip through the netherworld. Every moment of this year seemed to throw me more and more out of synch with my idea of who I am and especially my vision who I wanted to be. Often times I was grateful I made it through the day and my only thought as I collapsed into my bed at night was that I hoped to survive the next day as well. My search for balance was making my life harder than it needed to be. What was I supposed to do? Not making goals seemed to be a great alternative.

But the thought of meandering through life without a goal in sight seemed to evoke images of wandering through a overgrown jungle without a map or a machete.

I happened upon a blog post a few weeks ago which basically said that instead of searching for balance, which actually deprives us of life's ups and downs, we should instead search for alignment.
I am in the process of reading several blog posts about self care and things like visualizing success instead of just setting a goal and then worrying about it. I hope to delve into these thoughts as we progress through the year.

So what does it mean to be in alignment instead of seeking balance?

Show me one road on this planet that doesn't turn and curve on its way to its destination. Sure we're still going in the direction of where we want to, or need to go, but what good is the ride if you don't enjoy the scenery? What is the fun of walking a straight line when your focus is on making sure that everything on both sides of you at that exact moment is equal. Show me one river that doesn't meander. Show me one dance, painting, piece of music or story that doesn't have a natural ebb and flow.

We as humans weren't made for balance, we were made to twist and turn, to be high and low, to love and hate all within moments of the other. It's what we are. It's what defines us as being alive. It's enjoying the turns and variances on that road to wherever we're going.

For me this next year, I will be bucking the thought of balance, instead I will be making sure I am in alignment with my end of the year expectations and will remind myself to enjoy the detours that life naturally takes.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Three Hundred Eighty-Four and Counting

By Keith N Fisher

Yes, I’m late, but I’ve been wondering if anybody really reads my posts anyway. I was trying to think of something to write and I opened my writing projects computer file. In the place where I keep my blog posts and realized it’s been a long time.

I began to post here in 2006, during the time we all started blogging to help our careers. By we, I mean all the writers I know. Blog posting and social media were deemed vital to our promotion efforts. In other words, we needed to do it if we wanted to be somebody.

For more than seven years, I’ve been posting once a week minus a few times I missed and plus a couple times I posted two blogs. I did the math and here’s the equation.

I wrote 44 posts in 2013 + 28 posts in 2006 + (52 weeks a year x 6 years) =

44 + 28 + (52 x 6) =

72 + 312 = 384 posts.

It’s been fun, sometimes wild, always educational. I usually write in retrospect, talking about something I learned during the week, using metaphors. I’ve learned that life reflects our occupation. The subject of writing correctly, lends itself to many object lessons.

I’ll keep posting here, I’ve been doing it too long to stop now. Hopefully, I can make a small contribution of writing help, or at least help someone realize they aren’t alone in this crazy avocation called writing.

Until next week then,

Saturday, December 14, 2013


By Keith N Fisher

Over the years, I’ve written about some of the places I’ve written while sitting behind the wheel of my vehicle. I talked about waiting for a sunrise on the roof of a parking garage. I’ve talked about writing in the parking lot, waiting for a coffee shop to open. What can I say? I get inspiration while propping my laptop between my chest and the steering wheel.

I’ve noticed my surroundings, sometimes, get written into the story, too. Once, I wrote a snowstorm into a scene, while watching it through windshield wipers. I can describe buildings and people while watching them in the comfort of my vehicle and it helps to have a first hand perspective.

I sat in a coffee shop once, watching two young lovers meet, greet, and interact. I opened a new document and wrote it as I saw it. I’ve used pieces of that scene in many of my books since. I’ve re-watched videos and written scenes from the inspiration. No, I’m not stealing scenes. I’m expanding other people’s work and making it better.

For a while now, since I work at night, I’ve had the pleasure of giving my daughter a ride home from school. I get up early, drive to the school, and write while waiting for the bell to ring. People come and go, cars are on display, humanity parades in front of me. Sometimes I’m too caught up in my story to notice, but other times I watch my new character walk past and get into a car.

I get several pages written while waiting, but I’ve got a complaint. There are many visitors parking spaces, why do they let students park their cars in them? Often, lately, I have to park on the outskirts of the lot, write for a while then drive over to pick up my daughter as she comes out of the building.

When I think of places to write and the advantages of observation with each, I think of reporters of the past. Have you ever listened to the narration of the Hindenburg disaster? That man was eyewitness to the horror, and he had the presence of mind to talk about it. Can you imagine a reporter with a laptop, covering Custer’s last stand? Can you see the benefit of writing in place?

If you are writing a mystery set in an old Victorian house, perhaps you could take your laptop and write it there. I write a lot of restaurant scenes because I write in restaurants and coffee shops.

I know, there are times when you can’t write in place. I passed an old house in a farmer’s field while traveling to Canada once. I had to stop and check it out because it was the house my characters were remodeling in my book. I couldn’t delay the family trip while I wrote, so I took several pictures. Later I used them to describe the house.

Take notes, live with your eyes open. Most importantly, write with your eyes open. Listen to your senses, and write it down.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

And, Here We Go Again

By Keith N Fisher

I caught a glimpse of one of those morning news shows the other day. They were going to commercial, and the host said, coming up, Our interview with the best selling author . . . The statement caught my attention, but I missed who the author was. I waited, wondering who it could be. Perhaps it was one of my local, writer friends. Maybe a famous, national market writer offering insights to me, and other writers.

The author turned out to be Ann Romney, wife of the formal presidential candidate. "Here we go again," I thought. Thousands of writers sweat blood every day, hoping for a contract, and another famous person gets published.

Yes, I know, I’ve bored you with this subject before. It’s sour grapes and I need to let it go, but as before, I wonder, would she be published if she wasn’t married to a politician? Her book was marketable or the publisher wouldn’t print it, but is it selling because it’s good, or because she’s famous?

I think I’ve missed the boat. You see, I thought the secret was to write the best book I can. Also, I know that branding myself and paying it forward is vital, but it’s actually easier than I thought. All I need is fame. I need to do something spectacular then, submit my writing.

Good luck with your hard work—See you next week.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013



There's something about the scene above that always makes my interest pique, my heartbeat speed up ever so slightly, and expands something inside my body and soul. It's a pleasantly uncomfortable feeling.

There's something about a blank notebook - those pristine pages, waiting - just waiting - for me to fill them with adventure, drama, possibly the most epic adventure ever read! I can't leave them there on the shelf, begging to be filled with romance, journeys to unknown lands, and heroes that don't know they are yet.

So I buy one. Or two. Ten or thirteen if the price is good. I take them home, and I choose one whose cover-color or design speaks to me. I open it, breathing in that new paper smell (and wonder how it can smell so wonderful when the paper-mill in my home-town stinks so badly!)  My eyes roam over that white panorama of undiscovered possibilities like Catherine and Heathcliff over the moors, taking in every corner, every dimple, every line.
But then, just before my pen touches that pristine page...

A paralyzing fear stops me cold.

It is a strange terror, mixed with longing. The moment that ink stains that paper, I am beyond the point of no return. I will have spoiled that page. I will have committed it to a fate that may not live up to all those imagined possibilities.

I may fail.

Sometimes I simply can't overcome it, and I put the pen down - a last minute governor's reprieve for the notebook.

Sometimes, I am brave. I mark that paper. I ruin it. I limit its future.

Sometimes I fail.

But sometimes, every glorious once in a while, that moment of ruination results in something fantastic! Sometimes, the possibilities get wider, the adventure gets more exciting, the romance more breathtaking, and a hero emerges even I hadn't counted on.

That's why I can't pass a stationery aisle without at least a passing glance.

Because at least for that moment, the possibilities there are endless!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

It's your choice . . .

by C. Michelle Jefferies

About halfway through November it became obvious that we were going to be having Thanksgiving dinner at our house. It seemed like a no brainer at the time. A two hour drive for most of the participants rather than a four hour or six hour drive to the other potential dinner place. About half way through the massive 'deep clean the house and prepare dinner for lots of people' I started thinking "What did I get myself into?"

There was food to assign, buy, plan, and prepare. Dishes, table cloths, and napkins to be washed. Decorations to make and projects for the little ones to plan.

To be honest, I was feeling a little overwhelmed.

As I finished the centerpiece project with my little guys I stood back, admired the leaf adorned mason jars and imagined how they'd look on my table with the china and crystal goblets.  The image of the table graced in elegant dishes and food made me smile. I made a decision right there and then. To have a positive outlook about the situation I was in. The one I'd willingly put myself in.

The dinner was perfect, the food was wonderful, the table looked stunning. Everyone was happy and content. The effort and attitude I put into the event paid off. Even when I looked at the pile of dirty dishes in the sink the memories of the amazing dinner overrode the thoughts of the clean up.

The question is, do we apply the same principals in our writing?

Do we look at our time writing as drudgery? Instead of it being time to be creative and let our muse flow with amazing ideas?

Do we dread the editing process? Instead of looking at it as the opportunity to make the story better?

Do we avoid things like writing synopsis, query's and submitting for fear of rejection?     

Whether we treat our writing as a job or a hobby, do we approach it with a feeling of happiness or dread?

A wise friend reminds me from time to time that "we get what we give." That if we want a good experience that a lot of it depends on our frame of mind and intent going into it. For example, if we sit at the computer to write dreading writers block, or revision we're going to most likely have a negative experience. Or, if we sit at the computer or send off a submission with a positive attitude we will have a much better experience.

What is your choice?

~The path to wisdom is not always straight.