Positive Attitudes

With the new year upon us, it is important to stay focused. Whatever our situations and circumstances, a positive attitude is vital.

I often teach about happiness and what has become exceedingly clear is this: There are seven qualities chronically unhappy people have mastered.

According to Psychology Today, University of California researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky states: “40 percent of our of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change.”

If this is true and it is, there’s hope for us all. There are billions of people on our planet and clearly some are truly happy. The rest of us bounce back and forth between happiness and unhappiness depending on the day. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

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Seasons

Seasons are stages we all go through. This article puts those periods of our lives into perspective.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is a season for every activity under heaven. I believe season is the key word in this passage. As writers, we go through seasons – seasons of struggle to find just the right words to create story, carving out the necessary time to do so, and, God willing, those moments when the words flow with seemingly little effort. But, as writers, I also believe we should impose an occasional season of inactivity.

By inactivity I don’t mean lounging on the couch to watch endless episodes of Friends or Castle or whatever shows you might default to (personally, mine would be NCIS – Mark Harmon’s Gibbs is a great character study.) Of course, my inactivity might look nothing like yours. As a type A personality, I’m riddled with guilt if I’m not accomplishing something tangible. And since my husband and I live on a large piece of property, there is no lack of work. Fortunately, most of those tasks don’t take a lot of thought. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Excuses

While this article pertains to writing, the principles can apply to other things in our lives as well.

We make so many excuses for not submitting our writing. I don’t have enough time to finish a manuscript. I’m too young. I’m too old. I’ve got too many rejections. I don’t have an agent, or I’m not good enough. Any sound familiar?

Time: We all have the same amount. We can find even fifteen minutes in a day to write something. Obligations can steal our time, and sometimes those obligations come because we can’t say no to requests to be a volunteer or be on a committee. Prioritize and choose activities wisely. Learn more.

Nancy and Kelly

One Woman’s Journey To Publication

Writing is hard work. This story is about one woman’s journey to publication.

Without a clue, I blasted into my season of writing. Words poured out of me. When I thought I had a story ready, I imagined myself as Jo from Little Women, tying her manuscript with string and sending it off to a publisher. I did the same. 

My work was done, I thought. I could move on to the next novel. The publisher would take it from there and do all the work. 

This is where we all throw our heads back and laugh. Silly, delusional girl! Read more.

Kelly and Nancy

Killing Our Darlings

In the writing process one must learn to kill the darlings. What do we mean by that?

Right after the importance of learning how to “show” versus “tell”, there’s no more vital step in the writing process than learning how and when to kill your darlings.

What I mean by “darlings” is a character, a phrase, a scene, a plot point, a running thread, etc., that you, the author, are so very much in love with that it’s blinding you to a gigantic and gigantically important fact – the darling is ruining your story. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Details

As writers, it is good to be reminded of the details in our novels. Readers can find mistakes that authors and editors often miss.

Are details important?

In more than one article critiquing the 2013 Mark Burnett/Roma Downey TV mini-series The Bible, reviewers pointed out “picky” details—Adam portrayed as a European-ish white guy, not an African or a Middle Easterner. And beardless. More than once I read remarks about the angels outfitted much like Ninja warriors.

My first thought was, Come on, people, quite being so picky.

But hold on. Read more.

Kelly and Nancy

Word Spellings

Have you ever wondered what the history of the spellings of the word ‘gray or grey’? This is an interesting read.

A reader asks,

Would you please explain the variation in spelling of the word gray vs. grey?

Short answer: gray is standard American spelling and grey is British spelling for the same color.

Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Who Is The Leader?

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. — John 12:26

When you were little, did you ever play, Follow the Leader?

The object of the game is to mimic the movements and the steps of the one who is in the front of the line. Sometimes you might have to do some crazy things, but in order to stay in the game – you must follow.

Who is a leader in your life? Read more.

Kelly and Nancy