Exciting, But Simple

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Rules-headerA blog for fiction writers and impending writers. An editor’s perspective.

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Exciting, But Simple.

I’m not sure if there’s a sage in the world who can teach the secrets of exciting writing. If they can’t, I certainly can’t either.

I happen to believe that writers, like ball players, concert cellists and chess masters, are born into this world fully equipped with the ability to succeed. Some will never have the chance or the perseverance to fully explore or hone our true talents. Others will spill blood, sweat and tears, but never catch that lucky break. (Sorry, yeah, it’s about luck, too.) Sometimes, good writers simply encounter bad timing. Or the wrong agent, or editor, or the wrong publisher. And don’t think I haven’t lost a sleepless night or two fretting about that last quandary. I have.

And sometimes, the most diligent of souls, the sweetest of people, simply aren’t good enough. Almost, but not quite. The world is filled with manuscripts, piled high in milk crates crammed into back corners of countless closets. As my grandmother used to say, “You can’t make a Ferrari out of a Studebaker.”

She’s right. But the biggest tragedy is never knowing. Never trying. The world may indeed be overladen with Studebakers pretending to be Ferraris, but I suspect the world has its fair share of idling Ferraris, glumly assuming they’re Studebakers. These are the writers who’ll never allow themselves the chance to experience themselves flying balls out down that literary speedway of life. And that’s a shame.

As hopeful authors, most of us are capable of crafting and honing our mechanical abilities—we can read creative writing books, we can study language and craft and attend workshops—we’re able to eventually intuit a noun from a verb. Because a writer can learn the simple stuff. But you can’t learn what can’t be taught. You can’t learn writing excitement.

When I talk about excitement, I’m talking about a writer’s individual style, that unique blend of panache and enthusiasm and articulation. Style can’t be bought or taught or handed down, generation to generation. Nobody taught Picasso Cubism. Nobody taught Babe Ruth to hit homers. Nobody taught Einstein to think. They each had it in ’em, all along.

If you have it—and Tom Wolff would call it the right stuff—good for you. Aim for the center field bleachers. If you don’t have it, you’ll discover that soon enough and move on. Ninety-five percent of wannabe fiction writers move on, and often to even greater endeavors. Ain’t no shame in crossing off write a novel from your bucket list, before skiing the Alps or designing a home or discovering cold fusion.

So… do I have advice for those of you attempting to determine your own stylistic prowess? (Does a goose have paté?) I can offer a few suggestions to flint that spark, to perhaps ignite something inside that might never extinguish.

Suggestion #1. New to fiction writing? Overwhelmed by the concept of writing 350 pages end-to-end? Unsure of your own abilities or talent or stamina? Start with smaller bites. Write a short story. Write an idea. Write a slice of life—a simple scene, a simple page with no beginning or no end—with no other agenda than pure enjoyment. Write for yourself. Make yourself smile. If that works… write another page. If you find yourself pouring out your soul, or simply amusing yourself with your own creative genius, perhaps you’re onto something. But writing a novel is kinda like giving birth. Give it time. Give it room. If you start pushing too hard at three months you’ll only hurt yourself, and the kid’ll be thinking WTF, mom?

So…. Rule #3. Always write for yourself. If you find yourself writing for an audience, you’ll eventually lose yourself in the crowd. Even if you’re successful, sooner or later you’ll probably sell your soul. So write to please yourself, first and foremost.

Suggestion #2. Chances are, if you’re a writer, you’re also a reader. As a reader, what excites you? When I write, I keep a favorite novel on my desk and, most mornings before I begin working, I pick a random page and begin to read. Sometimes I read a few paragraphs, sometimes a few pages. I read until I’m filled with awe and appreciation and amazement that, yeah, that’s great stuff. And I can do it too.

By reading snippets, I’m not attempting emulate a writer’s style or content—I’m not plagiarizing substance or verbiage—I’m simply trying to jump start my own creative juices by absorbing another writer’s creative juices. It’s the literary equivalent of a Vulcan Mind-Meld.

Suggestion #3. Concentrate on dialogue. The eyes may be the portal to the soul (as the poets like to say), but in fiction, dialog is the portal to a character’s soul. I believe dialog to be the single most important asset to a unique voice. Try writing a few pages of dialog; two people simply talking to each other. No other modifiers (i.e.; he said sweetly, or she chuckled insanely.) Simply two voices. Don’t think about it—just begin a dialog. You might be amazed at how spontaneous (again, as in don’t think about it) you’ll find a situation (no matter how irrelevant) developing:
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S’up?”
“Nada.”
“Haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Been busy.”
“That your elephant?”
“Nah. My mom’s.”
“He gotta name?”
“Buster.”
“Buster?”
“He don’t come when you call him, though.”
“No, I don’t think he’d give a shit.”
“Unless maybe you have ice cream.”
“Peanut butter?”
“Strawberry.”
“Man, you’d think peanut butter, huh?”
“Seriously, yeah.

…or some sort of totally random, unrehearsed, out-of-nowhere stuff. Try to create characters by voice alone, and see where that leads you. Maybe nowhere. Maybe a character sketch. Maybe a story. Maybe a novel. (Stranger things have happened.) And more about dialog later…

Suggestion #4. Keep your voice active. Not passive.
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Defeat anxiety with Dr. Ralph Huber

book6Phone-In to Beat Anxiety with Popular Communications Coach/Author Dr. Ralph Huber – 4 Wed TeleCourse Feb 12 – Mar 5

Muse Harbor Publishing’s “Awakening Into Perfect Peace” author teaches an easy, proven three-step process to achieving mental peace in his Hummingbird Living School’s TeleCourse, over four Wednesdays, February 12th – March 5th. His simple ROAR approach to acceptance and letting go is gaining national popularity as a healer of anxiety, stress and low self-esteem.

Santa Fe, New Mexico (PRWEB) February 06, 2014

On four Wednesdays from February 12 – March 5, 2014, Hummingbird Living School in Santa Fe, New Mexico will host a TeleCourse with Dr. Ralph Huber,popular Communications Expert/Coach and Author of “Awakening Into Perfect Peace: Reflections on Freedom from Suffering.” Space is limited and previous courses have sold-out, so listeners are encouraged to register soon by clicking on hummingbirdlivingschool.org.

Dr. Huber will teach ways to free oneself of life’s personal drama, confusion and stress while aligning with Spirit to boost creative capacity.

The topic is “Co-Creating with Spirit: Keeping in Resonance with our True Nature of Infinite Wisdom and Oneness.” Dr. Huber will answer:

How your should-thoughts stand in the way of keeping in resonance with Spirit

The role humility plays in aligning your thoughts and actions with Spirit

How heart-felt expressions of appreciation strengthen your ability to keep open to Spirit’s guidance.

 

Ralph Huber is one of the great minds and hearts of our times. ‘Awakening Into Perfect Peace’ serves as a fertile ground for self-actualization.

Amanda Creighton
Executive Producer,
Within Reach

Dr. Huber asks, “Do you want to experience a life filled with confusion and drama by resisting life’s unfoldment, or do you want to experience a life of clarity and peace that comes from welcoming all of life – as it is?”

Dr. Huber believes that inner peace is achieved through the path of least resistance, which is often the simplest path to take. “Most of life’s conflict is self-inflicted,” says Huber.

Two of Huber’s students from a recent workshop said, “I had many significant takeaways including that pain exists but suffering is optional” and “For me, this class gets at the heart of how to live life from peace rather than from anxiety.” JB and MH from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Awakening” recently launched on 2013’s International Day of Peace from Muse Harbor Publishing. It can be found on Amazon.com and museharbor.com.

An engaging, inspirational speaker with practical “inner peace” tools that benefit any reader, listener or viewer, Dr. Huber can be reached for further interviews, including Radio, TV, Print, Online Blogs and event speaking engagements, by contacting Margaux(at)museharbor(dot)com.

Ralph Huber’s professional background includes educator, corporate trainer and vice-president of a New York based management consulting firm that offered services to major communication and retail industries. He is currently a member of Hummingbird Community in northern New Mexico and serves as board president for the Unity Church in Santa Fe. Dr. Huber holds a Ph.D. from New York University’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. He has an affinity for Advaita, Zen and Christian Mysticism.

Friend Dr. Huber on Facebook and for information on Huber’s personal coaching and seminars, visit awakeningintoperfectpeace.com.

Muse Harbor Publishing, based in Sea Ranch, CA, was founded in 2011 as an organization of “writers helping writers, in service to our readers.”

Hummingbird Community provides and hosts educational programs, conferences and retreat experiences that support conscious evolution, loving relationships, regenerative living, new economics, health and well-being.

 

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The Greatest Gifts

eileen-blog200x200As a writer, I’m deeply aware of how wonderful it feels to be contacted by someone who’s read my work and felt moved enough by my ideas to reach out and let me know how much I’ve touched them. That’s why, as a reader, I’ve personally never been shy about reaching out to those authors whose works have in turn touched my own heart, to let them know that their effort has not been in vain.

Some of my most treasured friendships have arisen from these connections. And of the countless times I’ve reached out to thank a writer, nearly all have responded with gratitude for having been well received. I suspect it’s because a writer’s life can be a lonely path. It may take years for a book to move through a writer’s mind, heart, hands and down onto the page, and from there to make it into printed form for consumption by the public. During that long and thankless time, we writers are typically plagued with bouts of self-doubt. We’re convinced our work will be unpublishable; our ideas will seem worthless or too mundane; our energy will have proved to be utterly wasted. We’re also occasionally accosted by people who – with the best of intentions – wonder aloud why we don’t go out and get ‘real’ jobs. Our friends and family members have been known to “helpfully” bury us beneath distressing statistics about the failure rates for new authors, and inundate us with articles that discuss how impossible it is to get readers to notice new books.

That’s why, for me, it always feels like a bit of a miracle whenever someone reaches out and bridges the time-space continuum that exists between that original struggle of my sometimes painful process and this place I am today, just to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you…great job. I loved your work. It moved me; I’m forever changed for having read this book. Thank you so much for having written it.”

In those precious, quiet moments of heartfelt reconnection with my own past efforts, I can at last feel vindicated for having stuck with a project; for not having chucked it during one of those dark and lonely periods when feedback was nonexistent, and when all I had to rely upon was my faltering faith in myself. Moments such as these are, at times, exactly what it takes to keep me going – to inspire me to sit down again and breathe life into yet another labored page.

We like to think of Muse Harbor as a place where we, as writers, are helping other writers reach new readers. As part of that commitment, one of our most sincere desires is to serve as a well-lit way station where those readers can connect with the writers who’ve moved them, and who have maybe even changed their lives for the better. So if you’ve read a book by one of our authors and have loved the message it sent, the story it told, or the characters that the author has breathed into life…please. Reach out and say so. I promise you, every writer feels an endless hunger to hear that. And don’t be surprised if you make a new friend for your efforts. As a person who toils in solitude, I know I’ve developed an appreciation for all of these human connections that nourish my soul. It’s a beautiful gift, and it’s free. All the greatest gifts are.

 

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Need Freedom from Suffering?

book6Telecall by Popular Communications Expert/Author Dr. Ralph Huber Teaches It – Feb 5th 6 pm MST
Muse Harbor Publishing’s “Awakening Into Perfect Peace” Author Dr. Huber Teaches Tools for Inner Peace on Hummingbird Living School’s Telecall

Santa Fe, New Mexico (PRWEB) January 31, 2014

On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., MST, Hummingbird Living School in Santa Fe, New Mexico will host a one hour telecall with Dr. Ralph Huber, popular Communications Expert/Workshop Leader and Author of “Awakening Into Perfect Peace: Reflections on Freedom from Suffering.” Although the telecall is no charge to the public, listeners need to register prior to the call by clicking on hummingbirdlivingschool.org. Space is limited and previous calls have been oversubscribed, so listeners are encouraged to register soon.

Dr. Huber will teach ways to free oneself of life’s personal drama, confusion and stress while aligning with Spirit to boost creative capacity.

The topic is “Co-Creating with Spirit: Keeping in Resonance with our True Nature of Infinite Wisdom and Oneness.” Dr. Huber will answer:

 

  • How your should-thoughts stand in the way of keeping in resonance with Spirit
  • The role humility plans in aligning your thoughts and actions with Spirit
  • How heart-felt expressions of appreciation strengthen your ability to keep open to Spirit’s guidance.

Dr. Huber asks, “Do you want to experience a life filled with confusion and drama by resisting life’s unfoldment, or do you want to experience a life of clarity and peace that comes from welcoming all of life – as it is?”

Dr. Huber believes that inner peace is achieved through the path of least resistance, which is often the simplest path to take. “Most of life’s conflict is self-inflicted,” says Huber.

“Awakening” recently launched on 2013’s International Day of Peace from Muse Harbor Publishing. It can be found on Amazon.com and museharbor.com.” An engaging, inspirational speaker with practical “inner peace” tools that benefit any reader, listener or viewer, Dr. Huber can be reached for further interviews, including Radio, TV, Print, Online Blogs and event speaking engagements, by contacting Margaux(at)museharbor(dot)com.

Ralph Huber’s professional background includes educator, corporate trainer and vice-president of a New York based management consulting firm that offered services to major communication and retail industries. He is currently a member of Hummingbird Community in northern New Mexico and serves as board president for the Unity Church in Santa Fe. Dr. Huber holds a Ph.D. from New York University’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. He has an affinity for Advaita, Zen and Christian Mysticism.

Friend Dr. Huber on Facebook and for information on Huber’s personal coaching and seminars, visit awakeningintoperfectpeace.com.

Muse Harbor Publishing, based in Sea Ranch, CA, was founded in 2011 as an organization of “writers helping writers, in service to our readers.”

Hummingbird Community provides and hosts educational programs, conferences and retreat experiences that support conscious evolution, loving relationships, regenerative living, new economics, health and well-being.

 

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Create Abundance in Today’s Economy?

book6Awakening Into Perfect Peace is This Season’s Ticket to Ahhhhs
Wall Street Expert/Visionary Author of “Sacred Economics” Tells How on Telecall Wed, Jan 22.

Santa Fe, New Mexico (PRWEB) January 15, 2014

Financial Expert/Visionary Author of “Sacred Economics: The Currency of Life,” Eileen Workman is offering a 1-hour TeleCall through the Hummingbird Living School, at no charge to the public. This conversation between Eileen Workman and Rich Ruster, Ph.D. – Economic Visionary and Steward of Hummingbird Community – will focus on “Sacred Economics and the Co-Creation of Abundance.”

Workman says, “We’ll address current economic issues in the press, focusing on current obsessions with debts and deficits and the recent denial of extended unemployment benefits. Listeners will learn the advantages of shifting attention away from money (illusion of wealth) to real wealth, (the actual tangible resources people use and need.) I’ll ask and answer common public concerns such as ‘Why is debt necessary? How can society overcome greed? Why does poverty exist? Is a moneyless society possible?'”

The Workman-Ruster financial visionary team will also explain:
1) Why so many of the things our society needs to do aren’t getting done
2) Ways people can shift their attitudes and behaviors to help change the economic paradigm
3) How America’s patriarchal society undervalues feminine work and values, leading to fewer “paying” jobs that serve the people

Workman and Ruster will be offering Q & A time between each topic, giving listeners with questions a chance to get direct answers.

Listeners will learn innovative ways to create this new economic paradigm, re-imagine the nature of genuine wealth and help weave both masculine and feminine energies of a new, resources-based economy into a whole living organism.

Hummingbird Community states that the registration is filling up and will likely sell out. Although the call is no charge, listeners must register prior to the call. To register, please click on this link: http://www.hummingbirdlivingschool.org.

“Sacred Economics: The Currency of Life” is available at http://www.museharbor.com and Amazon. com. Formerly a First Vice President of Investments with a top international Wall Street firm, Workman is available for seminars, speaking engagements, radio and TV interviews by contacting margaux(at)museharbor(dot)com.

Workman is currently CFO of Muse Harbor Publishing, based in Sea Ranch, CA, which was founded in 2011 as an organization of “writers helping writers, in service to our readers.”

Hummingbird Community provides and hosts educational programs, conferences and retreat experiences that support conscious evolution, loving relationships, regenerative living, new economics, health and well-being.

 

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