Tag Archive | write

What were you doing at 10?

Let me first put you on my page lest you think I’m investigating a crime. I’m not talking about 10 o’clock either AM or PM. Rather I mean age 10. I’ve been doing some reading on assessing your talents and gifts and discovering your purpose as part of God’s ultimate plan for your life. As human beings, we can get so distracted and off base. Many people say that age 10 is the time of life when your interests and leanings are in their purest form. I guess it makes sense then to look back if we don’t know where we should be going.

It seems like a long time ago, but I turned 10 when I was in 4th grade in Miss Lewis’ class. Miss Lewis was ahead of her time in many ways, and likely she rocked many conventional boats. I remember her deciding that a camping trip was a great way for our class to learn. To be honest, I don’t recall any scheduled classes, but we swam, hiked, played games and explored. Somehow she also convinced my parents to go along as chaperones, driver and cook. Miss Lewis would invite us over to her house and gave us opportunities to do things our parents would not. These were good things like painting her porch or real cooking. Our folks could not afford the time or extra paint/ingredients to let us do these things at home, but Miss Lewis did.

She also had an old fashioned player piano. The rolls were in good shape and not only could you pump out a proper tune, you could sing along because the words were also printed there. We had so much fun with it. Miss Lewis was unconventional in other way. She was not afraid of any question and got us involved in discussions quite often. We’d review subjects with games and other innovative methods more characteristic of today’s classroom. Though I did well academically in her class, I remember more about the relationships of the age.

I finished my 10th year in Mrs. Johnson’s class, a strict woman with shoulder length hair that appeared to be glued in place. No way would the wind move her “do.” I remember academics in her class as they seemed easy. It was in her class I realized I liked to write. Maybe I’d finally just learned the stuff I was supposed to as I recall getting a 100% on the California Achievement Test that year. Mrs. J was shocked. I guess I was her first student to do that. Whoa. I think I found my claim to fame. I wonder what I should do with it.

So how does all of this play into what I should be now that I’m grown up? I can see how these people impacted me, but I think the jury is still deliberating. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Would you use it?

 

Can you remember the days of typing letters, proposals, and forms on a typewriter? Instead of making photocopies, you used carbon paper and onion skin. If you made a mistake, it was a very big deal because not only did the original have to be corrected so well that you could not detect the error, but also  you had to correct each of the copies with the same level of skill. If you could spot the blunder, you had to begin all over. I must say people did learn to type quickly and accurately in order to prevent mistakes. But I digress.

Let’s jump forward to today’s technology when a mistake in a document is no big deal unless you don’t catch an error before you send it. Just delete or undo and only the computer (and possibly your local IT folks) know about it, and they don’t care. Today, if you want to make changes to the default settings, you have only to hit the reset button. You can change it up or reinvent the document with a push of the proverbial button.

That brings me to today’s question. What if you had a button that could reset you? Would you use it? If you could push this button and reinvent yourself into the person you were intended to be – not just one of the beautiful people – would you use it?

Unfortunately, the process is not as fast as today’s technology, but it works just the same. It requires courage and stamina to reinvent yourself because there’s risk involved. You may fall flat on your face, but if you’re not afraid to get up and start again, you’ve got what it takes to reach your potential. You may face disappointments along the way as well. Those you think will understand and support you can sometimes become your biggest critics. (Don’t hold it against them. They don’t understand what’s at stake.) The road isn’t easy, but few things that are worthwhile are.

So if you had such a button, a reset-me button, that would enable you to follow your dream to write, invent, paint, draw, become a missionary or world traveler, would you use it?

Firing the inner editor

Ok, I confess. I need to walk the talk. I listen to the inner editor.

As a former teacher, I would tell my writing students to get all of their ideas down on paper first. Tell the story and then go back, re-read and revise as necessary. I would tell them to keep going, and then edit, but I failed to warn them about the inner editor.

He’s the one inside your head who makes you go back and read the sentence you just wrote. He says, “Something’s not right. Try again.” Once you follow his counsel, however, it sets other words in motion and the whole paragraph requires change in order to realign your thoughts. This rewriting takes time and prevents you from completing your article, chapter or whatever piece you’re working on. It can become a vicious cycle.

I’d like to fire the inner editor and send him packing. In fact, I’ve done that several times, but he must sneak in the back door because before I realize it, he’s returned and set up housekeeping … again. My head knows that polished sentences will come during the editing process and can be readjusted as necessary, but the inner editor too often drowns out that logic.

One thing that helps is having some accountability. When length of the piece is an issue or a nebulous deadline exists, reporting to a trusted friend (especially one who has known the inner editor) makes a difference.

If you’ve done battle with the inner editor, tell me how you won the war.