Work like a kid

Little Girl Rolling Snowman Phase 1 copyright Jen D iStockPhoto #000001319904
Snowman Phase 1 by Jen D

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. –  Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time.

Remember how hard you worked to build a snowman or a tree fort? Only you didn’t know it was work? May your holidays renew the magic.

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Gwyn Nichols, WritersResort.com

Photo “Little Girl Rolling Snowman Phase 1” © Jen D iStockPhoto #1319904

Reading is for Babies

Father reading to baby The American Pediatrics Association says, “Immunize your children against illiteracy.”

NPR’s Audie Cornish interviewed Professor Susan Neuman about new evidence showing that the younger you read to your children, the better. Reading benefits babies, from earliest vocabulary development though later achievements.

Were you one of those lucky children who was read to?

I have preschool memories of my dad reading me Dr. Seuss and, I kid you not, The Wall Street Journal, and my mom reading me a chapter of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi before every nap.

Reading to my own children was even more enjoyable. My first toddler was barely forming two-word sentences when he announced from his car seat, “No, Pat! No, Pat!” He was pointing to a cactus, alluding to Dr. Seuss: “No, Pat, no! Don’t sit on that!” My younger son, by 3 or 4 spoke fluent King James, holding a book, pretending to read, making up stories and admonitions with archaic verb tenses and expressions, never confusing it with our colloquial English.

Reading is not only for babies. Don’t let children outgrow it! Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook) suggests that teens wash dishes while parents read aloud. Talk about a Win-Win. The Phantom Tollbooth made a favorite dish-time hit.

Reading obviously benefits brain development, language acquisition, and academic achievements, but what I love most about reading/being read to, in classrooms and families, is the social development, between the literature and the readers, and the readers amongst themselves.

  • Empathy: reading another’s mind, walking in others’ shoes, experiencing other ages, places, cultures, and times.
  • Common vocabulary, allusions, characters, and private jokes, instantly conveying a concept or strengthening a relationship.
  • It’s hard to read and argue at the same time. (Certain people can pull it off—it helps to be attached to the literal, as in high-functioning autism—but imagine where such a person would be without literature and those ensuing discussions.)

What is your favorite reading benefit? Your favorite memory of communal reading?

Interview: http://www.npr.org/2014/06/24/325229904/to-immunize-kids-against-illiteracy-break-out-a-book-in-infancy

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2014. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com

Photo © Liza McCorkle. iStockPhoto.

Write Your Book This Year: Give Me Ten

Are you waiting for your retreat, vacation, sabbatical, or retirement to write your book? Uninterrupted time sounds luxurious, and then it can be overwhelming. Whenever I reserve a day for my own project, I celebrate, then usually flounder and remember Julia Cameron’s metaphor, comparing uninterrupted time to a bolt of antique silk. It can be hard to cut into.

As I thought of that recently, I remembered a PBS show, Sewing with Nancy, featuring “10-20-30 Minutes to Sew.” Nancy showed viewers how to create even a fully tailored jacket in tiny pockets of time. She recommended identifying each step, prepping materials the way a chef preps ingredients, and systematically advancing a project day by day.

Sewing with Nancy 30 Years screenshotAnd get this: Nancy is still on the air. It’s the longest running sewing show ever. Teaching her audience to fit hobbies into busy schedules must be one key to her success, and this approach probably renews her own creative stamina.

For her McCall’s patterns, Nancy says, “I don’t have hours to spend sewing every day. Just a few minutes here or there can quickly add up to a finished project!” Go, Nancy!

Few people would wait for a sabbatical to piece a quilt. You don’t need one to write a book either. So drop everything and give me 10, only 10.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2013. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com

Screenshot of Sewing with Nancy from Wisconsin Public Television

Write Your Book This Year: Got Fear?

Fear of writing, or fear of publishing, can be a healthy thing. It means you care. Daring to tell the truth, wanting to say it well, overcoming your fear of failure and your fear of success–those are wonderful ways to grow. Make a list of your fears. Which ones can you do something about? Which ones melt once you look at them?

Write anyway.

Related Book:

Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2013. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com

5 Love Lessons to Use In Your Business Videos

Happy Valentine’s! Enjoy this fun advice from Lynn Ruby of Ruby Marketing, from Greater Phoenix SCORE.

5 Love Lessons to Use In Your Business Videos.

Write Your Book This Year: How to Write Right Now

"God Calling" © DarkCloud, iStockPhoto #7909523
“God Calling” © DarkCloud

Are you trying to squeeze your dream into your life, or will you fit your life into your dream?

If you are waiting for magical writing time to appear on the horizon (perhaps after you retire), then you, like me, will discover that mirages cannot be caught. Instead, when we stop where we are, and dig deep, time appears and expands. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Calendar the upcoming week. Block out the set commitments and routines. Outline the available hours for everything you want to do. Designate some as writing time.
  2. Begin and close each planning and writing session by connecting with divine guidance, in whatever way that works for you. Ask that your writing be of service to others and meet your own needs.
  3. Carry a journal or notebook around. Steal moments, capture ideas.
  4. Keep Morning Pages. Julia Cameron suggests three pages written first thing. It works best half asleep, and scribbling. These don’t count as writing. It’s usually the second half, after I run out of ideas, when ideas begin to flow.
  5. Count the ways you’re already writing. E-mailing, blogging? Copy those notes into one file. Plan ways to share your book in segments.
  6. Next week, we’ll talk about fear. Until then, write anyway.

What helps you fit your dream into your life? Or your life into your dream?

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2013. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com

Photo “God Calling” © DarkCloud, iStockPhoto #7909523

Write Your Book This Year: Pick Your Partner

Do you dance alone? Write alone? Some can. Some learn faster and more gracefully with a partner. Some clients send me work as soon as they write it. If you don’t have a writing coach as you write your book this year, at least enlist a writing buddy. You can check in to announce your day’s modest goal and check back later to celebrate its achievement. You can meet at a library or cafe to “work and ignore” or to swap pages you wrote earlier. Some writers rack up a draft before showing it to anyone; others require reader support before they can write more. Dance to your own drummer.

One partner every writer needs is a favorite pep talk. There’s a wonderful collection on the NaNoWriMo site; I keep a copy of Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket’s in my planning folder:

“Think of that secret favorite book of yours—not the one you tell people you like best, but that book so good that you refuse to share it with people because they’d never understand it. Perhaps it ‘s not even a whole book, just a tiny portion that you’ll never forget as long as you live. Nobody knows you feel this way about that tiny portion of literature, so what does it matter? The author of that small bright thing, that treasured whisper deep in your heart, never should have bothered.”

Read the whole essay here.

More of the NaNoWriMo pep talks are here.  And last year’s here.

Who helps you write? Living, dead, fictional? Friend, inspiration?

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2013. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com