Weekend Edition – Ripples and Baby Steps Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

ripplesYou may never know …

I wrote earlier this week about how writing is a way of life. Each of the comments on the post made me smile, but there were a couple in particular that gave me insight into how my words had become a part of someone else’s day. These comments related when, where, and how the reader had stumbled across the post. Those small details brought me into their experience and gave me the chance to see my writing “out in the wilds,” so to speak. It kind of gave me chills (the good kind).

Writing is often a lonely business. Even though the Internet has given writers a powerful set of tools to connect directly with readers, it isn’t always easy to make those connections. Though we may pour our hearts and minds onto the digital page, our efforts are often met with the disheartening sound of crickets.

You have to remember that just because you don’t see or hear the reactions to your work, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse for writers. On the one hand, it gives us the ability to put our work, quite literally, in front of the whole world. On the other hand, it has burdened us with unrealistic expectations about the kind of response we will get. Where once we simply wrote and set out writing free without any assumptions about if or how people would react, now we get caught up in anxiously waiting for some kind of response in the form of likes, shares, retweets, comments, and so on.

But sometimes the deepest connections and biggest influences are the ones you never hear about or don’t discover until years later.

Last night I had my heart strings plucked by just such a latent discovery. A woman I went to school with came up to me in a bar and shared a very personal story of how something I had done all those long years ago had inspired her. Though we were only kids and though I was only doing what came naturally, that small thing had stayed with her throughout her life. And I had never even known. I had been completely oblivious that anything I was doing was making any difference for anyone else.

So, I guess what I’m saying is you just never know. Even if all your hear are crickets, your words might still be making a difference in someone’s day or life. Don’t stop writing because you fear the silence. Instead, imagine the magic that might be happening just outside the realm of what you know.

 

What I’m Writing:

way of life appI continue to focus my client writing projects (you know – the ones that pay the bills), but I also took a little time this week to practice my fiction writing. I’m starting small – just trying to take five minutes out of my day. Just five. Truth is, if I make five minutes, I’ll usually end up stretching it to ten or fifteen. I have no particular objective and I’m not working on any particular project. I’m just doing “sketches,” so to speak – short, quick scenes.

My only intent is to get my creative writing muscles working a little bit more each day … and then a little bit more … and then a little bit more.

In a recent weekend edition, Vy Chazen commented about how she is using the Writeometer app to track her word count. I was immediately intrigued. (I’m a sucker for a good writing app.) Sadly, it turns out that Writeometer is only available for Android and I’m on an iPhone. <sigh> BUT, my searches in the App Store turned up another cool, little app called Way of Life. It’s not particularly about writing, per se, but it IS about forming new good habits (and breaking bad ones).

It’s also elegantly simple. It’s based on the “Seinfeld productivity hack.” All you do is track (on a daily basis) whether or not you’ve done a particular task. I’m currently tracking things like yoga, meditation, fiction practice, reading, and … um … flossing. The app tracks each item and color codes your entries (green if you did it, red if you didn’t, and blue if you intentionally skipped a day). The idea is that you will want to create an unbroken chain of positive checkmarks.

Maybe I’m a lemming, but it’s really helping me to stay on track with my good habits.

 

What I’m Reading:

fish soupI have several “big reads” underway, but I’ll wait to share those until I’ve finished them.

Meanwhile, I have one quick read that I just had to share because it was, to me, such a perfect little story. The book is called Fish Soup and it is by Ursula Le Guin, an author who captured my young heart and imagination with her Earthsea books and who continues to charm and enlighten me with her insightful (and often irreverent) essays.

Fish Soup is a children’s picture book charmingly illustrated by Patrick Wynne. The story begins, “There was a man called the Thinking Man of Moha, and there was a woman called the Writing Woman of Maho, and they were friends.” I will not spoil your experience of this magical story with any attempt to distill it into a few sentences. Suffice to say that I found it to be full of both humor and wisdom. Oh, and there are winged mice, too.

Sadly, the book appears to be out of print, but it may be available at your local library. I highly recommend it. Your day will be better for having read it.

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

 

Finally, a quote for the week:

books are better

As always – thanks for being here. I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with good reads and time to write. Enjoy each minute and remember that your words may travel far and wide without you ever knowing. 
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
“Ripples” Photo Credit: Mark J P via Compfight cc

27 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Ripples and Baby Steps Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

  1. Jamie, Here’s where I talked about the ripple you made in my life with your post on writing as a way of life (http://confessionsontheeclectic.com/2014/04/04/not-just-what-you-do-but-who-you-are/). One of the interesting things that I’ve discovered in the past few years is how it is possible to inspire someone else, simply by being yourself, as you discovered with your friend. As you said, we may not see retweets or comments, but when you reach for the stars, there are others watching you and realizing that there’s something more.

    • Thank you, Stephanie, for linking to your post (loved it!) and for stopping by to comment here. I think, perhaps, that simply being ourselves may actually be the ONLY way we can really inspire others. This is easy to do as kids, but gets harder as we grow up. Sometimes it takes us a while to get back to a place where we are willing to put ourselves out there. 😉

      Nice to have you here, today.

  2. The ripple is the right image here. Another worthwhile post. Time is tight and I don’t read nearly as many other blog posts as I would like. I do make time for yours, though, because they are stuffed with a relatively rare thing – lots of truth.

    • Thanks so much for being here, Don. I hope your week is getting off to a great start! Happy to bring some truth to your weekend. 😉

  3. Thank you for another inspiring post! I love the image of the ripple. I hope that you have a lovely weekend. This last week, I managed to finish one of the two books I’d been reading since February (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which I found extremely inspiring) and I started reading Women’s bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christine Northrup. On the writing side, I completed all the needed formatting for my book and sent all the documents to my publisher. 🙂

    • Congrats on finishing the formatting! 🙂
      I haven’t read any Tolle, but I’ve always heard good things. Must be an interesting mix with your SciFi reading. Lots of intersections, I bet.
      Have a great week!

    • Thank you for taking a minute to leave such a nice note.
      Glad to have you here & glad you like the posts. They’re fun to do!

  4. Pingback: Writing Update, Book Review: The Power of Now, Links: Writing, Feminism, Disability and Media | Natacha Guyot

    • Thanks so much, Maria. That’s so nice of you.
      Very glad to hear that you are working on your projects. Good for you & good luck with the self publishing adventure!
      🙂

  5. “…just because you don’t see or hear the reactions to your work, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.” A very powerful line. Thank you for sharing. As writers, we do tend to be very sensitive about what responses or critiques our work receives, or if we receive any at all. It affects future works we complete, especially in content, style and target audiences. We tend to be easily discouraged at times, depending on the amount and type of feedback we receive.

    • My pleasure. It’s so easy to get caught up in the measurement … so much so that we lose our ability to focus on the actual creative act. I’m interested by the idea that the response to our work influences future work. That’s a big idea to explore – pros & cons, etc. May be a topic for another post!

  6. Thank you for reminding me that not all responses can be heard. I had been feeling sorry for myself and my new little blog to the point that I stopped posting lately. I’m going to get back to my weekly blogging just in case someone needs something I have to say. 🙂
    I will check out that app Way of Life. Sounds like something I need. Thanks, Jamie! Great blog!

    • Very glad to hear you will keep blogging.
      You know, even if you’re not getting any feedback, remember that daily practice (whether published on a blog, or kept in a notebook) is ALWAYS a good thing. I have learned SO much over these past years as a blogger. The commitment to getting posts up has forced me to keep practicing and practicing. That practice has, in turn, helped me hone my voice and learn better writing skills.

      So, really, NO writing is ever “wasted.”
      🙂

    • Recognition always feels good, but hopefully we can also take pleasure and pride in simply creating.

    • You’re right. A writer does have to be brave to put herself out there the way we do. It’s a very vulnerable space to play and work in. But it’s so worth it.

  7. Pingback: Weekend Edition – A Place to Write plus Writing Tips and Good Reads | Live to Write - Write to Live

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