As much as I fantasize about having a dream lifestyle where I travel around the world, exploring new places, meeting all different kinds of people, sample the variety of experiences the world has to offer, deep down I have always known that joy exists everywhere and that where I am is all I need. In fact, many spiritualists will say that where you are now is where you need to be. Certainly I can see beauty all around me when I take the time to look, and their are plenty of interesting people crossing my path on a daily basis. Why, then, do I feel going all these other places would be more glamorous, more exciting, somehow more fulfilling? Whose to say that where I am , the people I come into contact with regularly, aren’t the most amazing people anywhere?
I have been thinking lately about life purpose and spiritual calling. The other evening I had taken an unplanned and accidental nap, and when I woke up the room was mostly dark, and lying in bed in the fuzzy half awake state I asked myself, “What is my spiritual calling?”
Almost instantaneously, I got a surprising answer back from somewhere inside myself: ” My purpose is to be a conduit for joy.”
I have a feeling the process to embrace and understand what this really means will be long and maybe more uncomfortable than it should be. And yet, it feels right.
In 2010 I began a blog site called The Writing Stylist. In 2012 I hardly posted to that site at all, so in 2013 I have decided to combine Writing Stylist and briantomlin.com into one site. All posts from The Writing Stylist have been transferred to this site, and have been reassigned to the categories found here.
The migration was quite simple: both sites were created in the WordPress format, and I found an article
How To: Migrate, Combine Two (or More) WordPress Blogs into One
that gave me step by step instructions. I took this step on the theory that if blogging was made simpler I would be more likely to blog regularly. This based on advice from promotion experts like Michael Hyatt and Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy.
The most basic tenet of writing is that you need something to write about. Think about it: how dreadful it feels when you have to write something or give a talk and you can’t think of anything to say. The result inevitably is suffering (yours ) and boredom (the audience’s).
This is important no matter what we are writing; nonfiction, fiction, drama, business writing, a letter, a tweet, a piece of promotional copy. Because it is so important, I find it helpful to review the basic guidelines of choosing a subject from time to time.
What makes a good subject for writing?
- You truly understand the subject. It is familiar to you and can be related to your personal experience, observations, readings, or (depending on the type of writing) the limits of your own personal imagination.
- The subject is limited in scope to fit time or space you have.
- The subject should interest you, the writer, greatly. It should excite your imagination, bring forth a strong set of opinions or emotions from you. If you don’t care, how will anyone else?
- It should be something you can be enthusiastic about for the whole length of time the writing process will take. A thank you to your aunt requires far less stamina than a dissertation or War and Peace length novel.
- The subject should be something that will interest your intended audience in some way.
- It is not enough that what you write about is a good subject to be discussed, it should be the best thing for you to express yourself. Sometimes you find yourself having to write something on a topic you did not choose. In that case, find the angle or tiny speck of a spark to carry you through. If you do not, and don’t develop enthusiasm, the chances are great that the writing will not work.
Why is it that some people tell a story in an interesting, entertaining way while others do not? Natural gift, a particular drive to me amusing, lots of practice? There are a few simple ways to make a story more interesting:
- Rapid movement. One key reason that varied sentences make a story better is that it enhances the sense of movement.
- How many sentences are there? Writing that is longer than necessary drags the story down.
- How many sentences begin with the subject? Lack of sentence variety is BORING.
- How many times do you find the word “and” used? How many of the sentences begin with “And”? With “Then”?
- Variety of and Careful Choice of Connective Words
- Find ways of moving a story forward with your connective words. Depending on the length of your story and the tone and genre, you will probably find that you need a variety of words and phrases to move things along. How could these words help or hurt your story?
after a while
in a moment
as soon as
- Consider participial phrases. “After crashing through,” “about this time,” as I approached” are kinds of phrases that can convey movement. You can place less important facts and bits of exposition into such phrases, effective particularly at the beginning of the sentence.