I Am Therefore I Am Original

I went to Half Price Books not too long ago and spent enough money to get their 2015 calender. Because I already have four new calanders on the walls of my office, I gave the calander to my daughter. It was exciting because she has met some of the authors featured in the calander. Including one who was one of her teachers at UTD. She said that when he read her work he said it wasn’t original. It made her angry and showed how ignorant the guy was.

The only thing it takes to be original is being a different person than everyone else. And if I am not mistaken that would mean everyone in the whole world. The art we create will have similarities with other artwork in the same media simply because we live on the same planet and experience similar things in life. But no two people tell the same story. Even if two siblings grew up in the same house, with the same parents, and experienced every moment of their lives together, they would still have different stories because they are two different people. Even twins have different stories because they are different people.

Yes, I tend to concern myself with originality. I wonder if I am writing something similar to another writer. I even posted last week about seeing an idea I thought was unique in a movie on Netflix. But ultimately, each one of us can tell a different story because we are different people. So there are similaries, so what! You want a totally new expereience that no one else has had? Go to another planet. That will do it.

Don’t worry about being original, just tell your story. Because it is your story, it will be an original.

 

Can I Get Published, Please?

As an author of the 21st Century I have been amazed at what is published and considered worthy to be put on the shelves of our bookstores for intellectual consumption.

Did you know there is actually a book out there on how to successfully cheat on your spouse? Or how about how to kill your husband? Yeah, there is one out there for that. How to run a dog fighting ring? In case you want to know that, there are books out there for you. And the one that I actually saw in the bookstore after it was published, and made me sick, was the book (I will not give you the title because it doesn’t deserve such credit) on a single man’s exploits as he sleeps with women, gets excessively drunk, and makes a fool of himself. Yup, it’s out there in book form picked up by Kensington Publishing Corp. and the book actually made it to the New York Times Bestseller List.

So I see these books that are out on shelves warping people’s minds while good books from good authors are struggling to make it on the market. I know it is all about the money. I know that. But it does make me sick to see what sells. Or what publishers believe will sell.

When I saw that book put out by Kensington Publishing I thought, “If someone will publish this, then I certainly have a chance!” But as time has gone by (it has been several years since I first saw that book) I think “If someone will publish this because this is what sells, I don’t stand a chance.”

What I am very thankful for is that publishers don’t make the decisions…God does. And if God wants my name and my books out there while I am still alive then YAY! But if He doesn’t, what can I say? YAY! Thank you, Lord, that You have given me this talent and even though the world didn’t think much of it, I used it to glorify You and that is all that matters!

I know there will be coffee in Heaven!

Experience

One thing a writer cannot effectively write about is something they have not experienced. You can talk to people and get their views and write a very good story, but without having experienced something it will not ever become real to the writer. The reader may have experienced it and could say whether or not it brought back memories or made them relive what they went through. But the writer will always be a sideline player who has never been in the game.

Am I saying you have to be murdered to know what it feels like to die. Well, only those who have died can say what it feels like. But every writer will say that the best stories come from experience.

I say all this because I am going through the stages of this year’s flu strain. Not sure exactly what strain it is and to my body it seems like the same as last years. But even I can tell it’s a little different than last years. My fever ran for two days and my eyeballs were achey. They weren’t achey last year. But when I went to rub them they ached like I wanted to pluck them out. Of course, at first I was upset that I got sick, but then I remembered that every experience I live through makes me a better writer.

I have climbed a mountain. Not Everest but my own Everest. I have been a few feet away from a lightning strike. I have been to NY and the top of the Empire State Building. I have been to Bethel, NY where Woodstock took place. I have been snow mobiling and have been lost in the woods. I have walked upon what looked like a ritual gathering in the woods and seen flashes out of the corner of my eye. And there are some experiences that I can write about but will not say here because they are just too personal.

So every time I get to experience something new I try to take in every sight and sound so I can write about it. And when I experience those unpleasant things, like getting food poisoning in NY, I can be thankful that those things will help me  be a more effective writer.

 

Are you serious?!

Today is Sci-Fi Day so I thought I would go into Netflix instant and watch a sci-fi movie. I picked one out and started watching it. Oh, I would say five minutes into the movie the characters did something that I had one of my characters doing in my book that I had never seen in any movie or read about in any books. I thought my idea was unique. Well, it seems someone else had that same “unique” idea.

It’s that moment when you just want to chunk the book you are working on because it is no longer “unique.” I didn’t throw out the book but I am fighting feelings of inadequacy. I am having to block out those thoughts that “maybe I’m not as special as I thought I was” and “oh, great, now everyone is going to think I stole from this movie”, and even “maybe I should just forget about being a writer because everything has already been done!” Yeah, it’s been that bad.

But the words of C.S. Lewis were brought to the forefront of my mind…

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how ofter it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

So I will keep on plugging away and hope that whoever reads my work doesn’t just think I copied from someone else. And even if they did think that, I know I didn’t.

2015!

The year of 2014 was a very eventful year along with the last day, that is last night. But lets hope all of 2015 will not be spent repeating last night’s events. (It wasn’t anything terrible, my dog got sick and I ended up cleaning her and everything up – no fun.)

But 2014 was really good with work taking me up to NY and then MD. I finished a NaNo novel in November that was so good that I am going to send it into agents instead of the one I was planning to send. We went on an amazing cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. My husband did really well this year at Christmas. We helped my daughter move. My youngest got married. My middle daughter got promoted at work. My son found an amazing job that will take him all over the U.S. We got a new puppy (the aforementioned sick one).

On a sad note my sister-in-law passed away and my dog of 12 years passed away.

All of that being things that happened in the world, let’s look at spiritual changes. God showed me that when He gives me a gift, it is mine. Unless I turn it into an idol that I value over Him, He will not take it away. He showed me His power in helping me memorize scripture at the age oif 47. I thought all chances of me memorizing scripture was gone because of my age, but what did He do for Abraham and Sarah at their old age? Right! He taught me that no matter how much I sin, He still loves me. And He taught me that when I seek Him, yearn for Him, and desire Him, He will let Himself be found in amazing ways.

So what are my goals for 2015?

I want to be even more consciously aware of God’s work in my life. I am keenly aware now but I want to see and acknowledge Him in every tiny aspect of life.

I want to devote more of my time to writing, to keeping up with my website, and with Goodreads.

I want to be more organized. As I sit here thinking and looking at my office – man it could use some organization. And that means throwing out what is of no use to me or that I haven’t used in forever.

I also want to give more. I know those that know me probably think I give too much, but I want my friends and family to have things of mine so I can see them enjoy the gifts instead of when I am gone.

And I want to dive into God’s Word with a heart full of love for Him and a mind open to what He wants to reveal to me.

So what are your goals foir 2015? How will you honor God with your life? Don’t worry what the path may hold. Just know that as long as you stay on the path God has for you, it will lead you to Him.

You will make known to me the path of life: In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.   Psalm 16:11