Writing Prompt Wednesday

Because I have hit a proverbial wall on writing topics, I am using a writing prompt today to get my brain moving.

Here’s the prompt: “At work, you have been getting a post it note on your desk every morning that says, “Why did you do it?” You have talked to your boss, the night cleaning crew and your co-workers. No one seems to know who is putting the note there, or why. You decide to work through the night one evening, in hopes of catching the person.”


William took another sip of coffee from the Starbucks cup he had in his hand. It had already been a long day going over all the financials of the small company he ran, and it was promising to be a longer night. Finding a solution to the financial problems of the company he ran that allowed him to maintain control and avoid bankruptcy was proving to be elusive, but finding out who had been leaving him the notes was going to be solved tonight. He couldn’t stand not knowing something, and this situation over the last week had been driving him crazy. He had asked everyone–from his subordinates to the night cleaning crew to even his boss, and no one knew. No one knew who had left him the notes which stated, ‘Why did you do it?” Well, he was going to find out tonight.

The hours wore on. He finished his coffee and tried to get a little more work finished, but found he couldn’t concentrate. The advice of his directors to take a little more risk kept floating through his mind. One of them had even said earlier that day, “You know, we wouldn’t be in this situation now if you had accessed the credit line and hired more people six months ago.” William shook his head angrily. The director didn’t understand. It was a matter of control. Every time control floated out of his hands, he felt paralyzed, felt the situation getting away from him. Risk was not something he liked at all. He knew this was from his days in the financial industry many years ago, but had never been able to shake the feeling.

A sound came from behind him. “Woo, woo.” He turned in astonishment to see the words, ‘Why did you do it,” written on the wall in red with the ghostlike figure of the owner of his company floating beside them. William gaped at the sight. Peter Milton was reclusive. From what he understood, the man only showed up at the other office once every couple of months to sign paperwork. Since he seemed to be waiting for a response, William stammered, “What…what do you mean?”

The ghostlike figure floated over to him. “I never meant for this company to fail because of fear.”

Standing up from his office chair, William tried to think of a response. “I don’t know…what you mean.”

“I believe you do.” He shook his finger in front of the terrified man. “When I formed this company, I wanted it to help people. To help people, you must take risks like the story in the Bible where the wealthy man gave his servants bags of gold.”

“Story from the Bible? Bags of gold? What are you talking about, Mr. Milton?”

“It’s in Matthew 25. Look it up. The solution to your problem is right in front of you.”

William awoke with a start. He looked around the room and didn’t see any writing or anyone that looked like a ghost. Sighing with relief, he thought to himself, ‘It was all a dream.’ Then he saw a piece of paper. He turned it over and saw the same words again. Jumping with a start, he realized that the conversation had been real. William hurriedly pulled his Bible out of his desk and looked up the Scripture he had been given. It was just as Milton had said. Two of the servants had earned extra bags of gold for their master because they had taken risks while he had been away while the other had been afraid and just hidden the bag of gold. He put his head on his desk. The third servant was just like him, and he realized what Milton had been trying to say. William hurriedly wrote a note to his receptionist and left the office.

The next morning he walked in with several boxes of donuts and left them in the break room. Ignoring the astonished glances of some of his employees, he went into his office. Moments later, Mark, one of his directors, walked in. “Are we really about to hire ten more people?”

William grinned, enjoying the other man’s discomfort. “Yes, we are. And some of them will be placed under you.”

“Okay…why now, Sir? You didn’t want to hire anyone when I suggested it six months ago, and now the money flow is not all that great.”

He shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. Gonna access the credit line for this one. It’s time to take some risks. Playing it safe hasn’t done us any good.” William motioned for Mark to shut the door. “Let’s talk about what this is going to mean for your department.” As the other man moved to shut the door, William’s mood was lighter than it had been in months. The fear and paralysis were gone, and he knew he was doing the right thing for himself and for the people who worked for him.

What Ever Happened to Common Sense?

I know this is a question asked frequently, but since I haven’t posted my take on it, that’s what you’re getting today. 🙂  

Here is the definition from Wikipedia. “the basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things which is shared by (‘common to’) nearly all people and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, there were many things that were considered to be common sense. Some examples would be: letting someone into a lane of traffic without making vulgar signs with your hand, not shoving your way to the head of a line, not playing music loudly in a car, and so forth and so on. 

So, why don’t we have common sense anymore? I have a pretty good idea. Society has gotten more and more to the point where people are only focused on themselves and don’t care about what anyone else thinks. There is no sense of community because everyone looks out for number one. It’s sad because no one thinks they can count on anyone else. Because they are only looking out for themselves, there is not an incentive to look out for or take care of anyone else. Is there any way to change that focus? I think the most likely way would be to get rid of the self-focus in our society and care about other people. Is there a chance of that happening anytime soon? Well, it only has to start with one person. I think I’ll work on that myself today. How about you?

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Exercising Your Creative Power

Since I’ve become involved in the writing world over this past year, I’ve gotten to know a lot of creative people. Not only people who are writers, but people who compose songs, people who are artists, people who create video games, people who are involved with making movies–you get the idea. And these people are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. They want the chance to create and to share their creations with the world. Brenda Ueland had this to say about the reason to exercise your creative power.

“Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold, and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.”

I agree with all of this. People who create have an unique opportunity to bring people together. With the advent of the Internet, there are so many ways to share creativity and to be part of a community of creators. What can society do to support this? I think one of the most important things is to value creativity. Buy when you can, but offer messages of support when you can’t. And share the creator’s message with others.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Making the Effort

Sometimes there’s no effort at all in thinking of writing topics. The idea just comes to my mind, and I go with it. Like I posted on Friday, the words flow, and I write until they quit flowing. On other days though, it’s just an effort to get one or two sentences written. Why do you suppose that is? Mostly, it has to do with life, I think. All of us get tired of making the effort especially if making the effort is hard. Human beings tend to want things to be easy. That’s why products that promote laziness sell well.

What should we do though if making an effort is important to us? We should push past the inertia, the tiredness, the laziness and do the things that are important to us. Is there any sure-fire method of accomplishing this? Not really. Every person is different so every method will be different. For me, what has helped me recently is journaling each and every day. I’ve been putting my most private feelings and thoughts down on paper, and it helps me to get in a writing mode. I also keep in mind my reasons for writing which are many and varied, the foremost of which is that writing is a gift God has given me. What helps you all get through when the words don’t want to come?

Write What You Read

As you all know, the title of this blog is Write What You Know. When I first named it, I was perusing writing advice, and it made sense to me at the time. I’ve since found that there are many instances where writers write what they don’t know. This also makes sense to me because there are so many ways now to do research and get the information you need to write about the things you don’t know. I’ve thought about changing the title of the blog, but I haven’t yet for one reason in particular. I’ve found that when I do write about what I know, about my passions, I write more words. The words come flying out of me, and it’s pretty amazing. I’ll finish writing about any particular topic, and when I go check the word count, it’s higher than usual. So, right now, the title is going to stay the same.

Now, on to today’s topic–write what you read. I think, for me, these two things are inextricably entwined. When I think of stories I want to write, I gravitate towards the genres I’m already familiar with–like science fiction or fantasy or romance.  I’m more familiar with the structures of these genres, and the words flow faster than let’s say, something like a technical manual. Now, that doesn’t mean the editing portion still isn’t challenging. It is. I’m in the middle of editing my first novel now, and since I haven’t ever gone through the process, it has been a challenge. But, it is a challenge I’m more than willing to meet. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day! 

Time for a Writing Prompt – The Value of a Mentor

I’ve already done this one time, but wanted to do it again because the person I want to write about is about to have a birthday, and I want him to know what he means to me.

Here’s the prompt: 

   Write about a teacher or mentor who changed your life, for either good or bad.

In the last four years, a lot has happened to my family. It started with the death of my mother-in-law and then proceeded to every other bad thing you could possibly think of. It has only been in the last year that things have improved, and I can honestly say we are in a better place now. 

All of these bad things affected other members of my family except for the last thing which was my miscarriage. I did what most other women would do under these circumstances. I took care of everyone else before I took care of myself, even after my miscarriage. It is a natural instinct to do so, but it can be to one’s detriment as it ended up being with me. I realized I needed help, someone to talk to, someone who was not directly affected by my situation. I approached this person, and we began talking. I cannot tell you what it meant to release some of the pent-up frustration I had been feeling. He also encouraged me to journal as he knew I was a writer. That was the thing that helped most of all–seeing my feelings, my thoughts down on paper–and actually learning for the first time it was okay to take care of myself; that my value and my worth to God were paramount. He encouraged me and pushed me to do the work necessary to get through what I was feeling. He would say I had done most of the work, and I have, but his encouragement has meant the world to me, and I wanted him to know it.

How do you say thank you for something like that? Well, there are typical things people do when they want to say thank you. They give money; they buy presents; they write notes; or they say it in person. Since I’m not typical though and since I write, I thought I would do it this way. I’m not going to identify this person, but I’m pretty sure he knows who he is, so here goes.

Thank you for your friendship, your wisdom, your guidance, and especially for being my brother in Christ. You will never know how much your help has meant to me. Philippians 1:3-5 says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” I think that sums it up. 

Thank you again, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday! 


Growing and Learning in my Faith

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about how as a writer, I always wanted to stay willing to grow and learn. I believe this can apply to all areas of my life including my faith. Colossians 1:10 and 13-14 demonstrates this concept well. 

“All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better….For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”

God doesn’t expect our knowledge of Him to stay static. He wants us to know Him, to have that close relationship in community with Him. How do we do that if we don’t spend time with Him in prayer or in study of His Scriptures? We can’t, and if we aren’t willing to, what does that say about our faith? Do we really have any? I’m not qualified to make that judgment for others so I won’t.

I just know that this past year has been a remarkable time of growth for me in my faith because I have chosen to take steps to have a deeper relationship with God. There isn’t an exact way to do that though. Each person is different so each relationship with God is different. Because I have taken the time to figure out my best way of talking to God and keeping my mind focused on Him, I find that my relationship with Him is like that of a friend, a friend you can talk to, a friend who is always there.

People get hung up on this part. They think they have to spend hours on their knees praying to have a relationship with God, and that’s not true. While there is a place for longer times of prayer, God just wants us to talk to Him and let Him talk to us. We can do that in our every day lives as we go from place to place. It takes a mind-set of being focused though and wanting to have that relationship. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Perfection is Not Necessary

Perfection is an ideal that everyone in our society strives towards, but is it a realistic ideal? Of course, it’s not. At some point in a person’s life, they are going to make a mistake. And all of us have some kind of flaw since we are only human. Some flaws are just more visible than other flaws. So, if perfection can never be reached, why do we strive towards it? Why does the media publish pictures of airbrushed celebrities? Why are people so unwilling to interact with people who are different from them and whose flaws are more apparent? 

I have some ideas about that. I believe that people are programmed from birth to avoid showing their imperfections. Parents are prouder of the child who keeps a perfect average in school than of the child who is kind and loving to others. If they have a daughter, they are prouder of her meeting society’s ideal of womanhood than of her being intelligent and smart. If they have a son, they are prouder of him being the sports star than of him working and being part of a team. This is a sad thing when parents can’t accept their children for who they are instead of who they might want them to be. And if it is carried far enough, it can be damaging to the parent/child relationship and to the child’s self-worth. I know this because it happened to me.

I know now though it is not necessary for me to be perfect. There was only one perfect person on this planet ever, and that is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He wants us to love people, no matter what their flaws and to share His love with them too. It took me a long time to realize this–that I didn’t need to meet some sort of impossible standard so I could receive His love. I am so grateful for the people in my life who have taught me that it is not necessary to be perfect, that I am okay just the way I am.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Book Review–Riding for the Brand: 150 Years of Cowden Ranching

This is a different book than I’ve reviewed on this blog yet so you might be surprised. But, I did have a purpose in reading it. Part of the novel whose first draft I finished last fall is about when the main characters are hiding out on a ranch. I knew a few basic things about ranches when I wrote it, but realized that to make the details even more realistic, I needed to do some research about ranch life. 

The book is written by a cousin of the Cowden family. What I particularly liked about it was that the chapters went back and forth from the history of the family’s ranching life to what was happening in present-day ranch life on Sam Cowden’s ranch in New Mexico. Some of the details that I read were things I never knew about ranch work such as what happens during branding, feeding, breeding, and shipping cattle. With not having the personal experience of ever having been to a ranch, it is hard to imagine all the things that happen between when a calf is first born to when a hamburger or steak is ready to be eaten. Now, however, those details are etched in my brain, and the parts of my novel that are about the ranch will be more realistic. 

I also liked the parts where it talked about Sam’s family and how they homeschooled. I also homeschool my children and like Sam, my family is important to me. All of them worked hard on the ranch, but also took time to have fun. 

In conclusion, if you are interested in the history of ranching life in Texas and New Mexico and how one family played a big part in it, this book would be a great choice for you to read. 

Details are Important

This was brought to the forefront for me earlier when I was reading about being specific when you name things in your writing. I guess I knew this to an extent, but had not put a whole lot of thought into it. It makes sense though. If you talk about animals going through a forest, won’t the picture be clearer if you are naming the trees they are passing? Seeing the word forest brings an image to my mind, but it’s not a clear image. But, if I see the words oak tree or pine tree or cedar tree or elm tree or any number of a variety of other trees, the images will be clearer. 

And it works the same way with other things. People can get into the world of a book faster if the world is well-developed, and it takes thinking of the details of your particular world to do that. It also makes you a better writer because you are being specific.

Eve Ensler had valuable things to say about this topic. “I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior, and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible.” I consider this to be valuable advice.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!