by Chandra Lynn Smith
It’s a pretty little blank book. Well, it started as a blank book. I began writing in this journal in 2003, twenty years ago. On the first page I quoted Galatians 6:4 from The Message. “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”
At the time I wrote the verse in the journal I really had no plan for what was next. It didn’t take long, though, for me to find Bible verses, or quotes, or lines from books, or encouraging words authors said to me at conferences and write them down in the journal. Page after page, this little journal became a source of encouragement for my writer’s heart and soul. The ink is fading. Some of the pages are barely held in the spiral binding. But the words, oh the words, are still encouragement. Here are a few of my favorites.
“Don’t look for the right word . . . look for the exact word.” ~Angela Hunt
“The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” ~Mark Twain
“When the only voice in your head you hear is yours, it’s time to stop writing.” ~David Long
“Write so heaven will be different.” ~Lee Roddy
“Write first because you love it. Then, if you’re hit with rejection, your love of the craft will keep you writing.” ~Ally Carter
“A writer should always feel like he’s in over his head. “ ~Michael Cunningham
“A writer begins by breathing life into his characters. But, if you are lucky, they breathe life into you.” ~Cary Phillips
“Let your accomplishments excite you, but don’t let them placate you. Let your rejections teach you, but don’t let them paralyze you.” ~Linda DeMers Hummel
“You are, after all, your first reader of what you write. Please that writer.” Jane Yolen
“It’s time to stop telling stories and start making movies—on paper.” ~Jeff Gerke
“When you can take parts of yourself and give them to your fictional characters, yet make them different from you, you will have succeeded in one of the most daunting journeys you will ever take as a writer.” ~ Rachel Ballon
“It matters not if the world has heard or approves or understands … the only applause we’re meant to seek is that of nail-scarred hands.” ~ B.J.Hoff
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~Thomas Edison
“Rewriting—recognizing the opportunities that slipped away.” ~Randy Ingermanson
“God doesn’t require that we succeed. He only requires that we try.” ~Mother Theresa
“A writer must have all the confidence in the world when writing the first draft and none whatsoever when editing subsequent drafts.” ~ T. Davis Bunn
“The first draft reveals the art, revision reveals the artist.” ~ Michael Lee
“A story-teller is a life poet, an artist who transforms day-to-day living, inner life and outer life,, dream and actuality into a poem whose rhyme scheme is events rather than words—a two hour metaphor that says: Life is like this!” ~Robert McKee
“As a writer, one uses words as a kind of sandpaper, not to smooth out the surface, but to rub off the skin of the world and bring out what it’s really made of. This is a daily process.” Gregory Maguire
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” ~Ambrose Redmoon
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end!” ~Allen Arnold.
“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feel of being rained upon.” E.L. Doctorow
It’s raining this weekend here in Pennsylvania. Last night, walking from the car across the parking lot to a granddaughter’s spring choral concert, I got drenched. It made me think of the last quote above. Here’s hoping that each of us finds encouragement for our writer’s hearts and also that we get a chance to stand in the rain and learn how to write so our readers will feel it, too.
Chandra Lynn Smith is a professional dog trainer by trade and a writer by heart. Chandra, a 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest winner, and the owner of Best Friend Dog Training lives on a small farm in South Central Pennsylvania. Their house is often filled with any combination of the glorious chaos of their two dogs, four sons and spouses, precious six granddaughters, one foster grandson and seven grand-dogs. Her novels: Turtle Box Memories, To Follow a Dream, and To Chase a Dream can be found on Fiction Finder and Amazon.