Bragging Rights

I’m going to do a little bragging here.

In a previous blog I wrote about changing things up now and then. Try something new. I did just that with good results.

When I work on my current novel, I sometimes get stuck. And I mean stuck! It’s like I hit a wall. When that happened earlier this year, I put it away and decided to try something different.

In the back of my mind, for many months actually, was an idea for a poem, or a song, or an essay. I decided on a poem. I then entered it in a local competition sponsored by the extension office of our state university. I then forgot about it. It was, for me, simply a writing exercise.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a phone call telling me I had won first place in the state for my entry. First place! Wow!

Okay, so this is not going to make me the state’s poet laureate, and there’s not even a cash prize; just a plaque and the opportunity to read it for an audience at a banquet, but I’m quite proud of it.

Because I’m proud of it, and I feel as though I have earned some bragging rights (in lieu of money, national recognition, etc., etc.), I’m sharing it here.

Miracles in the Sky

Look up and see
The sun that rises in the morn,
The moon that takes its place each night
Among the many stars.

Galaxies of light
Amid the darkness of the sky,
Shed tracings of a shooting star
Flashing through the blackness.

Then comes the rain
With clouds that glide and drift along,
Lightening splits the sky and leaves
The magic of a rainbow.

Birds in brilliant feather
Fill the summer morn with color,
And fireflies flit among the trees
On a clear, warm summer’s eve.

The snow that falls
Spreads its beauty on the earth,
Dressing the trees like nature’s brides,
Waiting for the spring.

Look up and see
The gifts and beauty from above,
And marvel at the bounty of
Miracles in the sky.

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Writer’s block? Look for something new.

I’ve heard some say that there is no such thing as writer’s block. Well, I’m here to tell you that there definitely is such a thing. I should know because it happens to me quite often when the words just don’t or won’t come, no matter how hard I try.

I tend to write first thing in the morning before the daily chores and events of the day crowd in on me. That’s when I think I’m going crank out a few hundred profound and unforgettable words to move my best-selling novel along, and then nothing happens. I stare at the page. I review my character descriptions. I re-read and rewrite what I did the day before. Alas, the characters get lazy and they don’t want to do anything. Like me they just want to lay down and take a nap.

I had such a day not too long ago, so I decided to switch gears and work on an idea that had been stewing in my brain. I and some friends had been bemoaning the near extinction of cursive writing. And if you don’t know what it is, then you need to read my essay, which was picked up for the August issue of The Senior News. If you do know, then you’ll enjoy reading it at http://www.the seniornews.com.

So there I was, agonizing over what my hero and heroine were going to do next, when I stopped and pulled up a new blank page. I didn’t even think too much about what I was writing, but I had been thinking about how I was taught cursive in elementary school and how I still love to write letters to friends, and I simply let those thoughts loose on paper. When I went back and edited the piece, I thought that I had something that the older (we like to call us mature) generation would like, and so did the editor of The Senior News. Thank you very much.

So, the next time your writing comes to a standstill, take a moment and just write about something that you love, or hate, or bothers you, or that you want to change, or even something silly, stupid and off the wall. Even if it doesn’t get published, the break will refresh you, and if it does get published, you couldn’t ask for a better confidence booster. Either way, remember that you are a writer. So write.