What Does It Take To Be Happy? (especially when you’re hurting?)

 

 

Emotional pain can be as sharp and bitter as physical pain, and no one gets through life without experiencing it. Is it possible to be happy while you’re hurting? Is happiness a result of circumstances, or is it a choice?

I choose happiness. There. I’ve said it. I choose it. So now what? Does it follow that my choice alone will make me happy? Or must I take action to make my choice a reality in my life? Think about this. You might choose to be wealthy or live a long, healthy life. You might choose to be a doctor, lawyer, policeman or (gulp) writer. You choice is the first step in a process. To reach your goal, you must take the next step, and the next.

This article appeared on my news feed this morning, and my happiness gauge jumped when I read it. I hope yours does, too!

12 Things I See Happy People Do (that unhappy people do not)

—- Rev. Shane L. Bishop

May 22, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about happiness of late, partially because so many people seem unhappy.  I think that was my first epiphany upon entering the world of Social Media; people are unhappy and there are a lot of them.  Now don’t get me wrong, we all know some people who wouldn’t be happy, were they not unhappy but I am not talking about them.  We will just let them be.  I am also not thinking theologically here (i.e. juxtaposing happiness and joy), today I am going to err on the practical and pragmatic side of things.  With that being said, let’s get going.

I think most people want to be happy; they are just not quite sure how to get there from their present location.  Many people honestly believe that happiness is a lucky bounce; a sunny disposition or favorable circumstances but I disagree.  Happiness is a choice.  I believe the best route to happiness is found by following the footsteps of those who have already arrived.

Here are my observations on the topic that have been formed by watching happy people for decades.

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What do you think?

 

 

 

What to do with (gulp) Criticism…

dwarf-49807_1920I’ve had people ask me to critique their work, just as I ask my Beta readers to critique mine. For the most part, I’m happy to do it because it’s a valuable service if given and received in the right spirit. Any story born and nurtured in the writer, whether a life story or fiction, deserves to be brought to life.

I consider it an honor to be invited into that place of vulnerability in the writer’s process of giving birth to their infant work of art. It can be as frightening for me as for the writer, especially if the work is already published and I’m asked for my ‘honest opinion.’ Not all published works should have been released at that stage in their development.

If I had published my books before they went through the process of self-editing, beta-reading, professional editing and more self-editing, they would have deserved unbridled criticism, and I would have done one of two things: stopped writing altogether, or learned from the criticism. During the process, I learned, and wrote and re-wrote. If I hadn’t decided that enough is enough, I would still be re-writing.

No book is perfect. There is room for improvement in everything we do. It doesn’t detract from the value of the story we have to tell.

I ran across this article today, and thought it was something we can apply to anything we do in life. Any thoughts?

HOW TO TAKE CRITICISM AND TURN IT INTO GROWTH IN 5 STEPS

by Daniella Levy

It hurts to hear people say negative things about something you poured your heart and soul into. It hurts to recognize that you are not perfect at what you do and can always use improvement.

However, criticism–good criticism–is a very powerful raw material you can use to build yourself as an artist.

People generally react to criticism non-constructively in one of two ways: resistance (dismissing, arguing, or denying) or withering (collapsing in feelings of shame and inadequacy). Both of these reactions deny you the opportunity to learn and grow from the feedback.

To get the most out of criticism, you have to be humble enough to admit your work has faults, yet confident enough that you won’t wither. You have to push past the instinct to get defensive, and instead, get curious about how the criticism can help you improve your craft.

Let’s break it down into five steps.

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I Write YA fiction. Am I Doing It Wrong?

I came across an article written by a teen in the Huffington Post today that set me back on my heels and made me evaluate what I’m writing in my YA Sci-Fi TETRASPHERE series. I was happy to read that I’ve avoided at least some of her pet peeves, but there’s room for improvement. We can all use some guidance from members of our target audience, can’t we? I’m open. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m A Teenager And I Don’t Like Young Adult Novels. Here’s Why.

Written by Vivian Parkin DeRosa 

I know it’s an extremely unpopular opinion. This doesn’t mean that I’ve never read a YA book that I enjoyed. Some of my favorite books fall under the YA genre. But to be honest, I don’t typically like reading young adult novels.

 

Let me just say, this is NOT because I think YA isn’t real literature. I think as a society, we have a tendency to automatically dismiss genres that women (especially young women) really enjoy. Romance and YA are often seen as not ‘real’ fiction, which is stupid, because women and teenage girls are obsessed with both. And if you’re obsessed with something, that means it’s a good book. In my humble opinion, teenage girls are the ultimate judges on culture, even though we’re constantly shamed for our decisions and patronized by adults and teenage boys alike. (You can make fun of “White Girl” things all you want, but that does not change the fact that teenage girls of all races supported both the Beatles and Starbucks before anyone else did, and where would you be without your delicious coffee and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?)

 

However, despite believing that YA is a genre worthy of literary awards and esteem, it’s still not my favorite. There are a couple of reasons why.

READ MORE…

Who is your tribe?

I don’t know about you, but I both read and write best when I’m alone or when the people around me leave me alone, which is in their best interest as well as mine while I’m engaged in that activity. I’m not anti-social, by any means, but delving into a book (or writing one) is like solitaire. It’s a game best played in solitude.

The flip side is that while I’m not actively involved in the place in my head where my characters live, I’m alive in this world and both want and need to be around others. This article points out how important it is for writers to get together with other writers. It resonated with me, and so I’m happily sharing it with you.

Are You Networking with Other Writers?

posted in: Writing Life | 0

Writing may be a solitary activity, but we need people in our lives who are just like us to keep us going. People who understand us, and will put up with our quirks and weird behavior.

That’s where networking and meeting people come in handy. It’s one thing to bump into friends at a conference, but it’s completely different when you’re at a small local event, or bonding with someone over coffee or lunch.

I’ve written in the past about the importance of connecting with other writers on social media, but it’s more important to find them in real life. Here are a few places to find your fellow word nerds and ink slingers.

(Read the rest of the article here!)

Any comments?

 

SOMETIMES, A LITTLE PUSH IS ALL YOU NEED.

I’m writing my third book in the TETRASPHERE series, and I’m close to the end, where the action heats up and my characters are about to face their greatest challenge; so why would I need a push? The story is going well, I see the next scene in my head, and I’m focused. So what’s the problem?

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The bog. If you write, you’re almost certainly familiar with it. You need a new problem to solve, a new action scene, a new twist for your readers, and you’re drawing a blank.

Maybe you’ve reached a point in your story where the characters are saying, “Let’s just finish this. I’m tired of all the drama and want to get on with a normal life.” Or is that you talking? Where’s the fun in ‘normal’?

How do writing prompts give you that little push you need? My husband the tennis-pro would call it cross-training. Doing something different improves the overall performance of any sport writing you’re already immersed in.

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I found this great information from a blog I follow: Ride The Pen, and I’m sharing it with you. You’re welcome.

 

63 Fun Creative Writing Prompts

Welcome to the creative writing prompts page! This is going to be so much fun, and all while you improve your story writing skills.

You can find all kinds of creative writing exercises here. All of them are fiction writing prompts, and they cover almost every genre, plus you can find creative writing prompts about dialogue, characters, plot, for writer’s block, and much, much more…

Interesting writing prompts

This is not the usual stuff. I tried to make these writing prompts intriguing. Most of them are complete scenes and even mini-stories.

You can have them. Yes, you own all the rights, even if you base your entire novel on them and get it published and earn a million dollars for the movie rights. They are all yours.

To become a really good story writer, there is only one thing you need to do: Write! And these creative writing prompts should inspire you to write. They should fire your brain up and make your fingers itch.

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I’d love to hear from you! If you find this helpful, please comment!

 

 

 

Lord, Help My Unbelief

A timely story for Halloween. Demon possession, a failed exorcism and then….

A Life Sanctified

This is a post from my friend Ben Nelson, author and blogger, who writes almost daily on his blog Another Red Letter Day.  Ben has this beautiful way of taking stories from the Bible and writing them in first person – becoming a character in the story – and this is one of my favorite stories.  In fact, he has a book out the walks you through 40 days with Jesus.  It’s remarkable.  Please enjoy.

There is no way to get rid of this kind of
demon except by prayer.
Mark 9:29

Help My Doubts

Father of a Demon-Possessed Boy

I remember the doctor saying to us, years ago, “Keep a record of his bad days.” My son—my eight-year-old boy—Enoch and I visited the doctor often in those first days. It’s been another eight years since we stopped going to doctors. For seven of them, we’ve found it easier to record the…

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