Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What's Your Mantra?

It's January, that time of the year when we assess the past year and look forward to correcting our course in the new year by trying to implement a few resolutions.

I'm of the opinion that before you can make a resolution, you first need to find your mantra. If you break down the Sanskrit roots of the word mantra, it means mind instrument. In other words, a mantra can be a tool to set the stage for change.

So what exactly is a mantra? Some claim it's om, the sound of universal consciousness that pulls you into meditation and quiet. That may be true, but I like to think it's more than that. A mantra is an intention. It sets the stage for successful change and helps achieve those nagging resolutions that bedevil us.

When I was a child, my mother had a bagful of sayings or mantras which she drilled into me. Her favorite was "Don't be like the rest of the sheep." In other words, do your own thinking and make your own decisions. While I didn't appreciate it at the time, that mantra became embedded in my mind and became the road map of my life. She could just as easily have said "You're stupid and will never amount to anything." That brings me to the most important feature of a mantra: it must be positive and self-affirming. My mother should have constructed her mantra in a more positive manner, but her intent was positive. She meant for me to be free-thinking and independent.

Before you draw up that list of resolutions, construct your mantra for the new year. Write it down on a piece of paper. It should be a positive, concise statement that fits your heart. As you repeat it each day, you will find it shapes your experience until it becomes your truth. No one can tell you what your mantra should be. It has to come from your soul. It has to form your intention. It has to direct your life. And then those resolutions will naturally take root and progress.

Here's a YouTube video that's a favorite of mine. I think this healing mandala will put you in the right frame of mind for a little meditation. It's absolutely beautiful and relaxing.

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