Hello, dear readers! After a wonderful week of flunking quizzes and freehanding the letters on my science project board, I'm here (finally!) with an update.
I stole this from Lifehack.com, and you can read the full article here. But I looked up ten common misconceptions about writers, and I'm here to answer nine of them to see if they apply to my own life.
#1: Writers have no social life.
Okay, okay, the only time I typically leave the house is to go to church. But I'm blaming the fact that I'm a homeschooled introvert. When I grow up, I plan on having friends like any normal person. We're not a separate species.
#2: Writers exaggerate constantly.
Oh, please. Where do people come up with stuff like this? I tend to be a rather rational person. When I do exaggerate, I'm probably making a joke. "If Mom doesn't go shopping soon, we'll be living off granola bars and applesauce" is one I made the other day. Mom went shopping today. Yay for everyone!
#3: Writers are fast readers.
I've always been a fast reader, and it has nothing to do with my writing. It helps with college work, but when I'm reading my own work to proof it, I tend to take my time. It saves me from embarrassing mistakes--most of the time. And when it doesn't, I've already shipped it off to a teacher at the University of Iowa.
#4: Writers can make up a story in no time.
It takes time to fully develop a full and concrete plot. An idea comes in an instant, but I always let it sit for a while before it develops into a plot. Where the Clouds Catch Fire came about rather quickly; I had the basics of the plot down within a few hours. But it was still several months before I actually sat down to write it.
#5: I skipped it because I'm still a tax deduction.
#6: Writers want to become teachers.
Homeschool mom? Yes. Teacher? No. If I wanted to be a teacher, I would be majoring in education.
#7: Writers think writing is "you know, pretty okay."
The only time writing is "pretty okay" is when I'm stuck on a scene. It's easy to get discouraged, too; but for the most part, I love what I do.
#8: Writing is a relaxing job.
The only relaxing thing about writing is the fact that I sit down to write. The excitement of battle scenes, the soft touch of romantic interludes, and the angst of research done after-the-fact all add up to one hectic job. And I'm not even writing full-time yet.
#9: Writers can finish their projects whenever they want.
I can, yes. But someday, I'm going to have a very large fanbase who wants the next book to be released ASAP, not to mention publishers who work on schedules.
#10: Writers are boring nerds.
Nerd, yes. Boring, not so much. While I'm not always the best at conversations, I'm one of the craziest people I know. I wouldn't have it any other way.
What do you think is the most common stereotype about authors--or any occupation? Do you exhibit the traits of a misconceived author? Tell me in the comments below, and God bless!
I have a couple different ways of coping with stress: the first is to simply break down crying, which has happened to me twice this week and I'm blaming college algebra. The second is to laugh hysterically, but I scare myself into thinking I'm going insane, which I might be. The third is to eat ice cream straight out of the carton. I love ice cream. It's been said that I'd be fired from Baskin-Robins for giving out scoops that were too big.
It's not that I was planning on working at Baskin-Robins in the first place. I'd start quoting movies to customers, which I'm pretty sure is against most stores' policies. My hair makes me look even crazier--it's directly imported from Scotland. My braid is so thick that it would show up in an x-ray.
It's probably a good thing, then, that my hair wasn't braided that fateful day in September of 2014. I wanted to be Supergirl when I was five, and I've always wanted to fly. I just never wanted to fly over the handlebars of my bicycle after I'd gotten the swim bag stuck in my front wheel. That's exactly what happened, and I went to the ER. And got x-rays. And now, to quote Ice Age 3: was I killed? Sadly, yes--but I lived. With a sling and a wrist brace. For six weeks.
To ease the pain that wasn't there, I was prescribed Tylenol with codeine in it. First off, that sounded illegal. It also knocked me out. I slept for twelve hours the next night, to date the longest I've ever slept, then fell asleep in the doctor's waiting room the next day. I think we dumped half that bottle of medicine down the sink.
What do you do to cope with stress--and, more importantly, what's your favorite ice cream flavor? I'd love to know in the comments below! God bless, and have a wonderful, stress-free weekend!
--A note for the reader by Lukas McCamden.
"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God"--2 Corinthians 3:5.
Ever since the Lord gave me the precious gift of Alynn, this verse has contained a special significance to me. Of all the people on St. Anne's Cleft (and indeed, on its surrounding islands), I feel that I am the least qualified to raise a child. Not only has it been thirty-nine years since my father went home to be with the Lord, I was not raised with the privilege of a mother or sisters. I have spent many hours in prayer, asking God why He entrusted me with a child.
The Lord answered me with two statements: First, that Alynn is hardly a child anymore; and second, that my adequacy is of no effect. Was Abraham, after all, worthy of being called the father of our faith? Were Mary and Joseph qualified to raise the Christ child? In the same way, it is neither by title nor talent that we are counted worthy to bear the blessings of God.
If divine tasks were given only to those who deserved it, there would be no one to fulfill the will of God on this earth. Just as a craftsman can make do with whatever materials he has, so can God work His plans through flawed individuals.
I know not of the problems facing the twenty-first century church, but I assure you they are no different than those of a thousand years ago. Perhaps God has placed a call on your life, one that you do not feel adequate for or worthy of. Perhaps you feel that you do not know enough Scripture, have not said enough prayers, not sung enough hymns, to lead someone to Christ. Perhaps you are called to take upon yourself a position of leadership in your church, but feel that you are unworthy.
I too have felt these fears, and they are unfounded. God used Peter, a fisherman; Matthew, a tax collector; to found the early church. Thrice, Peter denied that he even knew Christ, and yet though his sermon on the day of Pentecost, three thousand people were saved. Our God, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, has not altered His standards. He asks that His children be receptive, obedient, and willing to grow. The blood of Christ covers everything else.
If I were to chose any child on this earth to raise, I would have chosen Alynn. Her spirit is gentle, her mind receptive, her heart yearning for the love of Christ. She is my daughter in Christ, and I strive with the grace of God to raise her as I should. The Lord forgives my failures, and I know she does as well. I simply pray that every day, step by step on the path the Lord has called me on, I grow into the man He has called me to be.
Have you ever tried to draw a face? Not just any face--it has to look like a person, a person you can't look at while you're drawing. In fact, it's a person you've never seen before.
Like most writers, I try to find reference pictures for my characters. I've found some pretty good ones, actually, by stealing characters from TV shows. But I have not yet found a good picture for Drostan, other than one pencil sketch that shows him as 18 or 20-ish. So, I tried to draw him with the colored pencils I got for my fourteenth birthday.
I kid you not when I say my dad looked over my shoulder and asked, "Who's the alien?"
When it comes to drawing, I want to be like my friend who, out of privacy, will not be named. I used to be insanely jealous of this girl. She wrote a 80,000-word rough draft in 30 days, draws incredibly realistic pictures, writes calligraphy as good as a computer program, knits, and keeps track of her two younger brothers while her mom works. I respect her so much that, when I first met her, I wanted to be her.
But I'm not her, and I'm never going to be. And that's a good thing! God made her who He wanted her to be, and He made me just right for me. And He made you who you are for a reason, even if you can't see it yet. Last night, my youth pastor, Tyler McKinney, said that our weaknesses draw us into community. It forces us to find people who are not better than, but different from us; people whose strengths mirror our weaknesses. Most of my friends are better at drawing than I am. Guess who I'm going to ask to draw book covers for me? My dad is great at keeping a clean house, and my mom proofreads his emails. Do you see how we need each other?
I'm getting better at drawing, but I'm far from being a one-girl book-making machine. I can hardly navigate Facebook, much less design graphics for a cover. Forget calligraphy; I'm on my second calligraphy pen in two weeks and it's still the wrong one. But I play piano. I got first place in a competition last summer, and I now have the honor of playing keys on my worship team. Who needs calligraphy when you have "Carol of the Bells" quite literally at your fingertips?
What are your talents? How can you use them to help others--or better yet, glorify God? How have others helped you? Tell me in the comments below; I'd love to hear from you! God bless, and have a wonderful day!
I'm sure you've heard stories from faith-based media, saying that they've seen the hand of God in their productions. For instance, take The Bible miniseries. Guideposts magazine records several incidents in which weather was perfect and lost costume pieces were returned. When Jesus references the wind while speaking with Nicodemus, a strong breeze almost knocks over the set. It's things like this that speak to our hearts, saying, "There really is a God!"
I know there is.
I was at Aldi's with my mom, buying sandwich-making material, when I ran into something. It was a package of Lynder cheese--well, psuedo-cheese. I think it said on the package that it was an imitation dairy product. But the brand name, Lynder--Alynn's nickname--really made my day. It was even spelled correctly.
Things like that aren't really considered "miracles" by today's theologians. They're "confirmations"; little signs that we're on the right track, kind of like smiles from heaven. I've seen too many of them to remember. Most of the time, it's the name of a character popping up in a random place, especially on a TV show.
Of course, there have been blessings, like finding reference pictures for my characters. You'd laugh if you saw most of them, because they're characters off popular TV shows. (Leif, however, looks like actor Travis Fimmel with long hair and a goatee.) Every website visitor is a blessing, and so is every Wattpad reader. I'm truly blessed by all of you.
Provision is in a class all by itself, but it's one of the most important things God can give. On occasion, when I need to write a particularly wonderful scene or quote, I just close my eyes and let my fingers fly. The words don't come from me; they come from God. And they usually end up being attributed to Lukas McCamden.
But then again, maybe Albert Einstein was right when he said, "There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle." We've all seen miracles--from a tiny puppy to the dead being raised to the sunlight kissing our cheek as we walk down a twilit road. Maybe it was a miracle that a full-time high school student was able to write a 30,000-word rough draft in 30 days. Maybe it was a miracle that her writing was historically accurate in ways she didn't know about. Maybe it was a miracle that she wrote the book at all.
We don't know all of the ways God works, and maybe He's done things for me that I can't even see yet. What has He done for you? Tell me in the comments below! God bless y'all, and have a wonderful 2017.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.