Something Delicious about a Story

“There’s something delicious about writing those first few words of a story, you can never quite know where they’ll take you.”

Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit, in Miss Potter.

Reading a story can take you places you never imagined, but writing a story can take you even farther. When I tell people that I write using a narrative arc, they usually assume that I write fictional narratives. But anything can have a narrative arc—including your life.

When I look back on the events of my life, I see the narrative evolving. And it still is. All of our lives are.

There is a steady progression of events that have lead to climaxes, disappointments and triumphs. There are characters who come and go along the way. The beauty of the story of our lives is that the narrative doesn’t end. As long as we keep moving forward, the story does as well.

So both non-fiction and fiction are story. You just have to look for the monumental events to see it. You just have to reflect a bit. And beginning a new part of a story, or a new story in general, can be delicious.

What part of the story are you in? Drop me a line and let me know.

For further resources, check out Donald Miller’s video series Into the Elements and my personal favorite, William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.

(Note: Several of the links in this post are affiliate links.)

3 Rules for Business

I have three rules for business. Well, I actually have a lot more, but living by these three will help:

1. Never drop the ball. Want to make people happy? Make your number one priority not dropping the ball. Manage your tasks, your schedule, your life. Don’t let someone else do it for you. Follow up. And then follow up again. Not dropping the ball doesn’t mean passing it. If it involves you, it’s your responsibility.

2. Be serious about managing your contacts. This means remembering things about your contacts, backing up your database, and being ready for random questions at any given moment. I use Business Contact Manager for this, and highly recommend this.

3. Be on time for appointments and focus on your appointment. There are many things that require our attention during the day, and these things can make us appear not present. We have to decide to make the person in our office our focus. I find that mentally adjusting for a meeting 15–30 seconds before  really helps. (Of course, this is in addition to planning for the meeting.) I think I will always have to work at this rule–it’s a constant battle.

What are your three rules for business?

(Note: The link for Microsoft Business Contact Manager is an affiliate link.)

White Board Man, a Writer and a Cruel Editor

Some people write because it helps them think. I write because it helps me stop thinking.

I regularly find myself on idea overload. Before I know it, I’m at a white board, Good Will Hunting style: writing like a mad man and drawing like a bad impressionist. It works, but the method must be combined with a product of some kind: prose.

Prose is like a pause button. It forces you to think about the big picture in one freeze frame. Unlike ideas, prose stays in place, on paper, until you press play again. The pause/play function of writing helps me to see everything in sequence and understand how it all fits together.

Writing eventually runs into the big, bad editor. When you’re both the white board guy, and the pedantic editor, you have trouble being satisfied. So what do you do? In Seth Godin’s words, you ship it: You improve it, you get over the notion of making it perfect, and then you let the world see it.

This blog is about the process: the how.

For now, I’ll say this (I’ll explain later):

– Writing is rewriting

– Editing is a process

– Life happens before, during and after a thought hits paper.

Deciding what motivates you is paramount. My motivation is Bible study. What’s yours? Decide now.

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