Content in My Bliss

Someone once said they read books to discover the souls of others. I write to discover my own.

I want to discover who I am. Few things in life teach me who I am more than writing in my journal does. This desire for self-knowledge inspires me to write almost every day.

papers andI seldom lack inspiration to write, but I often lose my focus. I spend too much time doing many things other than writing. Earning money, pursuing life’s pleasures, and trying to please others causes me to get lost in the fog of daily existence. I get tired making a living in a stressful environment. I feel waves of people, emotions, and work wash over me and knock me off my feet.

I search for my footing in my journal. I look for meaningful reflections in my sentences and metaphors, and my journal becomes a symbol revealing my true self.

I want to be good at a few things in life. Conveying accurate images through my choice of words is one of them. I want to use my gifts well.

 Simple things in life inspire me to write. My heart lifts when I see a male cardinal in a bare tree above the mounds of white snow. My soul warms when I see a strong, male hand hold a tiny child’s little fingers. Fathers teaching sons and daughters the sacrifices needed to reach maturity turn my pages. Lovers look into each other’s eyes and inspire me to paint the scene with words. Close friends sitting together, silently drinking coffee, as they watch moisture form on a window while the cold, Nebraska wind howls outside makes me warm to the possibilities.

I am urged to write when I feel friendly eyes locate me in a crowded room; when loved ones bare their souls to me; when a student comes to class with the attitude, “I am ready to learn today, and you can teach me.”

write worldI write eating gumbo, listening to Cajun music. I look for pen and paper when I hear the carol, “Silent Night,” pierce the air on Christmas Eve. I sit down under a tree to record my emotions when my daughter chooses on her own to take the training wheels off and ride her bicycle solo for the first time. Ray Charles’ “Georgia,” Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” and the children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could” all speak to me in the same way. I can not pass up these opportunities.

When my work captivates me, when I hear, “Daddy, I love you!” when I see outstretched hands reaching for a baby’s face, when I feel soft fingers on my shoulder, when I hear the words, “Everything will be all right, now. I am here with you!” I feel fortunate if I can put half of what I feel onto paper.

 When I remember my writing passions, I stay on the path meant for me. These times inspire me to write. I am content in my bliss.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]David Martin is the founder of Fine Lines community. Also he is a writing professor, the Fine Lines Camp director, and head editor of the journal.[/author_info] [/author]

What I Have in My Heart I Must Out

ondays with martin“Have you ever had a realization that the whole beautiful, terrible crazy drama of life was perfect? Sometimes, this realization comes during holy moments, those brief suspensions of time when eternity steals over us, and we feel the inherent integrity of life” (Joan Borysenko, Fire in the Soul).

Recently, I was reading a CD cover on Ludwig van Beethoven’s concertos and came across his quote:

“I have never thought of writing for renown and glory. What I have in my heart I must out: That is why I write.”

Beethoven’s story still inspires many people. He discovered at age 26 that he was losing his hearing, became moody and withdrawn due to his embarrassment of impending deafness, and was ashamed to tell people to “speak up.” “Alas! How could I possibly refer to the impairing of a sense which should be more perfectly developed in me than in others, a sense which once was perfect.”

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Market-Write Tip #1

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that it only takes one book to earn you the title of published author and all of the benefits thereof. The bad news is: One book isn’t enough.

However, back to the good news, you are an artist and the most important process you are involved in is creating. Then creating more.

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Market-Write Tip #1: Create a body of work.


The first thing a body of work gives you is authority.

And, in business terms, consumer confidence. Keep in mind for many authors, their first consumer is a potential agent or publisher. Having works published via literary journals, winning contests, and magazine publications are all part of the resume to garner attention and recognition.

The second point to continual creation is the mastering of the craft.

Every author wants to create a break-out first-time novel. For example The Book Thief is praised as a “sensational debut novel,” when in fact this is Markus Zusak’s 4th published book. On his website, Zusak’s primary writing goal is “I’m always trying to write a better book than the last one. I want to grow with every book.” Authors, like every artist, clarify their voice and perfect their craft first and foremost through creation.

There are certain artist who strive for fame, musicians in particular, like the legendary band Kiss who set out from the start to become rock stars. One of the many marketing tools they utilized was to aggressively create and release new albums, even early on. Before Kiss really “hit it big” they released 4 albums in less than 3 years. Kiss’s commercial success came with their live double album, something that was only possible with a backlog of original music. This live album was recorded in Detroit, Cleveland, Wildwood, and Davenport – not in giant arenas. However, the release gave the impression of longevity and stardom, just what they needed to gain the necessary momentum into mainstream popularity.

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5 Things a Writer Should Never Do

*Today’s guest Blog is by author and Fine Lines editor Marcia Calhoun Forecki

There are plenty of blogs for writers which are positive. Bloggers giving advice on the six things every writer should know about combating writer’s block, seven things to jump start your creativity, or eight ways to end a sentence without using a preposition. And although no one likes a negative Nelly, today I’m taking that honor and talking about:

Five things a writer should never do.

  • Never plagiarize. That one is pretty obvious. If there’s a code for writers it has to be do your own work.


  • Never think you will remember a great idea or sentence in the morning. This does not happen. Between the time the idea comes to you at night while brushing your teeth before bed, or while tossing and turning before sleep, many things can happen. In one night alone, you can lead a brigade of dragons to save the kingdom’s supply of toilet paper, lunch with Mary Todd Lincoln and your high school band teacher, or even kiss your first true love while he turns into Mr. Peanut. Who could be expected to remember a sentence or even a great idea after all that action.

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My Top 5 Reasons Writing is Better than Sleeping

*Today’s Blog is by Fine Lines editor and contributor Rhonda Buckhold

Sleepless Nights

papersBeing diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), sleepless nights is a topic for which I am uniquely qualified. It is hard to shutdown an overactive brain. Many of my nights are spent writing, journaling, or list making. Writing is a great way to pass the time. These are my top 5 reasons that writing is better than sleeping.

Reasons From 5 to 1

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Those Lowdown Rejection Blues

There you sit. The message in your hand or on your screen reads,

“Thank you for your submission, but it does not meet our current needs.”

How do you not feel the lowdown rejection blues. You worked hard on that story, novel or poem. You gave up precious sleep to write the drafts. You spent hours at your computer searching for just the right literary journal or publisher for your work. You waited weeks or months for a response, and when it comes it tells you nothing useable. It doesn’t tell you why the publisher didn’t want your work, or how to make it meet the publisher’s “current needs.” What are those needs? Don’t writers have needs, too?

You are in Good Company

Marcia ForeckiWe’ve all heard the statistics. Stephen King received dozens of rejections for Carrie. Margaret Mitchell received 38 rejections for Gone With the Wind. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 26 publishers before it was accepted, and went on to win the 1963 Newberry Award. Nicholas Sparks was turned down 31 times for The Notebook. Anne Frank’s diary was turned down by 16 publishers.

The takeaway from this, of course, is that if you submit your writing for publication you will be rejected. It’s in the writer’s job description. Accept it. So, how do you handle those inevitable rejections? Here are three strategies that will help you get over the rejection blues.

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