In any worthwhile endeavor, as in life, it is necessary to have, and follow, a set of rules, standards or guidelines so as not to deviate from the true path. The original Ten Commandments were cast in stone and given to Moses on Mt Sinai accompanied by flames, earth tremors, and the blast of a trumpet to emphasize their importance. My laws came to me in less dramatic fashion, but are nonetheless necessary in the pursuit of my purpose. Here they are:
- The Book is the primary Goal; you shall place no other Goal before it.
- You shall make an outline and follow it.
- You shall cease talking so much about writing and JUST WRITE.
- Remember your writing schedule and keep it religiously.
- Honor your Father and Mother by publishing their story.
- You shall not edit until the story has been written in full.
- You shall not adulterate the story with immaterial information.
- You shall not research while writing; details can be filled in later.
- You shall rely on your own perspective and recollection.
- You shall be patient with yourself, do your best, and take pleasure in your accomplishment. Have FUN!
Examination of Conscience and Confession:
I have pursued tangential interests many times and not been faithful to and focused on my primary objective. I did initially make an outline but then decided to extend the timeline of the story, so it is not complete. Too many times to count, I have not been diligent in sticking to my writing schedule and holding the time allotted to that task as sacred. I frequently edited and rewrote while doing the first draft and looked things up on the internet in mid-chapter, even mid-paragraph and mid-sentence. I have talked too much about what I am writing and now must Just Write!
Act of Contrition:
To those who have kindly expressed an interest in this project, I am sorry to have kept you waiting. I apologize for my transgressions and omissions and humbly ask for your continued support, encouragement, and prayers. I promise to work harder, be more productive, and live up to your expectations and my commitment.
I will solicit the aid and intercession of the four Gospel writers by saying ten times each day:
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this page I write upon; inspire my thoughts and guide my hand, so that readers may understand the message from within my heart that I am committed to impart. Amen
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I also came across these Ten Commandments of Good Writing which will be helpful with the style, if not the substance, of my work.
- Watch your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- Proofread carefully- don’t rely on the computer’s spell check.
- Make it interesting.
- If you’re not sure of something, look it up. Use a dictionary, encyclopedia or online reference.
- Have someone critique your work.
- Follow directions.
- Take pride in your work.
- Make it your own—don’t borrow too heavily from other sources.
- Adhere to a schedule (why does that one keep popping up?) so that things are not left to the last minute before deadline.
- Have Fun! Research and writing are hard work; however doing your best will bring a sense of pleasure and accomplishment. (You may have noticed I plagiarized this one—mea culpa!)
Here is one more thing from my archived “Things Worth Saving” that I thought was worth sharing:
Ten Commandments for Good Listening
from the National Council of Jewish Women
- Stop Talking! You cannot listen if you are talking.
- Put the Speaker at ease. Help her feel free to talk.
- Show that you are interested in what is being said. Listen to understand rather than oppose.
- Remove distractions.
- Empathize. Put yourself in the Speakers place to see her point of view.
- Be Patient. Allow plenty of time; don’t interrupt.
- Hold Your Temper.
- Avoid Arguments and Criticism. Even if you win, you lose.
- Ask Questions. Shows you are listening and increases your understanding.
- Stop Talking! This is the first and last because all the other commandments depend on this. You cannot be a good listener while you are talking.
“God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius.”
Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) – Russian Prima Ballerina best known for creating the role of the Dying Swan