Friday, January 18, 2013

The Power of One Sentence

As writers, we are told to choose our words carefully. Every word used must have purpose. We pick through our sorted list of vocabulary with dauntless effort. It's a lesson non-writers should use when they speak.
Would you allow me a moment of back story? My daughter, she's 10, likes to make crafts made from duck tape. (Yes, "duck".) It's like duct tape, but it's colorful and full of patterns. She makes headbands with big bows on them. It's wonderful and she wears them proudly. Until an adult decided not to be careful with her words. An adult, she is not related to, but is forced to see once a week. And not forced by me! Because if I had my say, this lady would be gone. This adult decided to tell her that she was a baby for wearing her bow. (I had a conversation with this person, but that's not my point today.)

She won't wear those bows anymore. In one sentence, that adult slashed her self-confidence. And it won't matter how much I tell her it's okay to be an individual and she should be proud of herself. It won't matter now, anyway. Some day, but not today. Today, that one sentence has more power than a thousand of mine.

When I'm writing dialogue between Gabriel and Owen, I think, "how will Gabriel react if Owen says that?" Shouldn't everyone mutter those words to themselves before they allow their lips to open and the words to tumble out? I can delete dialogue that doesn't work. You can't take your words back once you've said them. Even if you've asked for forgiveness, your words have left their mark.  

One sentence can be very powerful. From: "Will you marry me?" "Have a nice day." "Thank you." To: "You're a baby for wearing that bow." "Why would anyone like you?" "Why do you dress like that?"

One sentence. Tiny words that left alone mean nothing. But pieced together in a certain way have as much power as an explosion. Choose wisely.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Don't Understand

I need a little help understanding something. Explain to me why not all teachers want to teach? Let's clear up right off the bat I am not referring to ALL teachers. There are some amazing teachers out there. I have friends who are amazing teachers. My daughter has probably the best teacher I've ever seen in action in my children's public school career as well as my own experience as a student.

But let's face it, not everything and everyone are equal. Am I the crazy one to think that if a student doesn't understand a concept that the teacher should try and explain it another way? Isn't that what they are there for? And please spare me any talk about being too busy. If a teacher is too busy to teach then we have a real problem on our hands. It might mean the teacher and the student have to come in early, stay late, or meet during lunch. Gasp! Did I imply extra work? Shame on me.

But why, if a teacher has identified that his/her student is struggling with a concept basic or advanced that they wouldn't pull that student aside and say, "hey, Johnny, let's take a moment to go over this. I want to make sure you understand." Why is the teacher waiting for the student to say, "can you help me?" if the teacher already knows the student is struggling?  Does that make any sense? Not to me, it doesn't.

I can't tell you how this makes me crazy. Rest assured, I'm standing on my soap box right now yelling loud for all to hear. I want to hear what you have to say too. I really want someone to explain it to me so I can understand and as a parent I'm armed with knowledge to help my own children.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Set the Scene for 2013

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe another year has begun, but I know it's going to be a great one. A blog I follow, Writing and Illustrating, listed their 2013 writing goals and I thought what a great idea! Let's do that here at Strong Words!!! Here are some of my goals; writing and otherwise:

Get Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo published and in the hands of readers. (Which will lead to implementing my marketing/business plan)
Blog once a week (The blog needs an update)
Build my writing communities
Write 1000 words a day seven days a week
Finish Welcome to Bibliotheca and get it to my beta readers (I really want to do this by the end of January)
Practice yoga five days a week
Speak at ten schools/groups by June (I have 2 scheduled)
Decide whether or not to become a teen yoga instructor  

I'm sure as the year progresses and life gets in the way some of my goals will have to adjust and new goals will be added. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Have you been thinking about your goals for the new year? Tell us about them. When you share your wishes, hopes, and dreams you become more accountable. So, what are your goals for 2013?