To those of you who attended the ACFW conference, welcome back! I can't wait to read all about it on your blogs, hear about your experiences, and learn more about this industry. Was it everything you hoped it would be?
In honor of those who went the conference who probably have new profound insight that they would love to share (and we'd love to read) and for all of us who are constantly learning along the way, today's post focuses on advice. My question to you is:
What is the best advice (in regards to writing--this could be about publishing, the writing process, etc) that you've ever heard? And why?
I've spent a large part of this past year learning and researching about this industry. Back in the spring, I jokingly referred to it as my own MFA program, just without all the official bells and whistles of an actual university. I think if someone were to sit before me and ask, "What have you learned so far?" my mind would swim and I'd have trouble placing all the details. It seems like the more I learn, the more I realize I still don't know.
I'd have to say that the best advice I received as far as writing came from an English professor I had for three consecutive semesters. She was hilarious, at times very irreverent, and very passionate about literature. This professor constantly pushed me to be better as a writer. The first class of hers' that I took was a creative writing course. We studied Flannery O'Conner (love her!) and wrote our own original pieces. She was so personable as a teacher but brutal in marking our papers. A compliment from her was like gold. She did hand them out, even if she didn't agree with or even like the subjects of our works. This professor really knew what she was talking about. The best thing she ever said to me was:
"Don't tell me about love*. It's vague; it's abstract and generic. Tell me about a toaster. Tell me how it smells, feels, and looks. What is it about that toaster that is so important? And what can that toaster tell us about love*?"
Basically, it was the first time I ever heard about "Show vs. Tell". I'm definitely still learning, still trying to get better at it. But I'll never forget her advice. It's followed me, along with a few other choice pieces for the past six years.
So there it is. My lifetime of writing, college education based on English, and the years spent in the pursuit of publishing, all summed up in one simple image:
What about you? What advice changed how you write or pursue publication?
See y'all Thursday!
By the way, I don't know if any of y'all have seen what's happening in Georgia right now, but just wanted to ask y'all to pray. We've been in serious drought for years; so much so that Lake Lanier, which powers much of Atlanta, was seriously low. However, God has really brought the rain... only, it's not stopping. It's rained every day for five days straight-- not light showers, but flash flooding types of rain. Now, roads are washed out, people have died, creeks and rivers have overrun their boundaries. We're having to cancel schools. It's too much for our ground to soak in so it's all running off. If y'all would just pray for safety, shelter for those who've lost it, and for a break in the rain that would be great. It would be nice to see the sun again. It hasn't shown much in the past 2 weeks. Rumor has it that fall has some beautiful colors! Thanks!
**substitute the word "love" for grace, redemption, compassion, etc., all concepts without concrete roots. Image found on google images.
47 minutes ago