Starting the New Year with the Best Book

Living Write in 2017

It’s January 2nd, and I’m working hard to make this year better than the last. I had high hopes for 2016, most of which turned out less-than-stellar. But I have been working on my writing craft more, and that includes reading (and listening to, via Audible) more books.

I’ve been focused on POWER WORDS after a great workshop in September. Power words are those little nouns, verbs, and the occasional adjectives that give the sentence punch. Where are they placed in the sentence? Where will they be the most effective? Is there something more precise and impactful?

Where Do I Find Inspiration?

This last year I’ve read or listened to books by some of my favorite local authors, as well as recent best-sellers such as Once a Crooked Man and Girl on the Train. I’ve also spent a great deal of time studying my favorite classic authors like Agatha Christie, Daphne DuMaurier, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett. I watch how the words sound. How they are sewn together for a lovely tapestry. The feelings evoked. Most of the classic authors had a gift that many of their contemporaries have yet to embrace.

I would be remiss to exclude my biggest inspiration, though. The Good Book. The number one bestseller of all time tops that list for a reason. It’s not only about faith or religion. The Holy Bible is filled with a message of hope. It includes the most murderous villains, the most humble heroes, and thousands of stories of intrigue, history, wisdom, and truth.

And Power Words…

Just as my September workshop instructor showed me a great process for discovering power words, my best friend and I have spent a little time last year Bible Journaling. We find a verse that stands out with whatever we may be dealing at the time, and then we re-write it, in an artistic way, in the margin. We focus on those power words in the verse. We illustrate what they mean to us. I began this morning with a verse that has always been precious to me. (Power words italicized by me.)

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

This is a powerful message for me because I am a control freak. I often want to design the plot– as a writer, it’s kinda what I do– and then I get frustrated when others go off-script. This wisdom reminds me that God sees the big picture and not just this chapter that I’m in right now. That if I will respond with faith instead of resisting, I’ll have a more direct path to the success the Lord has established for me. And that is powerful.

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