“Don’t squish the bread.”
All you moms out there know exactly what I’m talking about.
We’ve conveyed those four words in all types of tones, though usually the command is projected with emphatic, if not menacing undertones.
You’ll go without lunch for a week or Can’t cut the crusts off of crushed bread, Kiddo.
I’m afraid I can’t relate to the latter, nor can my children.
Who in this blessed world has time for cutting the crust off bread?
Besides, there are starving people…
Grocery shopping was notoriously a family event in our house, and “Don’t squish the bread” was a weekly directive.
“Is that like the eleventh commandment?” Fave once asked.
Squishing the bread is akin to a cardinal sin; it’s like culinary sacrilege at its best.
So, I know what you’re thinking: What on God’s green earth does squishing the bread have to do with writing?
Well, first of all it involves a story.
Second of all, a writer’s words are her bread and butter, food for the soul, or any other cliché you can think of.
And today I realized that I have spent the past week squashing some of my most important words, squeezed the very life out of them.
I’m talking about the kind of crushing that leaves that slice of wholesomeness so flattened it looks and feels like a gummy wad of nearly dried-up glue.
It’s totally useless…
Last week I won a $250 pay-it-forward giveaway from Chicken of the Sea and Recipe Renovator, and then I decided to extend the #100YearsOfGood by doubling the donations.
I posted the links on Google and Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram and I asked you to share and share and share.
AND YOU DID! This post has one of my highest click rates of all time!
But after a week of watching that count go up and up, I began to wonder why no one was submitting nominations. Not one. Zilch. NADA.
So I did a bit of sleuthing today and realized my grave, grave mistakes.
1) I had not tested the bit-ly link for the Facebook post.
2) As if that weren’t bad enough, I discovered that the e-mail link on The Five Facets website was broken.
Heaven only knows how many of you have submitted entries to this giveaway!
O…M…G… even worse, how many of you have written for information in the six months since this blog went live?!
Talk about EPIC FAIL.
Falling flat on one’s face.
Suppressing any enthusiasm I might have drummed up.
I squashed those perfectly shaped writing resources and our connection with Olympic-caliber and perfect form.
Fortunately for me, we writers tend to be the forgiving kind, and fixing the little problem is almost as easy as hitting a few delete buttons.
I can also turn my little mishap into a post and offer a few gentle reminders for all of my writing friends out there.
One of the best ways to be successful is to pay attention to those habits and suggestions of those people you deem successful.
Below are a few of the tips I’ve culled from writers who seem to have made a place for themselves in The Writer’s Kingdom.
Eleven Commandments from The (Great) Writer’s Codebook
1) Write because you love wordsmore than you need riches.
2) Write about what you know; it’s comfortable and it makes you look smart and savvy.
3) Write about what you don’t know; it’s a humble reminder that we don’t know everything and it makes everyone else feel good about what they do know.
4) The world is your oyster-ly muse. You can write about anything from tampons to that cat who just stuck his paw in your morning cup o’ joe.
5) Find your voice, that sweet spot that reflects your own cadence and flair and style. Personal style lends credibility and sense when you write about feminine plugs and that favorite feline.
6) Use your active voice; passive voice puts your readers to sleep and begins to feel like a sharp stick poking her in the eye.
7) Put your ass in that seatand your phone in another room.
8) Set a timer everything from showering and social media to writing.
9) Get up and MOVE; your fingers aren’t the only part of your body that needs exercise.
10) Patience is your new best friend. With it you won’t hit that Submitbutton when there are errors awaiting your attention. Without it you just might go stark raving mad before you receive that coveted acceptance letter.
And the eleventh commandment?
It’s actually one of the first things we learn and one of the last so many of us heed.
It’s so important that it’s worth amending The Writer’s Ten Commandments.
Here’s hoping The Writer’s Eleventh Commandment will now stand out as the most important
Are you ready?
THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT FROM THE (GREAT) WRITER’S CODEBOOK
If you have to, pay your kids or the neighborhood’s five-year-old tech-genius to test your links.
There ya have it, Folks.
Now that you’ve sighed and winced and laughed a little, go proof that piece AND please, please, please get busy nominating your favorite teacher for our $500 pay-it-forward teacher supply giveaway!
Ten lucky teachers will each receive $50 in much needed classroom supplies.
Until next time, yours in healing, hope, and happiness.
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