A pencil in God’s Hand

“I’m just a pencil in the hands of God”
This is a special week, a week when a life well lived was celebrated. Twenty years after the person departed this terrestrial ball, but a life that still impacts us today!
This week the Catholic Church celebrated Mother Theresa by ‘canonizing’ her and making her into a ‘Saint’
Think about it for a moment, one obscure nun living in a small convent in one of the slums of India, yet hers was a life that touched billions.
“I’m just a pencil in the hands of God” was often the way she’d describe herself.
Okay, apart from the reference to being a ‘pencil’ what’s it got to do with writing? Actually, for me, it’s got everything to do with it! It’s not just the love of writing, and the desire to be a ‘writer’ that keeps me going at this, but also the thought of ‘making a difference’ that really drives me.
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I want my writing not just to entertain, (that in itself is a great goal) but to encourage, to inspire and hopefully to motivate people to reach beyond themselves, to become ‘pencils in the hand of God’ and write his love on the hearts of those who need it, in other words, in on the hearts of all of us.
I actually started this blog nearly a week ago but it just didn’t seem the right time to post, but now, I’m sat here at the computer and it just seems the right time to finish off.
I suppose I’ve always been one of these ‘idealists’ that wanted their life to ‘make a difference’, to help shape the world we live in and leave it a better place than when I arrived, is that too much do you think?
Mother Theresa was so special because she believed in the dignity of every Human being, no matter how poor and destitute they were, to her they all had dignity.
I too want to be that ‘pencil in his hands’ and write the things that bring us closer to him as well as closer to each other.

The Writer’s ‘Job’

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn about love and fate, and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured!”
I would so like to claim those few sentences as my own, but they’re not. They are the opening lines in a book I’ve just started reading, the book is called “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts, and it’s a very challenging book about the time he spent in Bombay India.
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Actually the book is about the human ‘condition’ but what is that ‘human condition?’
If we asked a hundred people what it was I bet we’d get a hundred and one answers! Everyone would have their idea about it, but most come to some form of compromise they agree on, but it’s not what they truly think!
To me, that’s what writing is about, as writers we get, we create the opportunities to explore all the different emotions and feelings that make up what we think and feel.
We create the opportunities to take people ‘out of their comfort zone’. To explore “What it means to be Human”
Be it the adventure story that gives people a shot of adrenaline, or a love story that takes us on the journey that love and the sometime consequences of heartbreak, or the ‘happy ever after’ they’re all part of what makes us Human, and they’re all part of what we as writers get to explore, isn’t that exciting?

An interesting perspective

“Writing is like breathing”
I’ve been trying to come up with some ‘inspiring’ thought to share on my blog all weekend, and now, just as the weekend is coming to a close the ‘MUSE’ has finally shown up giving me an idea what to write!
Actually it’s because I’ve just watched an interview by one of the greats of New Zealand literature, Joy.Cowley. she’s 80 this year and still writing!
As she was speaking she was basically saying “a writer writes because they can’t not write” it’s like a Human needs oxygen to breathe and a writer needs to write, we can’t help it!
Another thing she said was “The person who said you only live once has never read a book!”
The idea behind that one was that as we read a book it’s as if we take on the ‘lives’ of the people in that book, and for a few brief moments, as we’re reading we ‘become them!’
So how about it, do you take people to another ‘level’ or realm with the writing? It’s a great thing to aim for.
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Just after the interview was another one about a young skateboarder making it big in the USA, she’s only 16 and although her Mum was terrified of some of the stunts etc Mum  said “it’s like a drug, she can’t go more than a couple of days without skating or she gets grouchy”
That got me thinking, “do I get grouchy if I don’t write?”
I know for me it starts to feel like a dam being blocked up, the sluice gates closed and pressure building, opening those gates gives life and power to a dry land, that’s what writing to me!
How about you?

Changes

                  They say there are only three constants in life. They are death, taxes and change! It’s the last one I want to think on at the moment as the first happens to us all eventually and I only know one man alive who hasn’t paid tax in thirty years and he’s running for president of the country where he hasn’t paid tax! (But he has paid an army of lawyers and tax accountants so maybe it’d be cheaper just to pay the tax?)
                   People talk about changes as if they’re a ‘necessary evil’ to be endured, but is that a good way to look at them?
                    We know they happen, so what about getting prepared for them and not just ‘enduring’ but pushing forward and even (dare I say it) helping shape those changes?
Sounds strange right? But it’s true, take a moment to think about what you want, then have a think about what it’s going to take to get there, then make whatever changes are needed.
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                     For me, those changes at times have taken me across lands and to some very different cultures, I’ve had the choice of ‘grin and bear it’ and at times that’s what I did, but there’s also been the option to not just embrace the change, but take the time to ‘shape the change’
                     One phrase that I used to hear a lot, and one that I’ve sought to try and live by is that in this world there’s three types of people.
  1. Those in the news. Things happen to them and they often don’t know why. They don’t always understand it, sometimes we think of these folks as being the ‘perpetual victim’ as they aren’t in control.
  2. Those who watch the news. They see stuff happening, but it’s always to someone else and it doesn’t really affect them! The world is full of these folks, the spectators, those who sit and watch life slip by then one day they wake up and it’s too late, life has gone by and they missed their dream. They’re now at the end and no one knows who they were!
  3. Those who make the news! These are the people who make a difference with their lives, think of any well known person and you’ll come across a ‘news-maker’ but the great thing is not all of them are famous! Think of the people making a real difference in your community, they’re the news-makers and their impact is huge. They not only embraced change, they’re leading the way!

“If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

So what about you? which one are you? I know which one I want to be, I’ve wanted it since I was a teenager and I’ll never stop being that idealist, I’ll never stop chasing that want to be one who makes a difference, it’s just the way I make the difference might change!

Part of my dream

‘Detours’

Ever watched “The Amazing Race?”

As I was thinking about this week and what to write here I found myself thinking about that program. We used to watch it almost every week!

It was a simple plot cum idea, just twelve teams usually of two would set off on a race round the world. Usually there were a number of ‘legs’ that the teams had to navigate and each team usually had to have some form of ‘game plan’ to work to right? Just like we have to have if we really want to achieve our dreams, we need a game plan. That’s what we’ve been talking about in the last couple of weeks, but there were other things in the race that kind of made it fun!11235804_1079400622074946_6831596756861173236_n

Detours

Remember them? They were the little things that Phil the creator used to put in that the teams had to deal with, usually something related to the country that the people were in and that could have an interesting effect on the race.

If a team got it right and got through the detour properly they gained a lot and even sometimes moved towards their goal of finishing the ‘leg’ faster than the rest, but played badly they could become a nightmare and the team would be the one disappearing from the race.

“Everyone can write!” I bet you’ve heard that before. It’s true we all learn to actual act of writing in school, and some of us are even good at doing it with really neat handwriting, some even learn to use computers and can type out on a computer keyboard (hey, when I started we were still using typewriters and tippex! remember that?” but is that really what they mean?

Yes everyone can ‘write’ in that sense, but if you want to learn to ‘write’ in a way that people are going to love the stories you write then it’s time for a detour!

Yes you heard me right, it’s time to take a detour from writing that ‘blockbuster’ and next movie script.

I’ve had a couple of ‘detours’ in the years of learning how to write, actually this blog is a part of those detours as I discovered that part of actually getting people to read  your stories is to get them to read your writings on a regular basis. (Am I being successful? It’s probably too soon to tell, but you’ll have a better idea than I will anyway). Each of those ‘detours’ was a place that I learned a lot from

Copypress is a great place to start

There’s a lot of ‘badmouthing’ that you’ll come across about the ‘content mill’ in some parts of the net, and the truth is a lot of it is warranted, but some of them are totally outstanding and if you want to really learn how to ‘write’ then I can’t recommend CopyPress highly enough! (even as I’m writing this I’m seriously considering going back to them as it really was so rewarding, but at the moment I work a sixty hour week with my regular day job so I’ll ‘hold off’)

How about free lessons on how to write creatively. Would you be interested?

‘Faithwriters’ is for those who love to explore writing from a Christian perspective

Here’s another site that I enjoyed so much and benefited a lot from by working through some of the modules that are free. Faithwriters have some great resources that I really enjoyed and have decided maybe it’s time to take another look at!

‘Detours’ are only a hassle if you let them be! Truth is they can be great learning tools that teach us so  much about where we eventually want to be. So how about it, are you ready for a ‘detour’ in order to get to your destination both better equipped and quicker?

What about you, have you found any of those detours that now, when you look back you see they had a great benefit to you?

Let us know below.

‘One brick at a time’

Okay, so we’ve got a dream, and we’ve decided we’re going to actually “do something about it” but how?

How do we take that idea and turn it into a reality?
A couple of years ago I was working in a stores for a vehicle manufacturer, it was a job I hated, but hey it was a job and it paid the bills (sort of).
We’d take a basic cab and chassis in the space of a month the lads there would turn that basic frame into a fully functional Ambulance, here’s how they did it, ONE PIECE AT A TIME!
Simple right?
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Start at the beginning and work ‘one piece at a time!’ but which one’s the first piece?
With the Ambulances it was the floor, but they also needed screws, glue and the plywood.
It’s like that with our dreams, to build them we’re going to need the basics, and preferably someone who’s built an Ambulance before! Someone to guide us through the first steps.
How about a writing course? A good one will take you through those first steps.
Actually I was just listening to a YouTube video clip that talks about one of the first building bricks of building that dream is to actually ‘dream’ it. To get out there and actually start doing things as if you belonged in that area.
My dream is to be a writer! I’d love to be one that have to work for a living, but maybe the place to start isn’t the stopping of work but the getting out there and practicing the craft and who knows maybe even ‘having a go’ and publishing
I know some of you reading this blog have already taken those ‘first steps’ but for you I’ve got a question too. What’s your next step? How’s your preparation going?
Leave a comment below

‘Old dogs, new tricks’

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks right? I’ve discovered that’s a total load of baloney and guess what, we’re living proof that it is!

I bet most of you reading this blog have a dream that you want to achieve. Some of you might have had that dream since childhood but quite a few found it out in later life and thought ‘Wouldn’t that be great’ well guess what, it’s like teaching an old dog a new trick, and it can be done. Just ask my dog Barney.

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See Barney’s eight years old and a Cairn Terrier. He’s spent the last eight years convinced that he can’t jump onto our sofa, or the chairs in the living room. We’ve spent the last eight years convincing him he can’t but a few weeks ago my beloved wife decided to change that idea and taught him that not only can he but it’s actually very warm and cozy when he does. Guess what, he learned a new trick and it’s one he loves performing which brings me to the next point, if you can teach an ‘old dog’ a new trick maybe this ‘old dog’ can learn some too!

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Here we are together.

So maybe there’s a way that I can ‘learn new tricks’ like writing a blog or even writing books that people can enjoy, and maybe there’s a way you too can explore doing those things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the courage to try, after all “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” or CAN YOU?

Leave a comment with your thoughts below.

Lawrence

 

Listening to the Dream

Got a dream? Have a plan. First part is listen.
Read any of the positive thinking people or anything about bringing your dreams to reality and the first thing they’ll tell you is “You need a plan!”
That’s all well and good, but how do you come up with one?
Do go sit in a corner and refuse to move until you’ve got it all written down? You might be there a while.
What about going to seminars about ‘plan making’. Are they any good?
Truth is they’re all good at the right time, but there’s the key, it’s ‘AT THE RIGHT TIME!’
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‘The lot is cast on the lap, but every plan is from the Lord’ (proverbs 16 verse 33) If he’s giving those ‘plans’ then it stands to reason he’s also telling us how we can achieve them right? and if that’s so then how about taking a little while to stop and ask him “Okay God, how do we achieve this then?”
You might be one of those who don’t know if he really exists, or even don’t think he does, guess what? you can still benefit from that few moments stopping and saying “Okay, how am I going to achieve this?” and wait a while until a plan begins to come. In the end it’ll save you a lot stress later on.
These are my thoughts on the beginnings of a plan, I’d like to hear your thoughts on them, what works for you? Leave a comment below and let’s share some thoughts on it.

“I have a dream”

‘I have a dream’
They were the famous words that Martin Luther King uttered that changed the face of not just one nation but many. But don’t we all have dreams? Sure, they may not be as major and impact so many lives as his did, but are they any less important?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I can remember the day my wife asked me that question.
It was ten years ago, and I was forty five at the time. It was half in jest, but only half!
We’d been here in NZ about seven years at the time and I’d been through a few jobs ‘trying to find the right fit’ but none of them seemed to be right.Mid life crisis? I don’t think so really.
It was more that I just don’t fit doing office or factory work, too much stress FOR THE BOSS! Yep, you read it right. I caused too much stress for them, it’s what you get with ‘square pegs in round holes’. I’d always been used to working with some degree of ‘autonomy’ so having to do things someone else’s way just didn’t work!
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So what did I want to be ‘When I grew up?’

I’ve always loved “spinning a good yarn” and thought it would be great to do something with that. The desire to be a writer was beginning.
That’s why I recently took the huge ‘leap into the dark’ as it were and began writing my first Novel, actually it’s published on Amazon and Kindle now under the title ‘Sting of the Scorpion”
Here’s the link
How about you? What’s your desire? Are you ‘giving towards it? Leave a comment below.

Inspiration

One of the main things that any writer has to deal with is where the inspiration comes from? Ask any writer every one witl, give you a different answer!

For me, I think the best way to deal with that question is to tell you a bit about the story I’m writing at the moment, maybe that’ll help.

The inspiration actually comes from a few things, firstly many years ago I was visiting Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and went out for a walk with one of the folks I was staying with, we were just outside Almaty and walking along a country lane, it was about six years after the Iron curtain came down and ‘interesting things’ were happening in the region.

We came round a corner and saw this monstrous house with men carrying Uzi’s and Ingrams machine guns, we managed to stay out of sight, but quickly realized the house belonged to the Russian Mafia, the serious ruthless gangs that were taking over the criminal underworld at the time. That stuck with me for a while and a few years later when I was writing a short story I remembered that and it kind of got hinted at in a short story, the story went down well and I think the tutor said it would make a ‘passable’ beginning to a novel.

Fast forward a few more years and a couple of attempts and the story kind of changed from taking place in Central Asia to Kurdistan, an area I do know really well as I spent three years there in the Iraqi side (probably explains why the Kurds come off well in the story).

The big sifference is I’ve now got a plan for how I’m going to get it into print using Amazon’s ‘CreateSpace’ and Kindle so that it’s going to be on Kindle as an eBook as well.

The Story will probably be out around the end of July, so hang in there and plan for reading it then, or visit my sites on ‘Hubpages’ and read some of the installments.

Here it is http://hubpages.com/literature/Sting-of-the-Scorpion-part-1