From site creator Charlie Westerman: This is a blog post my mom did on her blog. I’m gonna start featuring her to guest write for Play Onward when she can. She’s a good writer when she is communicating about something she is passionate about (and has the time to write about it!). And I don’t know many people more passionate about their faith than my mother. She challenges and encourages daily. Here’s what she has to say about embracing the unexpected…
The Best Writing Advice I’ve Ever Received
I’ve a shelf at home devoted to books about writing. I’d say I might even have two shelves devoted to those books now. I’ve read most of them and some are better than others. But the best writing advice I’ve ever received didn’t come from a book. It actually occurred to me one morning when I was lying in bed, not wanting to get up and do my job. Maybe it came from heaven, I don’t know. But the advice was this: Love your reader.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t so easy, actually.
Writing is something most of us do alone. We might collaborate on a screenplay or something, but with a book or a blog, we are alone in front of our computers, tapping out our thoughts. It’s not like the reader is sitting behind us, looking over our shoulder making comments. We’re pretty disconnected from whoever it might be who will ultimately be benefited by our work. For this reason, it’s hard to remember that, well, people will actually be benefited by our work.
Add to this, most writers don’t think there work really matters. I’ve met writers who have sold thousands of books and still don’t think anybody’s life has been changed by their efforts. There’s an enemy whispering in their ear, I think.
I wrote four books and sold millions before I realized I was helping anybody. Sure I knew people were reading my stuff, but I didn’t realize they were making better decisions because we’d sat down for a few hours and I shared my heart.
But these days, that’s about all that’s keeping me going. Just the thought that somebody out there might not leave their spouse, or quit on that book they’re writing, or change their career or find God. In all those books about writing filled with tips and tricks, I think loving the reader is the best motivator I’ve found. And it keeps the quality up, too. We do tend to put our best foot forward when we care about somebody.
So the next time you sit down to write a blog, just remember somebody is going to read it and be encouraged.
— From Donald Miller’s Blog.
This is the kind of writing I want this blog to produce. Thank you to Brendon Mount for showing this article to me.
This is an article about the NFL season starting so late. This is exactly what happens to an average college student at a state school from the time your parents drop you off at the dorm to the time you see them at Thanksgiving break. And it captures the difference between freshman year and sophomore year.
“For the 2011 season? Everything basically started on July 26 … and I mean, EVERYTHING. For a team without any continuity from 2010, you’d think this experience would be like moving into a college dorm freshman year — those first few weeks are going to fly by, you’re going to make a few mistakes, you might be a little homesick, you’ll make at least one friend whom you’ll drop by October once you realize he or she sucks, you’ll definitely get too drunk at least twice, and by Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll look back and be happy you survived without failing out or running out of money. For the teams with continuity, you’d think it would be more like sophomore year: Yeah, there are some new faces on the floor, but you know your friends, know where to go, and know what to do. It’s a different level of confidence. It just is.”
— Bill Simmons… culture genius