The 7 Things About Yourself Challenge
A while back, I was tagged on a social media site to reveal seven things about my writing. I started to ignore it but I’d been injured and was down recovering so I hadn’t yet done my annual life assessment. I figured, this challenge could be a start.
The annual life assessment is another post, but the upshot is to review and make sure you’re putting your time and focus on what most matters to you. Anyway, I responded to the 7 things about my writing challenge. Here’s what I said:
Friend and fellow writer, Kathleen Eagle tagged me to disclose 7 things about my writing, so here goes…
Mmm…, it’s thirty minutes later and I’m still thinking about this. How in the world do I encapsulate a lifetime love affair with writing in seven things? Mmm….
Obviously, that’s not going to work. I need to narrow this down. Set tighter perimeters… Thinking…
The trouble is…that’s it! Got it!
Seven Things about my writing…
1 I love to write. I love the physical aspect of it—seeing the words appear on the screen, the feel of the paper and the pen gliding across the page. I love that I get ideas in goofy places like the grocery store—my hotspot for epiphanies, which proves God has a sense of humor because I don’t cook—and the shower—more evidence, since who takes a pen and pad or recorder with them into the shower? I love the emotional aspect of it—fearlessly dumping all my emotions on the page. The good, the bad and the ugly. Just raw emotion venting unfettered with no thought to the tamping and culling that will come later. I love the spiritual aspect of it. The thoughts and directions the writing takes that I know isn’t from me but coming through me, that tapping in to something bigger and broader and deeper, and knowing I’ll read these implanted nuggets later and wonder where in the world they came from and how they got into my book. Asking myself, “Is that what I really think?” Being surprised by the discovery, and, learning, yes, beneath the surface clutter and filters, it is exactly what I really think. I love it all.
2 My writing is the way I work through mental pretzels. It’s how I resolve conflicts within, and make sense of my world and the world at large. So much doesn’t make sense and confounds me, yet by taking both sides for different reasons in the writing, I conclude things. I might still think things don’t make sense, but those things don’t seem overwhelmingly hopeless. Eventually, I write my way to solutions and resolutions and understanding does come. This helps me understand people, be more empathetic and compassionate. More patient.
3 My writing is my passion. I used to do a lot of things. To want to be a lot of things. Writing nixed the former and expanded the latter. I can be anyone and do anything in a book, then be anyone else and do anything else in another one. That resolved a lifelong challenge for me. When you’re interested in everything, it’s really hard for one thing to hold your interest long. Writing captivates my interest because it gives me the room to explore all my interests. How can oil painting and tennis and crafts and, well, nearly everything else compare with that. I can still do and enjoy those things in books.
Growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut, but then only monkeys and men were allowed to go to space. I wanted to teach. I wanted to be a doctor, an ambassador, a nurse, a lawyer, a politician, an inventor. I wanted to be a philanthropist, a super-hero, and a fairy godmother. Go ahead, you can laugh. I still want those things—and in the writing, I’ve done most of them. I try in tidbits to do them in real life, too. The thing I learned is I can’t do everything, but I can do something in everything. So I’m blessed. I discovered in writing a perfect way to follow my bliss.
I don’t know how many books I’ve written. I have no idea how many articles I’ve written. The books I could figure out. The articles… not happening. It’s in the hundreds somewhere.
It’s not that I don’t care. I care very much. It’s that I dump everything I can into everything I write. And when it’s done, it’s done. Then I have to dump everything I have into the next writing project. If you look back all the time, you’re not looking forward. I’m somewhere around 40, 30-something, books, and a four or five-hundred articles; maybe more. That’s close enough. I’m working on four books and two different series of articles right now. That’s got my focus.
4 I love to write in series and always have because I think in series. I’m not sure why. It could be I’m so invested I hate to let go (that’s true, but might or might not be the reason) or that it’s just the way my mind works. When absorbed, you get lots of story fodder and that makes for intricate stories and a lot of them. Some I write, some I don’t, but I can’t think of a series I’ve done where there isn’t room for more books in it.
5 My writing rules. A long time ago, I was giving a lecture on writing to other writers and someone asked about my writing rules. That set me back on my heels because I had never thought much about rules beyond knowing the ones generally accepted and knowing that there are examples all over of them being broken. So I was kind of stymied. I said I’d have to think on that a minute, and I’d come back with an answer.
We did the rest of the lecture and someone asked if I had the answer on writing rules. I realized I did. “I have one writing rule. I will not write a book I don’t love.”
My thinking was if I didn’t love it, I couldn’t give it my best, and if I couldn’t give my best how could a reader get my best? The reader couldn’t. The book aside, writing takes time. It’s not like you whip out a 300 page book in fifteen minutes. My time is my life, and my life is extremely valuable to me. I’m not wasting a second of it on something I don’t love.
6 It’s amazing how much having to stop and think about this has helped me, which is why I believe there is merit in doing it for every writer.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday busy-ness of things and fill every moment of our day with “things to-do” that somehow become “must-do” lists. It’s easy to turn our priorities upside down. And to lose sight of why we wanted to do what we do in the first place.
7 It’s beneficial to us, and renews us—and our resolve—to review and to make sure what we thought was important to us is important to us. It’s important to define our lines in the sand and not drift into minutia.
Our days all have 24 hours. Our days are all full and get fuller by the moment. The question is are we filling those hours and days, those years, with things that matter to us? Deliberately? Focusing where we need to focus for fulfillment and contentment with our lives? We know for fact that if we don’t do those things, we’re taking the path to regret.
So there were my answers, specifically revealed to me. I shared them, and passed the challenge on to other writers.
I said it then, and say it again now, thank you Kathleen for tagging me with this challenge. For giving me the opportunity to slow down and think and focus and assess. The clarity of vision I found acted as confirmation and affirmation that I am doing what I most want to do, for the reasons I most want to do it. That’s invaluable in so many ways. Certainty of purpose, certainty of path. And so much more…
My hope is that as you read this, regardless of your profession, you’ll feel the niggling question: When’s the last time you named 7 things about your work or life? Why they matter to you? And you’ll stop right then and answer.
I hope you create your list. I hope you find your list as beneficial to you as mine has been to me. I hope you recognize the multitude of benefits to you of accepting the challenge.
© 2015, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.www.vickihinze.com. Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.