Martial Arts Parallel Writing Disciplines

My daughter Nicole( first on left) at award ceremony for her achievement in Tang Soo Do.

At a recent Martial Arts competition I attended to watch my daughter compete had many parallels to the writing life. My daughter attends a school that specialty is Tang Soo Do but there were participants from schools that taught karate and other forms of Martial Arts. The competitors ranged in age from 4 years old to over 60. The students had the opportunity to show their skills in three categories: form, weapons and fighting. The categories were broken down into age and experience divisions

Writing parallels

The parallel became very obvious to me when the organizer of the event insisted that everyone watch the black belt fight competition. As all the other competitors found a place to sir he said. “Watch and see if you can decide who gets the points.” He wanted the students to learn from the best. Observe how the things they were learning come together. What are judges looking for that earns them points?

Martial Arts take many forms in the same way writing does. You can pursue journalism, non-fiction, fiction. True students of MA will reach the top of their class i.e. Tong So Doo and then pursue Karate or another form to learn more. Writers work in many areas. I love writing fiction but I write articles, skits, programs, Bible studies, copy content and this blog because it’s all part of getting better at the craft

Never too old

My daughter is 27 and has only been doing this for two years. She is unique because most women do not take up Tang Soo Do as an adult because it is so physical. She dabbled in another form of MA when she was 9 but the lessons didn’t fit our budget at the time. Nicole has become an inspiration for other women who had an interest because their kids were doing it. Now they compete as well. Her passion increases with each contest and new skill learned. And she has won trophies at every meet she has attended. Grant it in her age category and skill level there are few competitors but the trophy still means a lot.

Age is not relevant when it comes to starting your writing journey. If the desire is there just begin. Become a student of the craft by learning techniques for the writing from the teachers that God brings into your life. Practice your form (grammar, syntax and tight writing), take up your weapons (computer, pen, paper, craft books, tape recorder) and learn how to weld them. Fight the good fight with words that capture your audience. Battle rejection by competing with more submissions to many publications and not letting it discourage you.

Learn from those with more experience

Learn from the black belt authors what it takes to earn points with agents, publishers and your readers. They can teach you how to self-edit and where to revise. Hanging with them will encourage you on your journey.

Lots of hard work involved

Invest time, money; sweat and tears to become the best writer you can. The trophies for you will be by lines and royalty checks. Whether you appear in a national magazine or the local paper the kudos are just as sweet.

What disciplines are you working on to reach the next level in your writing journey?

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Writers Be Encouraged By the Paralympics

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Last week concludes the Paralympics—an event sadly not covered by the American media even though the USA had the largest contingency of participants, over 300. You could catch the events over the internet. I watched with interest cyclist Joe Berenyi, a local paralympian, who won gold, silver, and bronze despite having only one arm and a missing knee cap. What an inspiration.

These disabled athletes should inspire the most fearful writer. Here are people with physical disabilities winning medals in activities I could not even begin to compete. Tragedies may have taken their limbs or birth defects gave them a disadvantage. Yet they kept pressing forward overcoming their disability and turning it into an advantage.

Writers often feel at a disadvantage at some level. Perhaps getting started later in life or fearing youth makes them unmarketable. Lacking the educational credentials that others have brings our confidence up short, producing doubts in our ability to succeed. Yet, like paralympians we can press forward until we accomplish the writing goals we feel so passionate about.

These athletes didn’t participate in the events without first training hard to earn their place. Excuses were not on their lips. They set out to overcome, doing whatever it took to achieve their goal.

Writers need a training regimen to succeed

Earning our place as freelancers, novelist or bloggers takes commitment.

  • Taking instruction from editors and mentors to whip our words into shape is an important part of our training.
  • Spending money on workshops, classes and books help to improve our craft.
  • Attending conferences and webinars are all part of the evolution from wanna-be writer to professional.
  • Building out platform brick by virtual brick may take years.

Practice, practice and stretching our writing muscles prepares writers for the win.

  • Recognition will come as we take laps of submitting queries and manuscripts.
  • Endure edits and rewrites and reviews until we can reach for the gold.
  • Buffing our writing muscles until they respond with ease to each challenge set before us.
  • Ignore naysayers who want to rob our dreams.
  • Be open to correction and redirection as we find our voice and niche.

 

 

Valuable lesson to learn from Paralympics

Whatever writing handicap we have (real or imagined) can be overcome through perseverance. Keep our goal before us and press in.

Paul reminds us: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

We mustn’t give up until we find our calling in the world of words.

What obstacles do you see in your way to achieve your writing goals? Where do you get your inspiration to press on?

The Magic of Belle Isle Inspires Writers

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Often when I watch a movie I find some excellent take-way value. After watching Magic of Belle Isle I found a treasure. The main character, Monte Wildhorn, an author whose passion for writing died with his wife is taken to Belle Isle by his nephew(under protest) in hopes of rekindling it.  Monte has no intention of ever writing again. Alcohol and the dog that came with the home areh is only companions. That changes when he meets his neighbors, the O’Neals. A single mother with three girls who disturb his grumpy existence. Ten-year old Finn (short for Finnegan) O’Neal offers to pay Monte to teach her to imagine. Charlotte O’Neal’s piano playing lifts his soul and Fin’s determination to understand how to write a story inspires him. He finds his muse again.

The scene that captured my writer’s heart and reminded me why I write took place between Finn and Wildhorn. He points down the road and asks her what she sees.

“Nothing.”

“Try harder –tell me what you don’t see.”

The quizzical look on her face is priceless.

Later Finn understands as she looks out the window toward the beach. Monte again asks her what she doesn’t see. This time she weaves a tale about a girl being pursued by a man.  Her imagination is ignited as she adds to the tale. The girl tricks the villain into going into the cellar where she slams the cellar door and secures it with a broom until the police arrive. Finn explains that she and a neighbor boy like to hide in the cellar.

Monte commends her imagination and using what she knows.

These two points are priceless. Writing about what you don’t see and writing what you know.

Writing what you know

Recently I have been reading Eva Marie Everson’s Cedar Keys Series. Eva has vacationed in Cedar Keys on several occasions. The setting is so familiar to her that the character movements feel natural.

Brandilyn Collins experienced Lyme disease and from that wrote the suspense thriller Over the Edge drawing from her own experience battling the disease.

Jerry Jenkins grew up around law enforcement. His father was chief of police. This experience makes his Precinct 11 series so believable.

Use your imagination to write what you don’t see

Seeing the unseen comes naturally to those with vivid imaginations. A painter captures the light on canvas, the sculpture sees a figure in flawed marble.  A writer sees a stranger lurking in the shadows of a pleasant tree-lined street.

Like Monte I wasn’t feeling in a writing mood.  I found my muse again as I watched Monte rekindle his through his association with the O’Neal family.  As my mind pondered the insights I was gaining from Magic of Belle Isle I was inspired to write this blog post.

What inspires you?