Life is Like Plumbing

For the past two weeks, my life has been an adventure in plumbing. Over the years, the plumbing in my old house had filled with the debris of years and years of water flowing through old black pipe. The flow of hot water to my kitchen sink had decreased to a trickle. And when my family asked if I would host Thanksgiving dinner again this year, I put my foot down. “Not without hot water in the kitchen,” I said. Unexpectedly, I realized that anything you do, that life is like plumbing. The Assessment My son looked at the problem, opened and shut valves, and studied the pipes in my house. Then he gave me the news. To fix the hot water in the kitchen he had to fix the flow into the hot water heater. To fix the flow into the hot water heater he needed to fix the cold water shut off—for the entire house. And the bill for all the bits and pieces cranked higher and higher. Yikes.  “I can’t afford a plumber to do all that,” I said.  His answer: “I can do it.” I imagined the mess and the long hours of no running water. […]

Dirty Little Secrets to Writing a Good Story

In my post Two Secret Rules for Writers, I said the secret was that there isn’t a secret in writing. I may have to take that back. The truth is there are dirty little secrets to writing a good story. One secret? There’s probably no new story under the sun. Why? Are we writers’ incapable of an original thought? Heck no! The originality comes from the blend and the bend of the story as told by that particular writer at that particular time. Stories come from the stories we have consumed (read, heard, or viewed). So they are all a melding of a ton of different things. Study Story To write the best stories one must study the masters. Study the successful stories. What makes them tick? And how can I use that in my story? Pantsers decry outlines and story structure to their story’s detriment. The way the human brain processes story demands a structure we can recognize. You don’t have to start from an outline, but whatever you write must have the parts in it to be successful. Mish-Mash I’ve mixed bits and pieces of Westerns and Space Opera and Thrillers and mythology. Yes, they went into one […]

You Don’t Have to be an Artist

Sadly, many people seem to think they aren’t creative because they don’t make art. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative.  Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for business people looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way.  Twyla Tharp Definition  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines creativity as the ability to create and the quality of being creative.  Notice, it does not define what you create. You don’t have to be an artist or do any particular craft. If you create a comfortable home—that’s a type of creativity. You can create a recipe by substituting one ingredient for another. Creativity comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Creativity runs across many categories in life, from the arts-and-crafts project a mum or dad does with their kids, to the bestselling author’s manuscript, to the designs of the hairdresser, to the creations of the computer programming genius. Tabatha Coffey You Don’t Have to be Good Unfortunately, some of us have been taught that creative mistakes were “bad” or creative play was “a waste of time.” […]