Covet Learning

covet learning I was bitten by the writing bug when I was around 9 years old. My grandfather then was an ambassador to Switzerland and my mother encouraged us children to regularly write to him.

Before he accepted the ambassadorship, my grandfather was the editor-in-chief of one of the major dailies in my city. So when I would write to him, telling him about what 9 year olds did, he would send the letter back to me with editing marks and annotations on how my sentences would be more interesting. Then, at the bottom of my letter would be a hand-written note thanking me for the letter and the exhortation to continue to write and read, read, read.

My grandfather was a wide and voracious reader and he passed on that legacy to me and my siblings. He said reading would allow me to get through life and become successful. I certainly believed him, because he wasn’t able to enroll in college because of the war. He only finished high school, yet he went to become an editor-in-chief and an ambassador.

So I read and I learn. And the learning has never stopped. I covet it and it is what I pass on to the younger generation.

Covet learning and you will succeed in life!

A Cool Productivity Tool

I’m always on the lookout for productivity tools to help in my work as a writer. So I was delighted to discover a cool productivity tool called, Evernote.

Evernote is a software that allows you to store text, images, videos, audio and even whole web pages as you do your work. You store them in what they call, “notes,” and you can divide them into “notebooks.” For example, I do a lot of research as a writer. So I read a lot of articles from blogs and web pages. I then write down the points in the articles I like, along with URLs and other related sites and blogs. With all that I try to store, I forget where I place what and the connections with one another. It can be daunting.

With Evernote I can easily organize my web browsing and research. I can also write text directly into Evernote instead of using a separate text editor. Whatever I place in Evernote, it gets saved automatically. But the one thing I like about Evernote is its powerful tag and search functions.

In case you have stored hundreds of notes, Evernote narrows down your search to a tee, so you’re able to retrieve what you’re looking for without frustration. And as I mentioned earlier, Evernote allows you to divide your notes into what they call, “Notebooks.” This allows you to organize your work better.

Evernote even has this function called a web clipper. It’s a small button that you can add on to your browser. When you want to save a blog or web site, you can click on the web clipper and you can save the URL or entire web page into your Evernote notebook. I don’t have to bookmark the site and then forget about it later on or spend time trying to find out what I bookmarked and where I bookmarked it.

Evernote has much more functions than what I’ve described above. I’m just scratching the surface. To experience Evernote for your needs, you’ll have to download the software. Don’t worry it’s free and there are versions for all operating systems.

But the coolest thing about Evernote is that it’s a cloud software. This means you can also install Evernote in your desktop, laptop and mobile phone, and access your notes anywhere you go.

Go ahead and try out this cool productivity tool.

Read to Write

The best advice a writer can receive is read and read. The second best advice is to write and write. But lets take the first advice first.

Read as much as you can. There are many reasons why.

1. To increase your vocabulary. You can’t be using the same words over and over again. What I do when I come across a word for the first time is write it in a notebook and then look up its definition. I then write the definition beside the word and try to write a sentence with the word.

2. To study writing styles and forms. How does the author weave a story? How does the author relay his information? How does he describe his characters? There is so much to learn about how the author writes to help you develop your own style and form.

3. To study the moods of the book. What bored you? What excited you? How did the characters speak? Will you be able to convincingly convey moods, emotions, thoughts in your writing?

4. To be informed. Many books, whether they be fiction or non-fiction, give out facts and figures. If they don’t, you can still apply nos. 1-3 above.

5. To enjoy. Reading should be a pleasure and not a burden. But make a habit of reading.

I suggest that you join a book community such as Goodreads and Wattpad, which are free to join. You can see what other people are reading and get ideas for your own book. I have accounts there so let’s hook up.

Reading helps you become a better writer.

Why I Call Myself a Christian Author

I embraced the Christian faith because I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of my life. But this is only one reason why I call myself a Christian author. I even believe that I need not write Christian books to call myself one.

In fact, one of my Kindle books is entitled, “How to Raise Funds for Your Ministry.” It is not Christian, per se. While it addresses Christian pastors and ministers, it can be for anyone who wishes to raise funds for whatever purpose.

I call myself a Christian author because I believe my God is a God of excellence personified in Jesus Christ.

Christ was no mediocre man when he walked this earth. He was radical, yes, but he made a positive difference in those who followed him. The religious leaders in his time went against him not only because they deemed him blasphemous, but because they knew they could not be the person he was. And, yet, they could be.

We could be!

Jesus’ call to one such leader named, Nicodemus, was to be “born again.” This was a call for transformation, not only in the spirit, but in the total person. It was not enough for Nicodemus to change his religious beliefs. He had also to change his beliefs about himself.

To be excellent in all we do, we have first to believe we can be excellent within. “Be” should first come before the “do.” Edmund Hillary, the first person who reached the peak of Mt. Everest, said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

There are many things I personally conquered within me. I know there will be many more. The path to excellence is never smooth. But I chose to traverse it because I desire to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. I can preach about Christ better this way.

I am, after all, a Christian author.

Develop Yourself to Develop Your Writing

I have always believed that writing is not only an activity of the mind, but more so an activity of the heart. While you are revealing your thoughts, you are also revealing your passion; and it’s passion that many readers are attracted to.

You are not only selling your books, but you are selling yourself. Through your books, you are indirectly telling your readers that you are an author who can be relied on to get a good story from (if you’re writing fiction) or who can provide trustworthy information (if you write non-fiction).

In other words, your written works are excellent, because you are excellent. Excellence is not what you do. Excellence is first who you are. This means that you have formed within you the character to achieve excellence in all endeavors, which of course includes writing.

Excellence is about developing your mind so your thoughts have clarity. It’s about developing your vocabulary so your words have depth. It’s about developing good work habits so you produce quality work. It’s about developing your spirit so you’re able to reach out with godliness.

Excellence has many aspects. Choose what you need to develop in yourself so you become a total person who makes a difference in other people’s lives, whether they encounter you personally or through your books.

Their, They’re, There and Everywhere

One of the common mistakes in writing is the misuse of the words, their, they’re and there. They sound the same so the misuse is understandable. Here’s a brief description and differentiation of each word.

Their is a possessive pronoun meaning, “belongs to them.” Examples: Their school is in the middle of the city. They took their jackets off because of the heat.

They’re is a conjunction of 2 words, “they” and “are,” a pronoun and a verb. The long usage would be, They are eating in the cafeteria. The conjunction would be, They’re eating in the cafeteria. A dialogue: Who are they? They’re the San Antonio Spurs.

There is an adverb that depicts a place. A dialogue: Where is she? She is there at the church. Or She is over there.

If the proper grammar is not used, your thoughts will be everywhere but the right place.