7 Writing Tips from Cinderella to Make Your Writing Journey a More Magical Fairytale

7 Writing Tips from Cinderella to Make Your Writing Journey a More Magical Fairytale

Once you’ve decided to write for ministry or profession, or simply out of an unquenchable love of words, you’ll discover it’s not always a fairy tale. The journey you are on is filled with obstacles, challenges that must be met with determination–and maybe a little sprinkling of glittery fairy dust.

Here are seven tips gleaned from the timeless story of Cinderella to guide you on your journey.

1. Embrace Hard Work

Cinderella toiled at her monotonous tasks every day. She didn’t let her circumstances get in the way of her joy, but kept at her chores with a song in her heart. Writing is lonely, tedious work with long hours of unrewarded effort. We can endure it, or we can embrace it. We can grumble or we can delight. It’s a daily choice. When we embrace the writing process, joy comes. It’s not reserved for someday when our book is finished, our blog takes off or our sales increase. Joy is with us for the journey.

2. Use What You Have

Her mother’s dress was faded and dated, not nearly elegant enough for the ball. She’d feel out of place and draw stares and ridicule if she wore it. But, it was the best she had. It would have to do. Cinderella embellished the dress using little treasures she’d gathered over time. She did her best to create a gown fit for the royal occasion. As writers, we take what we have—our stories, imagination, expertise or spiritual insights and shape them into words on a page. We craft them with the tools we’ve gathered on our writing journey to fit the needs of our readers. We must learn to believe—as Cinderella did—that our best efforts, humble as they are, will be enough.

3. Overcome Critique and Rejection

Cinderella’s evil stepmother and step-sisters tore her creation to shreds! Sometimes we show our writing to others and they shred it, too. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they really want to help us, but their help feels a lot like hurt. We trusted someone to give us constructive feedback only to be reduced to the grief of our junior high English class. We receive our shredded work with the same pain and humiliation we felt when our teacher handed back an essay with more red ink than black. Cinderella fled to the garden with her pain. She let the tears come. We may have tears too. Then we need to recommit to our purpose and believe again that anything is possible.

4. Bring on the Magic

Once Cinderella had done all she could and her critics had done their best to undo her efforts, Cinderella cried out for relief. She was comforted by her Fairy Godmother, who knew just what to do to remake her mess into a masterpiece. In the publishing world, these magic-makers are called Editors. Editors also know how to make our messes into masterpieces. When we’ve done all we can do to perfect our writing, it’s time to kick it up a notch by enlisting professional help. Trust those people who want to help make your dreams come true.

5. Follow the Rules, Know When to Break Them

Cinderella was forbidden by her evil stepmother to go to the ball. Had she not broken this rule, all would be lost! The prince, bound to pick a bride, would have settled for a politically advantageous marriage, rather than marrying his one true love. We need to know and follow the rules of our craft. We need to conform to the rules so our work is clear and readable. We also need to know when to follow our hearts, take our writing outside the lines and break any rules that hinder our artistry. Sometimes a well-placed sentence fragment creates the cadence and tone we want our words to convey. Sometimes even the lowly, unloved –ly adverb deserves a place in our project.

6. Meet Deadlines!

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother gave her a firm deadline: leave by the last stroke of midnight. Her failure to pay attention to the clock was almost her undoing. She had to scamper from the ball at the last second as her fairy-tale world unraveled around her. Because she didn’t intentionally focus on meeting her deadline, she lost the support of those who were there to help her. Once the horses turned back into mice, they were no longer strong enough to carry her home. Of course, Cinderella was in love and practically floated home in her blissful state. We may not be blessed with euphoria to carry us past the consequences of missed deadlines.

7. Take Risks

Cinderella risked everything by asking the prince if he could accept a humble, honest country girl. We need to ask agents and editors if they’re willing to work with us, even in our humble circumstances. Maybe our platform isn’t as large as we want. Our WIP is never perfect enough for us. But at some point we have to type THE END and hit the send button. It takes courage. We risk rejection. But we can’t get a yes, if we don’t risk the no. Cinderella’s risk was well-rewarded. Ours will be too.

beth_thompsonElizabeth M. Thompson writes from her experiences as a Bible teacher, wife, mother and grief navigator. She enjoys speaking at writer’s conferences and women’s ministry events. Elizabeth serves on the Inspire Christian Writers Board. Her publication credits include articles published by Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian, and contributions to several compilations.

Joanne Kraft Launches The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids

Joanne Kraft Launches The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids

Today is launch day for Joanne Kraft’s second book, The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. We had loads of fun talking about the book and her writing passion. Here’s the interview of our time together.

 

Elizabeth M. Thompson writes from her experiences as a Bible teacher, wife, mother and grief navigator. She enjoys speaking at writer’s conferences and women’s ministry events. Elizabeth serves on the Inspire Christian Writers Board. Her publication credits include articles published by Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian, and contributions to several compilations.

De-Cluttering on the Path to Peace

De-Cluttering on the Path to Peace

As soon as I plunged into the pages of Clutter Free, I zealously tackled a few easy areas of clutter in my home–the spice cabinet, hall closet and bathroom drawers. I was determined to create order. I’d clear out the excess “stuff” my family and I dragged with us on our last move, and free our home to be more functional. A worthy goal, right?

Those first few spaces were a cinch to de-clutter. I mean, I have no emotional attachment to expired spices or that expensive moisturizer that makes my face red and puffy. I tossed them into the garbage bag without the slightest resistance or regret. Those miniature lotion samples went in the give-away box.

Those super-easy tasks had an immediate effect. My cooking efficiency improved. And I really enjoy working in a beautiful, tidy kitchen. My morning routine was streamlined, because there were no unusable products to slow me down!

So far, so good!

What I didn’t know yet was that the external clutter reflected and compounded the internal clutter. I didn’t expect that eliminating the physical clutter would be the catalyst for purging emotional clutter.17415485_s

Until I took on my closet.

I have three closets in my bedroom (don’t hate me!) Though I have ample space, I needed to remove items I don’t love or wear. If I wouldn’t plunk down my debit card to purchase that item again—it needed to be re-homed. Into the give-away box it went.

Each morning I read from Clutter Free, then dedicated a small block of time for clearing out the clutter. My closet cleaning coincided with reading Part Two: Why We Buy Stuff and Part 3: Why We Keep Stuff. I was forced to look at the motives behind my purchases.

I came face-to-face with the fact that I really don’t have much to wear! My closet was filled with clothes that don’t fit—but might someday. Clothes that don’t work with anything
else I own—but might if I found just the right piece to pair with them. And clothes that I don’t really like—but with tags still hanging on them, I’m reminded of the investment I’ve already made to each item.

I had to look at my purchasing/keeping motives as a reflection of my heart. I didn’t like what I found there.

I had the illusion of a lovely wardrobe. And it would be if I were a size or two smaller. It was a closet full of items that might someday fit. Every time I stepped into my closet to get dressed, I felt the accusations: You’re too fat for me. You wasted money on me. You’ll never be able wear me again. The external clutter was tormenting me. It constantly reminded me that I don’t measure up. Literally.

I had to hit the brakes!

I decided to give myself copious doses of grace. I pulled everything from the closet and laid it out on my bed. Then I stood next to the mountain of accusers and prayed. One by one I picked up each item and put it to the Kathi Lipp three-question test: Do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again?

The only things I put back into the closet are the items I can currently wear and feel good about wearing. It’s slim-pickings, but my wardrobe no longer accuses me as I make my daily clothing selections.

I donated the business clothes I’ve held onto “just in case I ever need a real job.” They’re now helping women transition out of joblessness.

Eighteen (18!) pairs of shoes, that I haven’t been able to wear since breaking my foot several years ago are off to beautify new feet.

I donated the adorable ruffled orange blouse with the tags still hanging. Someone has the perfect component to make an outfit from it. God knows I never did!

This morning when I stepped into my closet to choose my outfit for the day, there were no accusations flying. No self-condemnation for past wasteful purchases. No assaults on my self-image. Just a wardrobe that reflects my current reality and the peace that comes with it.

What about you? Are there areas of clutter in your home? Any that create emotional obstacles for you?