Wednesday, June 20, 2012

15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge: Steal and Start Ugly

STEALING...humm, well...okay...BORROWING

Jeff Goins, in the 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge, clarifies what he means by stealing:

"Sometimes, we don't even realize we do this, but we all do it. Great artists borrow from other artists. They meld together pieces of the chaotic mess we all call life, and they end up with a whole new creation.

Find a quote or a painting or some form of inspiration — and steal it. Make it your own. Attribute it — give credit where it's due — but don't be afraid to use it. Let someone else's work springboard you into your own."

Whew! I'm glad he explained his point. I don't like the idea of stealing.

So, here it author's "booty":

..."If I sin and am rebellious, help me to repent;
Then take away my mourning and give me music;
Remove my sackcloth and adorn me with beauty;
Take away my sighs and fill my mouth with songs;
And when I am restored and rest in thee,
Give me summer weather in my heart."

"Repose" from "The Valley of Vision: a Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions"

Coincidentally, I am creating a picture book in rhyme about Job's sufferings and restoration during this 3 week challenge. The above portion of a quote will serve as inspiration for the manuscript. I can already envision the ending..."Give me summer weather in my heart". PERFECT!


....and Jeff during the 15 Habits Challenge, tells us where to begin:

"Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned." So
every time you endeavor to create, you will have a choice:
You can first make it ugly, or not make it at all. There is nothing else.
All creation comes from chaos. All works of art begin as splotches of paint on a canvas. It's never beautiful at the outset. Before your work can reach its potential, it will first have to be bad."

And that's just what I have been doing with the Job story. Up at 5am (it's addicting) write for about two hours (tea break allowed). I am not a poet, but I am compelled to write it in verse. But, I will be brave and share a stanza with you:

Job was a man who was righteous in all
He did not sin, nor cause others to fall

Ten children he did have
He loved his dear kin,
Job sacrificed daily,
Just in case they would sin

And it goes downhill from there...

But, I will work and work and work some more to perfect the rhyme. And then send it in to a critique group.

I like STARTING UGLY. It relieves the pressure to be perfect. And it gets words on paper. Without words, an author has no tools.

How about you? What project have you been afraid to begin, because you thought you were not capable?


  1. You have latched on to a gem. One of my art teachers drilled into us:"You have to go through chaos in painting to reach the end product. Do not be afraid of chaos, embrace it." And, of course, I found writing to be somewhat the same--first drafts are often chaotic, right? Enjoyed your post, Jarm.

    1. Thanks, Pat...this is one challenge I have found extremely helpful and motivating. Good analogy!

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    1. So thrilled to have a visitor from London...thanks for your kind words! Blessings on your day as well, my friend.

  3. These are great! I love starting ugly best of all. It's easier to work with words than a blank page.


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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel