Writer Victory!—Remember Writers are Magicians

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Today we tackle the next letter in our Writer Acrostic. Thus far, we’ve covered: V is for Voluntarily Submit. Anticipate trials and challenges and understand there is far more strength in bending than breaking. I was for Identify Problem Areas. We can’t fix what we fail to acknowledge. Our profession hinges on us writing better today than we did yesterday. C was for Change Your Mind. We can only achieve what we can first conceive. Make your mind and set it and keep it set. T was for Turn Over our Future. When we let go of things we can’t control, we’re far more powerful to drive and direct that which we can.

R—Remember Writers Are Magicians. Words are powerful and those with the skills to use them masterfully hold the power of the universe. Our art is unlike any other. Writing is the only art form with the ability to evoke all senses. By using limited combinations of black letters on a white page, we can create new worlds more real than the one we live in, worlds people love so much it inspires them to rise and change the one where they’re trapped.

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Sodanie Chea

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Sodanie Chea

We breathe life into immortal creatures, characters so rich that others don’t want to let them go, “people” who survive centuries. I write “Odysseus” or “Hamlet” or “Huckleberry Finn” and though these people never existed in the corporeal, they live on. We cannot help but miss Narnia, Hogwart’s or The Shire.

And, because these are written stories, we know that so long as books (and literacy) remain, our great-great-grandchildren can visit those same places long after we’ve passed on. Our great-great-grandkids can also push through the wardrobe and take up arms against the White Witch.

Writers are sorcerers who change the world. We see what others don’t or can’t see. That is our gift. Uncle Tom’s CabinTo Kill a MockingbirdThe Jungle, Frankenstein, Brave New World, 1984 all changed perception and then, later, reality.

No Words No Magic

I’ve traveled to some pretty terrifying places. When one comes from the US, it feels like visiting another planet. I’ve lived places where no one joked. Jokes could get you arrested, tortured or shot (and yes, it is amazing I lived to tell the tale). Everyone was somber, serious and afraid. In these lands, no one debates, questions or dares to think beyond what the government approves.

Without hope, the heart hardens and the soul withers. Places with no heart or soul are extremely dangerous. Places with no heart or soul can never prosper. It’s like a body wandering around not yet realizing it’s already dead.

Trust me when I tell you there’s a reason dictators don’t want education and literacy. There is a reason they censor and burn books. There is a reason they shut down or control the Internet. There’s a reason that when tyrants take over, they shoot writers, teachers and librarians first.

Writers are the foundation for moral, social, economic, technological and scientific innovation. In fact, show me a country that doesn’t value creativity and imagination and I’ll show you a country limited in how far it can advance. Often the only advancements come from stealing ideas and technologies from places where imagination is encouraged.

Innovation can only come from imagination.

Sure, math might be a universal “language” but formulas with no context aren’t worth much. Additionally, many scientists and engineers piggyback off ideas first proposed by “crazy” novelists.

Jules Verne extrapolated with amazing accuracy how man would eventually reach the moon.

Proust knew the senses of smell and taste were uniquely tied to memory long before neuroscientists proved these are the only two senses that connect directly to the hippocampus (the brain’s center for long-term memory).

Mary Shelley extrapolated that the body was a bioelectric system when the idea was nothing short of heresy…and now every ambulance is equipped with charged paddles to restart a heart.

From smart phones to space travel to the Internet to cybernetics to equality to children and women’s rights, it all began with a crazy writer.

And here’s the scary part. This is why I believe we’re so often discouraged and mocked and made to feel what we do is silly and doesn’t matter.

Jonathan Maberry has a powerful quote in his fabulous book Rot and Ruin:

“…the only thing more powerful than fear is routine. Once people are in a rut, it’s sometimes the hardest thing in the world to get them out of it. They defend routine, too. They say that it’s a simpler life, less stressful and complicated, more predictable.”

This is WHY no one will throw us a parade when we decide we want to be writers. Humans love the routine and the world they believe they know, even if they sense it needs to change or evolve (or is changing anyway, despite protests). I believe there is a kernel of envy and jealousy for those who don’t feel the magic in their DNA or who feel it and yet are afraid to pursue it.

Remember the word spelling includes the word spell (maybe why typos break the magic, LOL).

So take heart and keep pressing. Keep writing and making magic. Stories change the world and changes minds. It’s the only thing that ever has.

What are your thoughts? Have a new perspective on what it is we do? Does the resistance and pushback you’re feeling now make more sense?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of MAY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

If you need help building a brand, social media platform, please check out my latest best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.

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  1. #1 by Susanne Leist on May 23, 2014 - 9:51 am

    I find your words to be very inspiring.

  2. #2 by Amy L Sauder on May 23, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Lovely inspiration to keep the magic alive :) Thank you!

  3. #3 by coachmbrown on May 23, 2014 - 9:57 am

    Your post reminds me that creativity is a gift we all have from the ultimate Creator. Our imagination has its roots deeply planted in our past, our relationships, our success and failures, thus it is safe to say what declare as fiction is actually reality rewritten… Thanks

  4. #4 by Danna York on May 23, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Very nice!!! On my husbands side my Harriett Beacher Stowe is in his family tree~ I am the writer but love it for my children!! Love your info!!!

  5. #5 by Morgan on May 23, 2014 - 10:11 am

    Just so Beautiful and Inspiring :)

    Blessings and Have a Wonderful Week End~

  6. #6 by A Writer With Something To Say on May 23, 2014 - 10:25 am

    I think I needed this post. I had been down about being a writer. I have a lot of other finished projects that I’ve pitched and queried and everything else. I get rejection letters and those that asked to read my work, pass on it. I even got an MFA in Creative Writing which I love, but I haven’t been able to find work in the field. It’s both frustrating and hard. But, I dream writing. So, I will try and get back to it.

  7. #7 by brandyramirez on May 23, 2014 - 11:04 am

    I couldn’t agree more with your statement, “Writers are the foundation of moral, social, economic, technological and scientific motivation.” I have to remind myself of this when I begin writing every day. I know I’m not the only one to ask, “What do I want to accomplish with this story?” or “Who do I want to influence with my words?” As writers, we are blessed to have such an effect :). Great post!

  8. #8 by newfsull on May 23, 2014 - 11:05 am

    Wonderful post my lady!

    I struggle with reader expectation, which is sort of what you eluded to. By that I mean that as a reader I have an expectation of the outcome before I begin the book. I know that seem absurd; but I read different books for different reasons. I expect my Fantasy reads to give me a great ending, my thriller to give me resolution with a twist or two, my spiritual read to rise above my understanding, my science read to enlighten and teach, and so on…..

    So, when I write Fantasy I feel a compelling need to end the book with ……they lived happily ever after.

    I also write songs and poetry – those come mindless of the outcome.

    Thank you for the blogs.

    • #9 by pattynicnac on May 23, 2014 - 2:13 pm

      I struggle with reader expectations too. I feel pressure to wrap everything up nice and neatly at the end when life is rarely, if ever like that.

  9. #10 by Ron Estrada on May 23, 2014 - 11:11 am

    I’m an engineer and have grown up in the Detroit auto undustry. There’s been much discussion (and several books written) about why the auto industry cannot seem to regain the almost mythical reputation it had in the 50s and 60s. Many, including I, believe that we shifted from putting the designers at the head of the industry and replacing them with engineers and accountants. And the products we’re turning out reflect that. While the cars look nice, few possess the pizzazz of a ’57 Bel-air or ’65 Mustang. We put the dreamers in the back seat. All for the purpose of making life easier for the engineers and accountants. It’s no challenge to fill a square box with wheels. But making something work around six foot fins and chrome trim took effort. We lost the imagination and the engineers, without the challenge, settled for second best. Writers and other artists don’t just give people an escape, we challenge them to improve their world. We dream it up and say, “Make it happen.” For centuries, we did. Now, as the next generation seeks more instant gratification and turns from the arts, I wonder if any further advancements will be made at all.

    • #11 by pattynicnac on May 23, 2014 - 2:09 pm

      Ron, as a fellow Michigander, I appreciate your comment about the Detroit auto industry. We are definitely in need of vision.

  10. #12 by rcs1738 on May 23, 2014 - 11:12 am

    First of all. Don’t overdo it, my friend. Your body has been through a rough time. Give it time to heal, unless the writing is helping you recover. I’m concerned that we’re writing about the same thing and will trip over each other’s feet. I like us coming behind each other to rewrite, so I’m jumping ahead to the night in the scrub brush as the two awaken to gunfire and Sam loses Emily. If we need the flirtation chapter, I’ll write it later.

    I’ll write for about an hour or so, then off to an awards ceremony for my grandson. Don’t know what he’s getting. I plan to write when I get back and I hope on into the night. I think we’re dealing with the tension in the middle of the book that we desire.

    Keep getting well. Bob

    • #13 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 23, 2014 - 12:12 pm

      Writing helps. I’m restless and miserable without it. I’m taking naps in between and reading. ((HUGS))

  11. #14 by mickieturk on May 23, 2014 - 11:18 am

    In another life I was a humanities major – comparative literature and how it changed history. You post today is my favorite yet. Hits on so many notes and scales. Thanks for your steadfast work!

  12. #15 by Sara on May 23, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Why is it that every time I need inspiration, you have the post I need? Thanks because this magician was feeling a little stuck in a rut.

  13. #16 by Timothy L. Cerepaka on May 23, 2014 - 12:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Timothy L. Cerepaka's Blog and commented:
    Kristen Lamb has an excellent point on the magic of writing.

  14. #17 by ernestortizwritesnow001 on May 23, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    I love being a writer and it helps me to express myself. It’s shame that we live in a world of being PC that any opposing opinion is ridiculed and the writer shamed without thoroughly debating about the writer’s subject. It’s more important than ever to support a person’s thought and speech no matter the content.

  15. #18 by pattynicnac on May 23, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    Encouraging post! I also appreciated the comments.

  16. #19 by Jennifer Austin - Author on May 23, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    I love all of this and I hate to be the person who points out something silly and inconsequential to the excellent writing , but my inner-Hermione always wins out. I recently read that the “paddles” used to shock a person in a heart-emergency situation are designed to stop a heart beating erraticlly so it can restart itself in a normal pattern. They aren’t designed to start a heart that has stopped, no matter how much Hollywood wants them too! Now, I’m not positive about the facts and I can’t even remember the article, but just food for thought. :)

    • #20 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 23, 2014 - 4:37 pm

      Either way, it’s electricity to kickstart the heart ;). Try that in 1805 :D.

  17. #21 by Gry Ranfelt on May 23, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    This is definitely true. On my recent travelings I’ve met people with whom I couldn’t have a decent conversation. one person just wasn’t willing to discuss why or why not family guy was a good show. She just said “it’s a good show because it’s funny” and that was it.
    When I ponder on things people will shrug and be like “okay”.
    That’s the real reason I’ve started longing for home, too – back home I’ve dug out people I can have philosophical conversations with. People who will listen to my crazy ideas.

    Of course, the challenge is to get those uninterested in philosophy to listen anyway.
    I guess I have plenty of opportunity for practice right now.

    Btw, I think I’d shoot myself if I lived in DDR or North Korea. Or commit suicide by trying to escape.

  18. #22 by vindalv on May 23, 2014 - 4:35 pm

    Thank you. You tend to get me back on track. :D

  19. #23 by Deborah Makarios on May 23, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    “We are the music-makers,
    and we are the dreamers of dreams…”
    Sometimes I get carried away by O’Shaughnessy’s poem, and then I remember Uncle Andrew from The Magician’s Nephew: “ours is a high and lonely destiny” and I get my head back in size.

    Any recommendations for books on how writing has changed the world for the better (Dickens, Gaskell, Stowe…)? That would be a very encouraging and challenging read, methinks.

    • #24 by Sarah Brentyn on May 24, 2014 - 10:38 am

      That quote always makes me think of Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. :-D

  20. #25 by Musu on May 23, 2014 - 8:08 pm

    I love your words – writing is definitely an avenue of creation!

  21. #26 by chuckcollins86 on May 23, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    You have always been among my “first five” blog reads, but this one articulated something I have been thinking about with a great deal of zeal! I call it creating rooms. and due to circumstances beyond my control (yes, I was in electronic media for two score and five years) I have time to devote to this wonderful craft. Writing a non fiction 2nd Edition and dabbing a touch of paint and texture on my current novel, there is no more joy than waking up knowing all I have to do is stay alive and write! thank you, Kristen!

  22. #27 by Kathy on May 24, 2014 - 12:07 am

    I LOVE this article.
    This is why I choose to write.
    I can do music and art, but neither has much influence over what can be, what we can become.
    Thank you for the jolt to my soul.
    It is a welcome reminder and it activates me.

  23. #28 by Mackenzie Lucas on May 24, 2014 - 9:17 am

    Love it, Kristen! Inspiring.

  24. #29 by donnajeanmcdunn on May 24, 2014 - 9:55 am

    Loved this, but it’s kind of scary that if or when things suddenly go awry in this country, writers and lovers of books will be the first to be disposed of!

  25. #30 by Sarah Brentyn on May 24, 2014 - 10:37 am

    Fantastic post. Magic and the written word have always been connected for me. To wield that power… Such an amazing concept.

  26. #31 by Hiten Vyas on May 26, 2014 - 7:15 am

    Hi Kristen,

    Inspiring post, indeed!

    You’ve demonstrated just how powerful writers are! What we write impacts, influences and persuades. Writers make the world go round! Thank you.

  27. #32 by Amber Howard Massey on May 26, 2014 - 10:21 am

    What a great responsibility we have when we acknowledge our ability to change the future through the power of a pen.

  28. #33 by patriciaawoods2013 on May 26, 2014 - 12:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Patricia Woods and commented:
    A fabulous reminder of what we hold in our minds and hands as writers!

  29. #34 by patriciaawoods2013 on May 26, 2014 - 12:35 pm

    You nailed it yet again….so inspiring and truthful. We are blessed to reach hearts and minds and spirits through our writing. Some days I forget for whom I write. :) If I can please God, myself and my readers, that is a good day. Thank you for your unstinting generosity of spirit in lighting our paths and listening to our gripes. Have a great, great day.

  30. #35 by Lauren Craig on May 27, 2014 - 11:48 am

    Reblogged this on Blog of a College Writer.

  31. #36 by shad0wrav3n2014 on May 29, 2014 - 4:52 pm

    I need say little more in this. I believe writers, soldiers, and a handful of crazy rebels are the only people that can truly change anything in the world. I’m proud to be both a writer and a rebel.

  32. #37 by shad0wrav3n2014 on May 29, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Reblogged this on remnantscc.

  33. #38 by lonesome lee west on June 3, 2014 - 5:39 pm

    ditto, baby, ditto… you mentioned the word ‘spell.’ i’ve got this quirky linguistic game i play, called ‘say what?’ that’ll eventually come out in a book entitled, Celestial Meanderings… but i digress… for the word ‘spell,’ we’ll take the ‘ell’ part first. ‘ell,’ or, more to the point, ‘el,’ is the oldest known name for God. for example, ‘El Shaddai’ means God Almighty, ‘Eloheim’ means the Shining Ones, and ‘Emanuel’ means God is with us. next we’ll take the ‘s’. ‘s’ can be written ‘es,’ or, since vowels in this game are interchangeable, ‘es’ can also be written ‘is.’ that leaves only the ‘p.’ ‘p’ is the sixteenth letter of the alphabet. add the one and the six to make seven. this is simple numerology. seven is the great mystical number. it stands for perfection, and, as one can easily see, perfection starts with a ‘p.’ therefore, ‘p’ is for perfection. so the word ‘spell’ translates into: ‘is perfect God.’ …so get out there, now, all you ‘perfect gods,’ and start writing. and don’t worry about it. it’s all going to be fine. even if none of us are exactly perfect…

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