Thursday, February 17, 2011

Briefly? Clearly?

I've been thinking a lot lately about my writing, where it's been and where it's headed. Happened across this quote by Joseph Pulitzer, which of course, provided more food for thought.

"Put it to them briefly, so they will read it; clearly, so they will appreciate it; picturesquely, so they will remember it; and, above all, accurately, so they will be guided by its light."

Wow. There's a bit to digest here. Not only to digest, but to implement. How does one manage to keep all those plates spinning at one time?

Plate spinning girl that I am, I reviewed my short list. I've shared similar before, I'm sure. Somehow though, reviewing these things helps sort my priorities and bring focus to fuzzy things. The Karen Short List is...

1) Practice writing. A lot.

2) Continue learning. Always.

3) Read. Read. Read. With chocolate by your side, of course.

4) Fellowship & brainstorm with other writers.

5) Live life purposefully.

6) Trust God for direction and wisdom.

What's on your short list for writing as Mr. Pulitzer describes? How do you keep all your plates spinning?

Happy weekend,

Photo credit: JohnnyBerg


  1. That pretty much describes my list too!

  2. Oh my ... if I were to draw a conclusion from your shared wisdom, it would have to be: Be intentional about eating chocolate and all else will fall into place :) !!!

    Then again, I do get things jumbled at times. Sometimes it actually works better than anything else (especially the chocolate parts).


  3. Hi Karen - perfect quote .. and to your list - I'd add .. plod on!! Always be doing .. creating, living and loving ..! Cheers Hilary

  4. Great quote, and I love how you use it to develop an action plan. I think the one I struggle with most is clarity--I have a weird tendency to be overly subtle and opaque out of fear of "telling" too much. Studying craft books helps, as does critiquing others' work.

  5. Laura,
    See this is why I like you! :) Great minds think alike you know.

    Thanks! Appreciate your vote of confidence.

    Totally with you on the chocolate thing! And no, you aren't getting it wrong. :)

    Thanks! Oh yes, keep going always. Good point!

    Sometimes I wonder if I analyze too much, but things like this often help clarify my goals. :)

    Thanks all!

  6. I really like this quote and it makes me wonder if I'm doing what I should be doing. I've been praying so much for direction on this current MS.

  7. First off, I love this quote! It’s very beautiful in what it represents. I love your short list and agree with all of it. To add to it I would say A) Always be present, B) make daily time to write and C) be open to change (when your characters show you a new path).

  8. My list is so short, it's pretty much this - coffee and prayer. Oh, and making the weekly deadline.

    See? Now I'm tired just with those three. :)

    As always, you're getting us to think.



  9. I LOVE that quote KAren, thanks for sharing! Hhmmm... my list is short: keep it simple but loaded!

  10. Terri,
    I do too. And I am sure that you will have all the wisdom you need!

    Glad you like it! And yes, very good points. Glad you shared them. :)

    Well short is good, and with those two key things, you're good!

    You are welcome. That is a good short list!


  11. Wow! Love the quote, and your list. Have to add only two ingredients: tea,and long walks.

  12. Great list, Karen. I have been taking a class the past few weeks. The instructor asked for 50 articles ideas. However, she gave an assignment that helped to generate them. I got the list of 50 and more! Never stop learning.

  13. Hello Karen...Good post. What keeps my writing spinning? Well, here is a short list:

    1. Research, learn as much as possible, review, and be accurate

    2. Never, ever let a day go by without writing.

    3. Share with readers what is in my heart. If I cry (or laugh) while writing a manuscript, chances are the readers will, too

    4. Keep positive. No doldrums. No falling into depression. Each day of life is a precious gift so, use it to the maximum

    5. Try new things. Write about familiar things but also about things which I know nothing about. That way, I won't get stale. Also, never lose the ability to feel overwhelming joy over being able to write!

    6. Be grateful. About everything, including the ability to write, to have a blog, to share with other writers, to be in this world for a purpose.

    That's my baker's half-dozen, Karen. Thanks for asking. Susan

  14. Hi Karen -

    You said it all!

    Susan :)

  15. What a gorgeous photo, and a great quote! May we all write our novels/writing accordingly. :)

  16. Tyrean,
    Yes, of course! How could I forget? Thanks a bunch:)

    Thanks so much! I fear I may get the big head with your praise...:)

    The class sounds good. Glad you got so many ideas!

    Susan W.,
    Great list! So glad you shared it, thanks!

    Susan R.,
    Thanks! :) You're a peach, you know! :)

    Carol R.,
    Thanks, I loved the photo too. Amen to that!

    Blessings all,

  17. And always remember to give yourself a well deserved 'hug' for each & every accomplishment...big & small!

    Hi Karen, wrestling with computer stuff of late, but, love your insights as always:)


  18. What a lovely quote and a gorgeous picture, Karen. I agree with all your points. My personal belief is to keep writing and read few craft books and help other writers.

    Have a Great Weekend,


  19. I adopted this list at the beginning of 2009, and my heart has never been lighter:)

    Happy writing, Karen!

  20. Clara,
    Amen to that! Thanks for your kind words. Hope you get the problems resolved soon.

    Thank you. :) I say that yours is a winning formula!

    That's great news! And happy writing to you too!


  21. That was a stellar quote. Have a great weekend, Karen!

  22. Karen,

    Thanks for the food for thought. Good suggestions here. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Oh, really nice post! I think it's hard to see what I've done unless I step away from my WIP for a week or two once it's through. I need that time to quell and come back to it with fresh eyes to see if I've covered all the bases and if it reads the way I want it to.

  24. Wonderful quote, that. Thanks for sharing. And to your wonderful list, I'd only add one:

    Never let the fear of striking out get in your way (Um, Babe Ruth said that. But it fits for writing, too. :-)

  25. Lydia,
    I agree. I love it!

    You are welcome. Appreciate your thoughts!

    Thanks so much. I like your process. Fresh eyes, yes, I'd have to say that's key!

    Great addition to the list! Thanks so much. ;)


  26. " they will be guided by its light." That's beautiful. Thanks for sharing that quote Karen, and your list. Lists help me keep my priorities in place, and remind me why I do what I do, too.

  27. Did you read my list? It's the same, except tons of coffee. I suppose it's the coolness factor. And the shades. And the awesomeness that is amigo. You get what I'm sayin' right? *wink*

  28. Lynn,
    I know, I'm a list girl too! :)

    Absolutely! Glad you pointed that out!

    Oh yes, I did note that! Yes, the coolness factor and shades - couldn't get by without it!


  29. Well, I would have to add to the list a #7: Do all of the above on purpose. Your list looks like mine, but I tend to ignore it much of the time. It is so easy to be caught up in the day-to-day things that happen that I put my writing life at the bottom of the list. I'm working on that. :)

  30. Speaking of fellowshipping (is that a word?) with other writers... I would love to get together for coffee again!! I'll email you!

  31. I think you covered all the bases!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  32. Lisa,
    I know what you mean. A list isn't any good unless you do something with it. :) I'm working on that too!

    Yes, that would be nice! :)

    Thanks! Have a good weekend!


  33. Wow. That IS a lot to take in from one little quote. The only thing I would add from my own experience is to know your priorities and schedule accordingly.

    Thanks for this post. I always feel better when I see that I'm not the only one, lol. Misery loves company, and all that...

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  34. Becca,
    Well said! Priorities and schedule can make or break our sanity. :) Thanks for weighing in.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!