Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One True Sentence

"A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway was the subject of discussion at this month's book club.   The book is autobiographical of his time while writing in Paris.  When referring to his writing process, Hemingway says, "All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know."  He then says to use that sentence to start your writing.  This technique cuts out fluff and gets to the meat of the topic.
As part of the discussion, we participated in a writing exercise.  We were given a few topics and we were to write one sentence about that topic.  Then we returned to the original sentence and edited it by removing the following words: that, many, there, I and thing.  We then took out any adverbs that could be replaced with a better verb choice.  The exercise was hard but fun.
 One category was to write about yourself.  "I am an L.D.S. woman."  was my best sentence.  It uses the word "I", but felt that it was needed.  It is a declaration, and I thought rearranging it to remove "I" would lessens its impact. I wanted to claim the fullness of what an LDS woman is and can be. Now that I have had more time to think about it, I realize I could have said, "My values and personal characteristics are definded by the principles established by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."  This sounds fluffy to me.
 The problem with both of these sentences is the full meaning of the statement would be lost on anyone who wasn't also an LDS woman or member of the church.  To the outsider it is too restrictive and only tells one part of my story.  I haven't found the sentence yet to tell the full story without making a very boring list of the things I do, think and believe.  
 My next true sentence is, "Work must be done."

Goal Setting

I am not a January 1st-New Year's Resolution type of girl.  January doesn't fall at the beginning of anything for me other than a page on the calendar.  It's not that I don't set goals for myself during this time, it's just that I prefer to do it at two other times during the year.  These times are at the start of summer and at the start of the school year.  
These are the times that I can implement changes not only for myself, but for my family as well.  We try again to make sure the laundry is sorted in the laundry room every night and get back on the band wagon with our Family Home Evenings. One of the things I like to implement when school starts and when summer starts is new bedtimes.  I love this.  Summer is always great because of getting to stay up later and sleep in a little longer too, but it gets old pretty fast and I am always ready to get back to an earlier schedule for school.
These times work well for me with my personal goals as well.  For instance, I made a goal last year to get up and make breakfast for my child who attends early morning seminary.  It was good for me to start with the school year because the sun was still up that early in the morning.  If I had tried to start it in January, when it is so very dark in the morning, I do not think I would have been able to do it.  I also like these times as I work on something that needs organizing around my home.
My personal goals are in the works at all times of the year.  If I feel like there is an area I should be working on, I don't want to wait until some future date to start.  Usually I feel excited about doing something new or accomplishing something that is hard for me, so I like to get right on it.  I am one of those people that has to jump right into the cold water; if I hesitate, it isn't going to happen.  It is the same thing when I am trying something new.
There really isn't a best time of year to set goals, just better times for goals in different areas of my life.