It’s FRIDAY FREE DAY – Being a PURPLE COW writer

Friday blog days will be silly or stream of consciousness or who knows what will strike my fancy. The idea comes from the years I taught elementary school physical education classes. Great job compared to my years of teaching reading and language arts with all those papers to grade. LOL

I wore shorts to school and lesson plans were easy because every Friday’s plan read Free Day. The other P.E. teacher and I put out assorted equipment and allowed the kids to have supervised free time during class. Things may have changed as far as teaching P.E. goes, who knows? But Friday’s on the blog will be free, crazy, and definitely fun. 

Today’s topic is purple cows. I’m also testing a principal I learned from Kristin Lamb’s WANA class on social media–a snappy subject line. Did it grab your attention???

Why a purple cow blog? Because I’ve always been intrigued by the work of Gelett Burgess and especially his poem about the purple cow.

Burgess, a fascinating Bohemian, wrote other whimsical, nonsense poetry, but THE PURPLE COW is by far the most famous. I know I’ve quoted it a gazillion times. Though, like most people, I leave off the second line of the title: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable, at Least. Pity too because that’s where the essence lies.  Here’s the original the poem as published in 1895.

 

Purple cow is a metaphor for something that is out of the ordinary, something remarkable. Maybe Bugress didn’t personally want to be considered different.  In reality he was. Some say his works inspired Dr. Seuss. The Gelett Burgess Center for creative expression, organized to honor his creativity, gives The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards yearly. It’s not the Caldecott, but still a prestigious honor for a children’s book.

Too many people do not want to take chances and be that Purple Cow, to stand out from the rest. To conform is to be comfortable, and many of us like to feel comfortable. But, is comfortable the place to be if you are a writer?

 I say no. Not with the publishing paradigm shift which allows anyone and everyone to become a published writer.

We have to be Purple cows. Different. Willing to stand out from the rest.Our stories need to be remarkable. Exceptional. After all, does the world need another ordinary writer, another ordinary story? I don’t think so.

Purple cow writers must be different at the same time consummate professionals. With the new reader-driven paradigm in publishing, we struggle to be noticed, to stand out in the pack. Often, we’re not traditionally published because our stories don’t fit the Big Six  genre boxes. Agents scratch their heads trying to pigeonhole our work. Which makes us half purple. To be a realio, trulio Purple Cow writer, we have to

  • create rich, absorbing stories  with emotional impact to grab the reader
  • know craft rules then break the ones that benefit our story
  • never stop learning
  • view every writing project as a stepping stone to something better
  • be devoted to KL’s social media theory for getting our name and our work noticed

What about you? Are you a PURPLE COW? Do you dare to step out of your comfort?

ONE WORD WEDNESDAY

Today’s word is PROCRASTINATIONDemotivational Profile Graphics and Comments

Dictionary.com defines procrastination as the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention

I really, really hate when a definition uses the word, don’t you? Still the meaning is very clear — putting off something.

Is procrastination deliberate or subconscious?

Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art calls procrastination a form of resistance. He believes creative types face lots of resistance and offers inspiration to overcome that resistance. If you don’t own a copy of Pressfield’s book you should, it’s gotten me over more than one bumpy writing slowdown. Btw, I don’t get any kickback.

I’m not sure what to call procrastination, but I know it’s a disease shared by too many writers, myself included. And, procrastination is a clever enemy. Half the time, Mr. P aka procrastination disguises himself as very worthy endeavors like
A writer’s meeting to get a writer fix
A computer game to “clear your head”
A movie for “research”
Social media is one of Mr. P’s favorite tactics. Who among us doesn’t find Twitter or FB or web surfing sucking precious time from our day?

My favorite delay is a power nap to refresh my brain’s hard drive. Naps may work, but am I really just giving in to procrastination’s subtle ways when fifteen minutes slides into an hour or two?

Writing is hard work. A solitary work. Those two facts alone stall too many of us and allow Mr. P’s power to succeed.

“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” ~Wayne Dyer

So how do we cure the culprit that steals our words from the page?

Ali Luke in her blog How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing suggests four steps.

Great hints are offered on How to Stop Procrastinating

For me, and maybe other writers, I shoo Mr. P away by putting my butt in the chair and W-R-I-T-I-N-G every day whether I feel like it or not, whether what I write is worthy of a Hemingway or not. It works for me. What works for you?

As part of One Word Wednesday, I want to play a game I used when teaching spelling—writing a sentence with the word. Leave your sentence in a comment. No grading involved just for fun.

Dictionary.com suggests: She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.

How would you use PROCRASTINATION in a sentence?