Sunday, September 30, 2012


   ~ Day 30 ~        A PARTING WORD       ~ Day 30  ~

Cecil closes this book with some thought provoking questions like, Why do we want to write? and, What pushes or compels us to keep on writing? Even in the midst of uncertainty, rejections, and inner and outer critics of our work? We don't have to write, in fact he says that life might be easier for us if we delete all our document files.

But he advices us that if we feel we must write, if we know that we will never be fulfilled unless we give our best, then we will be miserable if we delete our files. He says, "Wouldn't you feel better to say at the end of your life, I tried, than to say, If only I had...?"

For me, I 've come to realize that the words "There is healing in the writing" that were spoken so gently into my heart when I first began this 30 Day Writing Challenge were true. The chains have been broken, and my voice, my writing voice, has been set free. My hope is these healing words hold true for you too, no matter what, or who, has kept your voice captive.

Cecil wants us to consider the possibility that we have stories to tell the world, teachings to inspire others, and words to encourage the fearful and isolated. He writes, "You can focus your energies on all the reasons you can't or shouldn't write. Or you can say, "I have things to say. I have to write them."And who knows the effects of your words?"

He gives us some final thoughts to think about.

* Write to find out who you are.

* Who you are determines what you write.

* The more you write, the more you learn who you are.

* The more you learn who you are, the better you like yourself.

* The better you like yourself, the more you're able to help others.

* "Unleash the writer within."

All I can say is Cecil Murphey, your stories and teachings from this awesome book have inspired me. Your words have encouraged me when I felt fearful, and isolated. You've helped me to focus my energies on reasons why I should write. Your words of wisdom from each of these chapters and Aphorisms will have a lasting effect on me. Why? Because you've unleashed the writer within me! You have given me the tools that I need to carry on with the next chapter of my writing journey and the desire to want to say at the end of my life, "I tried !"  "I let go!".  With healing words and loving hands to guide me, I've returned to innocense in my heart. You see this is where the healing beings and freedom is found!

My hope is that you the reading audience have enjoyed this 30 Day Writing Challenge. That you have seen the face of grace peering behind the pages and read the words of wisdom between the lines from Cecil Murphey's book Unleash The Writer Within and the Release The Writer Within postings. My prayer is that you will pick up your pen and write, clear your voice and sing, tune your instrument and play or what ever it is that you feel unleashed and released within to do! 

Listen to Cecil beckoning you to: "Unleash the Writer Within"

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

My heartfelt thank you to Cecil Murphey for giving me permission to write a 30 Day Writing Challenge on your book Unleash the Writer Within. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement and grace you have given  me to write and tweak my way through your wonderful book.

My thank you to Brenda Leyland for providing the Blogging ABC's for Newbies course so I could set up this blog site and begin blogging/online writing. I appreciate your encouragement. To my dear friend Marcia Jansen for seeing a diamond in the rough in me many years ago and encouraging me as a friend and a writer to carry on. Your gracious advice is always appreciated. To my family for being my extra set of eyes to catch grammar and spelling errors even though we still missed the mark on some of them. To you the reading audience for taking the time to read each posting and for visiting this site. I hope you will continue to come and visit this site and follow me on my new adventure  Where The Healing Begins Blog Site !


Saturday, September 29, 2012


Day 29  ~          LETTING IT GO       ~  Chapter 27  ~

As I write on this topic and realize that tomorrow is my final post of The 30 Day Writing Challenge, it seems quite fitting that the topic Letting it Go is about letting go.

Cecil talks about two different kinds of writers. Those who won't hold back their manuscripts, and those who won't let go of them. He says that the first group are those who have to send everything as soon as they hit the final period and that they are more resistant to help. In his opinion he feels that the more insecure they are, the more they will refuse to learn and grow. They will defend obvious mistakes or be unable to hear criticism. If this applies to you, that means you must be right when you discuss anything. He writes, "You can't face being wrong, and you rarely apologize."

Boy, all I can say is I have experienced that kind of personality in both my work place and in ministry. It's tough to deal with. The only way they will change is usually by circumstances, tough circumstances. The kind that will bring you to your knees circumstances! It reminds me of the old saying. Pride Goethe before folly. 

The second group Cecil mentions are the kind of writers who hold back their manuscripts and have problems releasing them. He says that this was the group that he is more like or at least the way he used to be. He writes, "I'm not a perfectionist, but it was painful to release an article or book. I would think, This could be better. However, I didn't know how to make it better."

As I read about the second group of writers I am reminded once again of another old saying. We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to stay the same!

I have to ask myself, where do I fit there a third kind of writer? I think I'm pretty teachable, at least I feel I have gotten more so as I have grown older. Perhaps it's because my pride wenteth because of my folly and I changed because the pain to change became less than the pain to stay the same!

Cecil shares that he is highly prolific. One reason is because he finally figured out how to say to himself, "This is the best I can do at this stage of my development." He goes on to say that he finally gave himself permission to let go.

Cecil advices if you're the kind who holds back, who wants to make it just a little better, take a risk. He says, "Let it go."

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "This is the best I can do at this stage of my development."

This is the final chapter of this wonderful book. Tomorrow I will share some final thoughts from Cecil Murphey. I will also be sharing with you what the next chapter of this journey in writing I'm on will be. 

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #27:        "This is the best I can do
                            at this stage of my development."

Friday, September 28, 2012


~ Day 28 ~  WRITING--YOUR PASSION ~ Chapter 26 ~

While writing the posting for this chapter a thought came to me, perhaps it's another Aphorism! It goes like this. It is important to have passion for what you write and to write with passion. I think there is a difference.

Cecil shares how he turned down a writing project from a wealthy entrepreneur that would have given him a considerable amount of money and guaranteed work for some time, but he turns the job offer down. Why? As Cecil puts it "I felt no enthusiasm. No conviction. His book ideas were topics on which I probably had only a mild interest. Although none of the ideas went against my sense of integrity, I had no strong feelings to pursue them. That question of zeal or passion was the deciding factor."

I don't about you but I find that to turn such an offer down admirable. It would be hard to be enthusiastic about topics you can't relate to. No amount of money would change what is not in your heart. You might be wealthy, but you might be miserable too!

Cecil also shares how conviction and energy come from within. That our fervency (or lack of it) shows, whether we are writing about investing in stocks, historical fiction, or how to build a fabulous wardrobe on a budget. He says, "To write passionately, we need to "catch fire" as one writer put it. We need to be carried along by something stronger than our normal self."

When we are considering writing a book on any topic Cecil's advice to us is to check our feelings. He says, "Ask yourself, can I stay excited about this for nine months or a year?"

This topic on passion really tugs at my own heart for the very reason that I to need to feel passionate about the subjects I write. I have to write from the heart. It's just who I am and although there is much room for improvement with grammar and basic skills in my writing, I know that I know writing is what I want to do. It's like a calling. I have my career which is my day job but my writing is my passion. Perhaps one day the two will become one in the same!

Cecil says that writing passionately fulfills certain inward demands. If you don't find pleasure in typing the words and thoughts, you're not writing from passion. He writes, "When you write, you probably start with what you've thought about, know, or you've researched, but that's not where fervor enters the process. Passion flows when you discover what you didn't yet know. It's like finding a wrapped gift at your front door with your name on it, and you can hardly wait to open the box."

Cecil shares how he writes for self-discovery, and that the writing doesn't have to be subjective. He mentions that he liked how one woman called writing an excavation. "If writing is excavating, you learn deeper meanings, and the intensity increases through the simple act of tapping the keyboard."

Another thought just came to my mind as I read Cecil's comments from this previous paragraph. We grow word by word, line by line, tapping and digging as thoughts come to mind! Wow, my creative juices are really on a roll tonight!

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I am a passionate person. I can be a passionate writer if I choose."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism # 26:        "I am a passionate person.
                          I can be a passionate writer if I choose."

Thursday, September 27, 2012


~ Day 27 ~   OUR ENVIOUS NATURE   ~ Chapter 25 ~

While reading through this chapter I found myself feeling a little uneasy, and honestly, somewhat sad. You see I know what it's like to experience the brunt of other peoples envy and jealousy. It hurts ! I'll share some thoughts on this a little later but first I think Cecil has some great insight on this topic.
 Cecil writes, "Although we tend to interchange envy and jealousy, I'm convinced they're different. Here's how I make the distinction, although both are negative emotions. Jealousy happens when we're focused on another person. I may be jealous if you spend too much time with someone I love." He goes on to give an example of having lunch with a group of writers along with his agent, and experiencing the feeling of jealousy because his good friend is paying all his attention to his agent and ignoring him. 

He goes on to say, "Envy is different. It's not focused the same way. For me, envy doesn't want you to have it because I want it myself and only for myself. I can be envious of any writer who is more successful, has a better platform, hosts a bigger Web presence, or gets more tweets that I do. That means I want what she has."

 I've shared a bit of myself  and my story on day 2 posting of  The 30 day Writing Challenge. I'd stepped away from pretty much all forms of public christian ministry and organizations in order to take some time to heal from the wounding of well meaning people that did not realize that their own wounds of their past were effecting them in such a way that it was causing destruction not only to themselves but to me and to others that tried to reach out and help them. There's a saying hurting people hurt people. I believe, envy and  jealousy were just some of the root issues that were causing them to act out the way they did.

Cecil says that envy is often mentioned in Catholic moral theology as one of the seven deadly sins. "And if envy grabs you, you might resent anyone who seems to have more of something better than you do. If unchecked, envy can lead to loathing the other." He goes on to write, "The gravity of the sickness obviously depends on how strongly you feel. You might recognize that you're envious and bewail your weakness or human failing--which probably comes out of your childhood need for affirmation and acceptance. That's how I finally understood envy."

Cecil goes on to share that if envy afflicts you, it probably means you're heavily committed to becoming the best possible writer and that other authors--undeserving in your opinion--get the acclaim that should be yours. He writes, "Because I've been in this writing life longer than most writers who still produce and sell, I'd like to tell you how I see this problem capturing the heart of writers."

Cecil shares a few possible solutions.

"First, envy is natural. It's not a moral failure or a flaw in your character. In fact, it says you're aware of yourself, as well as being conscious of others. Its says you care deeply about the craft, and you want to succeed."

"Second, there is a positive element. You can use that emotion to push you to improve your writing style. The negative occurs when you allow your attitude or actions to divert your energy."

"Third, once you're aware of envy, you have a choice. You can encourage it to grow by giving it tacit permission. The most obvious way is is to speak up unfavorably every time you hear the other's name mentioned."

Cecil goes on to give us some helpful advice such as, to say nothing  negative about other writers, no matter how strongly you feel. He also mentions that if you are a praying person you can pray for the other writer. He shares, "Now you can focus on your craft without wishing you were somebody else who has attained what you consider the epitome of triumph--the kind of feat you yearn to experience. He goes on to say, "Ask yourself this question; What am I learning about myself through this emotional reaction? It can enable you to be aware of what's important to you."

I know one of the main reasons why I feel so passionate about this book. It's because I believe it can help anyone that needs healing, encouragement, and understanding, not just writers.

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I can resent others for their achievements, or I can admire them for what they've accomplished. I can determine to work as hard as they do."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism # 25:  "I can resent others for their 
            achievements, or I can admire them for what
                                      they've accomplished.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012


~ Day 26 ~   COMPARING YOURSELF  ~ Chapter 24 ~

I think it's safe to say that comparing ourselves to others is something all of us can relate to at some time in our lives, whether you're an aspiring writer, singer, musician or simply new at your job. Comparing oneself is bound to happen sooner or later. It's what we do with it when it happens that ultimately can have a positive or negative effect.

Cecil gives us an illustration with his two daughters, Wanda and Cecile. He writes, "Wanda was a top student with excellent grades. I never worried about her. Cecile, however, was the artistic type, and she stayed in the average category in the subjects where her older sister excelled. One time, Cecile had a low report grade in social studies. I asked one question: "Did you do you best?" With tears in her eyes, she nodded. "That's all I ask." And I meant that. When it came to music and art, she was outstanding, so she had her areas of strength. She would never pull down the grades that put her sister on the honor roll."

Wow, I admire the environment that Cecile provides for his daughters. To me I see a safe place where they can grow and learn from their mistakes without feeling they are being compared to or competing with one another. That's healthy. That's love!

Cecil continues to say, "It works the same way with writing. You can't be perfect; you won't be outstanding in every phase of the craft. Here's you primary question: Am I doing my best? If you can answer yes, you're further along than the average writer."

Cecil gives us a small list of what he calls self-scrutiny questions that he feels may aid our progress.

* What are my strengths?

* How can I make them ever stronger?

* What kind of things do I write well?

* Where am I weak?

*In what areas do I need improvement?

 Although they are simple questions, Cecil used them to push himself to look inward as honestly as he could and although they were difficult for him, he was able to see and acknowledge his strengths.

As I read through the list of questions, it doesn't take long for me to see areas in my own writing and attitude in general that can always use tweaking. I believe wholeheartedly that it is so important to provide a loving atmoshpere which allows freedom to grow.

Cecil goes on to share two of his strengths. He says, "I write with heart. Readers tell me they can feel what I write. That's probably my greatest strength. I write with clarity. That is, I seem to be able to take complicated issues or thoughts and make them simple."

I have to admit, I've had moments during this 30 day writing challenge where I've had those negative thoughts of comparing myself come creeping in. Thoughts like, what was I thinking taking on something as challenging as this? What will other writers think of my writing? Will I offend the reading audience with some of my comments even though that would never be my intention? Most importantly, will I bring honor to Cecil's name and his book?

Cecil says, "The only healthy way to compare your writing is to look at your earlier work and contrast it with your current products." Cecil goes on to say, "By comparing myself with myself, I saw that I had grown."

I'm reminded once again not to look around, but to look within, and to look up to Him...the Author, and Finisher of my faith!

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "If I evaluate my writing, I compare my older work with my newer so I can see my growth."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #24:         "If I evaluate my writing,
                       I compare my older work with my newer
                                         so I can see my growth."   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012




So tell me, have you ever dared to dream big? To push yourself beyond the boundaries that you have shrunk back from so many times before? Perhaps you've convinced yourself you are about to write the next New York Times best seller?

Come to think about it, that dream did become a reality for Cecil Murphey. But as I've followed Cecil through this amazing book, it's obvious it started with a humble beginning. Let's see what Cecil has to say. He writes, "I had been publishing about ten years when I heard a dynamic speaker at a conference where I taught. He was riveting, and he spoke most of the time about our "comfort zone." At the time, it was a new phrase for me. "Push ahead! Move on! Take risks!" That's typical of his message. He told several delightful stories of the times he did exactly what he advocated and gave us the marvelous results--all success stories."

Cecil goes on to share that because he liked what the speaker said  and found him inspiring, he bought his CD. He also wanted to push against the boundaries and restrictions of his own life. But after he heard the CD at home, a number of questions surfaced. He says, "The first one was simple: What happens if I step out of my comfort zone and fail? Had he ever failed? If so, how did it affect him? If he didn't fail, was he embracing risks or simply taking the next obvious step?"

I have to admit when I read the first paragraph of this chapter, I couldn't help but smile and wonder if I had not only heard the same speaker but had bought the same CD! Or should I say taken the bait, (just kidding). The "Dream Big" and go after your dream type of message has definitely been popular in both secular and christian conferences. And have you noticed that its usually the same two or three success stories told over and over? ..Just thought I'd ask. 

Cecil writes, "As a writer, I've taken risks and some have succeeded; others haven't." He goes on the share the story of writing the book called 90 Minutes in Heaven. Although Cecil, and his agent, believed in the book, it didn't get published right away. In fact it was turned down from about a dozen publishers before it was finally sold to Revell, part of Baker Books. Since the writing of this book, 90 Minutes in Heaven has sold in excess of five million copies in English and has gone into forty-one translations. It has also been a New York Times best seller. That's a dream come true in my books! 

"That's history," says Cecil, "but what about the risk factor? Had I really moved out of my comfort zone? According to that charismatic speaker, I hadn't."

Cecil goes on to write, "I could obviously argue this either way, but from my perspective, I stayed with the book because I believed in it. I trusted my instincts, and I've been wrong a few times. I didn't see it as risky, only as the way the publishing business operates."

Although the "Dream Big" and fight the forces of doubt until we prevailed was the advice of the charismatic speaker Cecil says its just not his style. He writes, "It may not be your style, either."

I would have to say "been there, done that". I've attended the go after your dreams type seminars, listened to the CDs and read and re-read some of the "how to ____", you can fill in the blank books. And with a sigh of relieve and recovery I can say it's not my style either!

Cecil says, "You hear or read intriguing information, get excited about projects or ideas, and you don't do anything about them. The tendency is to feel you've failed or you've procrastinated. Maybe"

I have found that you can easily feel like you're out of the loop if you're not participating with the latest or most popular trend, whether it's writing or other interests one may be involved in.

Cecil shares, "Perhaps it's your inner wisdom that pulls you back and refuses to let you participate." He goes on to say, "Start within your comfort zone and write from who you are. That's not all. I urge you to begin what I call an unrelenting search for your true self. As you learn about yourself, you expand your comfort zone. You take what some would call risks, but to you the so-called risk becomes the next right step."

 He goes on to say, "If you're aware of yourself, your situation, and if you're connected to your inner motivation, do you need more? Do you need to push forward or march onward? Do you need to go on the attack? I don't, and I don't want to be a role model that says, "Do it my way." If I become a model for anyone, I want to be one who not only gives permission but urges others to do things their way."

All I can say is, anyone that encourages me as a writer to just be myself and write from my heart is an admirable model to me!

The Aphorism for the chapter is: "Moving out of my comfort zone is right when it's the next best step, or if it fits within my superior mode."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #23: "Moving out of my comfort zone is
                                 right when it's the next best step,
                             or if it fits within my superior mode."

Monday, September 24, 2012




In this chapter Cecil starts off by telling a story of a boy named Juma. Cecil writes,  "As I understand the story, Juma's mission had been to go to the West and learn. He was then to come back and translate the wisdom of the educated and enlightened. When Juma returned, he had to relearn the wisdom of the village."

I believe the moral of the story is the boy (Juma) had gained knowledge and information from living in the Western culture but he had lost his own sense of wisdom that the people of his village rely on. As Cecil writes, "They learned by going inward and allowing themselves to feel and to hear what was around them."
He goes on to say, "Juma had tried to figure out the answers by logical investigation and scrutiny. He had cut himself off from his inner wisdom."

My understanding of this is Juma lost his sense of inner knowing and intuition. He stopped trusting his heart.

Cecil shares, "That happens to many of us. Perhaps to you as well.
You started with that uninhibited insight about life when you were a child. You spoke out of innocence, and sometimes others laughed at your words, even when you showed insight. The inhibiting forces of society pushed you to deny what you knew."

Sadly, I have seen this with myself and others after taking a program or a course of some kind. It starts off with the best intentions but subtlety you start to loose trust in your own gut feelings because you are being taught not to trust in them. You are being told that you could be "deceived" or "mislead". You are to put your trust in the leader or teacher or program instructions etc, etc. I see similarities in Cecil's story about Juma and these examples I just gave as the difference between law (application) verses grace (transformation). The same type of influences, or should I say negative influences, can also happen in writing.

Cecil says, "If you want to write like everyone else, then do nothing differently. Use the same words and speak the same thoughts. But if you want to enrich others, you have to learn to perceive life differently." Cecil advices us that if we want our writing  to have depth, texture, meaning, and endurance, it must go beyond what others see. He writes,"That doesn't make you a superior writer, but it does make you different." He goes on to say, "If you want to change, you can adjust the way you see things."

Perhaps there is a Juma in all of us just waiting to break free. As Cecil shares, "Like all of us, you have some bias, but you can write with impaired vision. Or you can do what Juma did. You can listen to what your heart tells us and go inward. You can learn to see life differently."

 It's heart knowledge, not head knowledge. It reminds me of one of my favorite scripture verses. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I've spent much of my life being like others. Now I want to spend time being like the real me."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #22:  " I've spent much of my life being  like others. Now I want to spend time being like the real me."

Sunday, September 23, 2012



I guess the best way to describe the content of this chapter is to simply say it is about finding the best working methods for you to get your writing project complete before that dreaded DEADLINE!

Cecil gives different ways that we as writers go about getting our writing project from our heads onto paper. He writes, "All of us have different working methods, and I urge you to find whatever works best for you." 

Cecil gives examples of different ways writers go about this. There are the procrastinators that leave it until the pressure is on. Burning up the midnight oil working tirelessly on their project until the midnight deadline. Or there are the more organized type that make use of every free moment they have to get their project finished in good time. So which style best describes you?

I must admit I tend to lean toward working under pressure. I have a pattern that for now seems to work for me. For example, writing posts for this blog I read the chapter in the morning and jot down some thoughts. I then go to work at my day job. I mull things around in my head during the day (I guess they call that editing). After supper I sit at my computer and write with the hope to get the blog posted before midnight least on this side of the world! 

Cecil says, "The best piece of advice that I can offer is to be who you are and live within your preferred way of doing things. You probably went through school and college with that pattern."

All I can say to that is, Cecil you just described my high school years. Whenever I had to write an  essay on a book I would simply read the back cover of it and ask my friends what the book was about and hope that information would be enough to write the essay. No wonder English was my worst subject! Now I love reading books and I love writing too.

Cecil refers to his grad school years. He writes, "I've always been fairly well organized, but I had to make every half hour count. I did it, but I wouldn't advise anyone to emulate my behavior." He goes on to say, "I carried that style with me into my career. When I began to write, I was a pastor of an exciting , growing congregation. I set aside one hour every morning before my secretary arrived. One hour. I couldn't sit and stare in space."

Cecil goes on to share that he would use situations such as travel time to edit inside his head. He writes, "These examples are to say that you need to find what works for you. Don't try to follow my pattern. You have your own rhythm, and you're happier and more prolific if you follow your natural bent."

My advice is don't follow my pattern either !

Cecil also goes on to say, "Writing, like any other phase of your life, needs to take on a rhythmic pattern. You'll have the low times as well as those days when your fingers can't type fast enough to stay up with your mind."

Taking hiatus periods have been wonderful for Cecil. It has given him a chance to rethink and refocus. He says, "Here's what I'd like you to get from this chapter: By pulling away temporarily, you can refocus and reassess your writing. You don't have to be productive every day."

Cecil shares that the best part of writing takes place inside his head. He says, "It's the thinking, discarding, rethinking, and absorbing more of life that leads to my best writing. That takes place long before words appear on a page." He goes on to write, "I remind you to be whoever you are and to follow your own natural bent. Don't try to emulate me or anyone else."

I hope you see what I see in between these lines. I see freedom, I see grace. I see guiding hands and a loving face!

The Aphorism for this chapter is : "I want to be the best me I can.
So I follow my natural rhythm, and don't try to imitate anyone else."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #21:      "I want to be the best me I can.
                                    So I follow my natural rhythm,
                              and don't try to imitate anyone else."

Saturday, September 22, 2012


~ Day 22 ~DO I HAVE TO WRITE THAT ?~ Chapter 20 ~

So tell me, have you ever wrestled with this question when you're about to reveal something personal about yourself?  How much do I share? And do they really care ?

Well, it looks like this chapter is about finding that healthy balance between transparency and vulnerability without loosing our self-respect, and dignity.

Cecil gives us some good insight on this issue. While speaking at a conference, he shares about getting in touch with your inner self and being honest with who you are. He stressed the need to probe inside, to find who you are, and to write from within.

He says that writing is an opportunity to move into the deeper parts of ourselves. He writes,"That doesn't mean you have to write everything you understand. The writing process becomes a tool for deeper soul penetration."

He goes on to say, "Once you gain insight about yourself, you become stronger and emotionally healthier. Your writing is different, but the principle is the same. If you're open to yourself, you gain insight and realize the implications of how it affects your thinking and your behaviour."

As a rookie writer myself, this issue tugs at my own emotions. How do I find the balance between sharing with the readership who I really am, yet maintaining personal privacy for myself and the loved ones in my life.

Cecil writes, "Once you integrate the new into your life, that's the time to ask yourself whether you need to write about it. Sometimes that's exactly the path to take. But not always."

As I read through the true stories and examples Cecil gives in this chapter, my own thoughts come very clear to me. We all want our voice to be heard. We all want someone to care. We all want to tell the world our stories of survival with the hope of bringing healing to others.

When addressing the question: Do I have to write that?
The answer Cecil gives is no. But he does encourage us that if we feel compelled to share our pain, recovery, or insight, we won't have peace until we do. He says, "Tell us more than what happened. Tell us what you learned about yourself. And if you didn't learn something that embarrasses or shames you, perhaps you're still not ready to open your heart to the world."

I don't know about you but that sounds like humility to me. I've heard it said that if we aren't humbled by our experiences we will not grow from them either. We remain victims instead of victors.

The Aphorism for this chapter is : "When I write from within, I put into words what others think but cannot say."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #20:          "When I write from within,
                                I put into words what others think
                                                  but cannot say."

Friday, September 21, 2012


~ Day 21 ~ BECAUSE I WAS AFRAID ~ Chapter 19 ~

I know I have said something similar to this in previous posts, but I will say it again, and again. I am amazed and encouraged that someone with the years of experience Cecil Murphey has as a writer, speaker, teacher and preacher is so willing to show vulnerability, honesty and transparency throughout this entire book. Why? Because it also allows us as readers, writers, singers and everything in between to be encouraged to do the same!

Honestly, I have never met someone in person that is so willing to do this, especially a male. In a world where barring one's soul and showing our weakness can be very risky. All I can say is wow, what courage... What freedom. I want some of that!

Cecil shares in this chapter on how writing this very book brought about fear. He writes, "As I pondered, I realized that such a book would force me to lay myself on the line. Readers would identify my true self, who I truly am, and I wasn't sure I wanted them to recognize me. If I completed the book, I would lay myself out there for public scrutiny and readers could gaze with undisguised disgust."

He goes on to say, "But worst--the absolute worst fear--was (and still is): what do I have to say that will help other writers? In my struggles, I also faced another reality, and that's part of the fear. Some people might not like what I write; others might not like my style; but worse, they might not like me."

There is an acronym for fear I would like to share with you. It goes like this: FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.
I have to admit fear has reeked havoc in my own life more than once, causing me to stew in my own worrisome juices. I've also heard it said that 90% of the things that we worry about don't ever come to pass!

Cecil says that fear keeps us running (or paralyzes us) and reminds us that we have to take risks to succeed. Even his own agent said, 
"Too many writers won't acknowledge their fear, and when they eventually come to the place where they realize they're afraid, they freeze."

Cecil goes on to say that once he acknowledged his fear and faced the "signs" God had placed in his path, he knew he had to respond."

I'm thankful he listened, surrendered and barred his soul by writing this book.

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I feel afraid when I bare my soul. I run the risk that others will despise me, ridicule me, or ignore me. But that's who I am. That's all I have to offer."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #19:     "I feel afraid when I bare my soul.
                      I run the risk that others will despise me,
                                      ridicule me, or ignore me.
                                          But that's who I am.
                                      That's all I have to offer."

Thursday, September 20, 2012


~ Day 20 ~                 IT'S HARD...          ~ Chapter 18 ~

                     AND GETTING HARDER

In yesterday's post we talked about that dreaded old writer's block and how best to deal with it. Today we have another dilemma to wrestle with. It's called doubt. Have you ever been a "doubting Thomas"? I think if we are honest with ourselves we have all experienced that more than once.

"For a long time I thought it was an individual issue," Cecil says,
" later I decided it was something only writers endured. From there I discovered that artists, singers, and other professionals also suffer. Maybe it's something common to people in most areas of work."

Cecil goes to write, "Here's my dilemma. The more I write and the more honest I become, the worse my writing feels. This is an emotional issue, not a logical problem."

 But Cecil discovered that the "doubting Thomas" has another name. Its called "palace guard". In fact there's two palace guards.
Cecil says, "That's my word for the protective side of my personality--the part that doesn't want me to be hurt. Three experiences have helped me in my struggles to accept my palace guards."

Cecil goes on to share, "Three times outsiders encouraged me; they didn't seem bothered about my struggle. Two of them considered it a positive experience."

 What did those voices mean?  Cecil discovered that they meant the others spoke objectively while he fought subjectively with his inner demons. 
He writes, "Or maybe they're not demons."

"What if those tormenting words are for your good?"

"What if the voices are there to help you?"

"What if they want to protect you?"

He goes on to say, "That final question opened a wide door of understanding. What if the words came from a wiser, deeper, inner part of myself? What if those are protective devices--ways to stop me from doing something foolish or awkward?"

Cecil labeled it "the cry of the palace guards." He goes on to explain how they are like soldiers standing their ground . Their single duty is to protect him from embarrassment or humiliation.

Cecil says, "They didn't want me to get hurt or wouldn't stand for the possibility that others might take advantage of my transparency."

I'm truly amazed at how Cecil is able to take something as self destructive as doubt and once again turn it into something positive. Like turning gremlins into teddy bears! Once again showing how changing one's perspective can bring about a huge change in attitude and outcome! 

Although this is not a cure for doubt, having a better understanding and better coping skills will help all of us experience self-
acceptance, wholeness and transparency.

Cecil says that sometimes he will pause and reflect on struggles of the past. He is thankful that those guarding friends have saved him from many bad writing projects by correcting his mistakes or showing him better ways to slant an article.

Perhaps those palace guards or guarding friends are really guardian angles! Sounds encouraging to me!

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I am committed to move deeper into myself, no matter how painful."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #18: " I am committed to move deeper
                            into myself, no matter how painful."


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


~ Day 19 ~ DO YOU WANT TO SHATTER ~ Chapter 17 ~

                                         WRITER'S BLOCK?

So tell me, has this ever happened to you? Have you ever sat blank faced in front of you computer screen? Every writer, song writer and probably just about every student that has had to write an essay or a report has had some sort of writer's block. But, I think in this case Cecil is talking about something that lasts even longer than a few minutes, hours or even days. Perhaps weeks, months and in the extreme cases even years. 

Cecil says, " I've rarely met a writer who didn't speak about being unable to write at some point. In the years I've been in this profession, I've read an innumerable number of articles on how to break through the blockage, and many instruction books contain at least one chapter on the topic."

Cecil continues to write, "We call it writer's block, and it's usually defined as a temporary or chronic inability to type words that appear on the screen. Most of the books, articles, and blogs on writing view writer's block (WB) as an obstacle in the path of writing. Your role is to push the blockage off the road, jump over it, destroy it, or go around it. It becomes the enemy you must defeat, because it prevents your being productive."

Cecil goes on to give examples of methods that other writers use to overcome this obstacle. He also shares some different scenarios in how these are applied.

 Cecil has his own perspective and way of dealing with this issue that I think makes a lot of sense. He says, "But there's another way. Instead of seeing WB as an enemy or alien force, why not turn it around? Why not ask yourself, What can I learn from WB?
I'll go further: WB is your friend.
Focus on that thought and ask yourself:

* "What if WB is a symptom and not a cause?"

* "What if WB comes from some wise, inner part of myself that  
     wants to help me?"

* "What if battling WB is really fighting my deeper, inner self?"

"Because my book focuses on you, the inner writer, I won't offer eight exercises for you to use to overcome the terrible disease. What I will offer is my insight into affirming and accepting WB."

Cecil gives several helpful and insightful tips. Here are just a few that I have gleaned for this post.

First, "Consider WB as a powerful force to help you regulate the 
           creative process."

Second, "Think of your ability as a gift from God."

Third, "Consider the blockage as one that comes from within, not 
             an outer force that works against you."

 I wish I could post all of them but nothing can replace reading the book in its entirety.

Cecil's advice to us is, "The best way I know to avoid or overcome WB is to be kind and compassionate toward yourself." Cecil also shares, "My good writing develops inside my head long before it becomes words on my computer screen."

Clearly Cecil's advice is taking a negative situation such as WB and turning into a positive outcome. One that brings healing, release, and freedom to write once again. Surrounded in an atmosphere of  love and compassion, mercy and grace.

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "When I'm blocked, I listen quietly and compassionately. My deep, inner voice wants to tell me something-something I need to know."

Until Tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #17:      "When I'm blocked, I listen quietly
                                             and compassionately.
                              My deep, inner voice wants to tell me
                             something, something I need to know."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


~ Day 18 ~      LEARNING FROM YOUR    ~ Chapter 16 ~    


I think this topic is something that everybody can relate to whether you are a writer or not. No matter our age or gender, daydreaming is a part of who we are, it's something all of us can relate to.

Cecil says, "I daydream. Often. A lot. I go to sleep at night with a concocted storyline inside my head. I let it play out until I fall asleep (which, my wife insists, is less than two minutes). I'm always the hero, although sometimes I'm the innocent who is crushed by adversity. Even when I'm victimized, I'm of stellar character and noble deeds. They may not say I am, but they certainly tell me who I want to become."

He goes to write, "Daydreams connect with what we now call self-talk. Self-talk doesn't revolve around what happens to you, but what you say to yourself internally. Your inner chatter, the experts insist, determines your thoughts, feelings, and actions. They say your self talk determines the majority of you emotional choices."

Cecil goes on to say "That's because the words you use to describe what is happening to you, and how you feel about external events, trigger the emotions of happiness or unhappiness you experience."

I once heard a  popular TV evangelist give a lesson series entitled Where the Mind Goes the Man Follows. I enjoyed listening to the series and found it really did make sense. It was a good reminder to check my thoughts and where they were leading me. Was it down a path of destruction, or a path of wholeness and happiness? Sometimes that's easier said then done, especially if you have a tendency to worry.

Cecil also says the experts will tell you that if you control that inner dialog, you can control every  part of you life. Cecil writes, "I'm not willing to go that far, and my position is slightly different. Listen to yourself. What messages do you hear repeatedly in you imaginings?"

I agree with Cecil, we can't control what others say or do. We can only control what we will do, or not do in a situation. We are not God. I do feel as a believer we can invite the Lord into our conversations and thoughts, asking and seeking His guidance in every situation.

Cecil goes on to share some stories and examples about daydreams. He mentions reading biographies of star athletes using visualization to accomplish the outcome they want. He feels that's a bit extreme for him, but he does think that self-talk is an important aspect of monitoring and directing our free-floating thoughts.

I feel there is a healthy balance. Even the Bible is filled with what I would call word pictures. We can't help but see with the eyes of our heart. When ever I read or meditate on scripture I can visualize the setting or situation. It's part of our God given creativity.

 Cecil writes, "By noticing your daydreams, you can learn to see your long-held (maybe even long-buried) goals. Whatever your daydreams are about, teach yourself to see the goal or purpose. How does it affect you? What do they tell you about yourself?"

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "My daydreams teach me what's important to me. My first task is to pay attention to them."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism #16:       "My daydreams teach me what's
                                                   important to me.
                         My first task is to pay attention to them."


Monday, September 17, 2012


~ Day 17 ~    GROWING YOUR VOICE   ~ Chapter 15 ~

In this chapter Cecil shares about the kind of books he enjoys reading and the topics he is drawn to as a writer. He says, "I figured out something else about myself through my reading." He goes on to say, "More recently, I gained insight on the kind of adventure books I chose. I rarely read novels about nuclear destruction of the world or a programmed computer that, if unchecked, would destroy the economy of developed nations."

Intimate thrillers and  action-suspense stories also interest Cecil . He shares, "I also like defined characters. I want to picture the males and females, and I like it when the heroes aren't six-foot-six but more average like the rest of us, and the same with the females. Sure, I want her to be pretty, but she doesn't need to look as if she should be on the cover of Vogue. What does this say about me? Intimacy is the first word that comes to mind. The more I get into the heads and hearts of the major characters, the more satisfying it is to me. and it's easier for me to identify with average people."

Cecil goes on to say that out of all the different genres and books that he has either written, ghosted or collaborated with, the theme that he feels has impacted him the most are the underdog stories. Examples such as Gifted Hands and Think Big are the two books that Cecil wrote for Ben Carson.
Another message that comes out of Cecil's books is the topic on caregiving. He writes, "Caregiving implies emotion, transparency, and openness to hurting readers. When I focus on one of those topics, my emotions come to the surface."
I have to say I share similar likes in both my reading and writing style and topics, I love to read true stories about people finding wholeness after a trail in their lives and I root for the underdog whether it is in a movie or a novel.
When I write, my desire is to bring hope and healing to a hurting world. I believe in the message of freedom, grace and giving encouragement to who ever may be in need. I attempt to do this through sharing personal stories or using life experiences dealing with issues of the heart. Another style I enjoy is using the Living word from the Good News Gospel. I like using our five senses when writing with the hope of bringing the readers into an emotional experience and touching their hearts.
I have read where if we can capture that reader's heart it will have a greater impact on them and they are most likely to remember the message long after the story or book is finished. 
Cecil finishes off this chapter by saying, "If you are free to expose yourself, and I identify with your risk-taking, you win. I also win because I become a better writer."
The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I learn from other writers. I grow my voice by paying attention to the writers I like to read."
Until tomorrow,
Bless you,
Aphorism # 15:        "I learn from other writers.
                            I grow my voice by paying attention
                                        to the writers I like to read."

Sunday, September 16, 2012


~ Day 16 ~        FINDING YOUR VOICE       ~ Chapter 14 ~

                             THROUGH OTHERS

In this chapter Cecil talks about finding our writing voice through others and how certain writers speak to us through their prose, whether it's fiction or nonfiction. He says,"You may have a favorite writer or book at one time and change later. That may be one way to look at your growth."

I can totally relate to the above comment. Through the years my taste and perspectives have changed.  Authors and topic choices that I once enjoyed I no longer find interesting and in some cases don't even agree with! Truthfully when I was in high school I didn't even enjoy reading and English was my least favorite subject. If you would have told me 35 years ago that I would one day enjoy reading and have a passion to write I would have said never in a million years. But I have learned, never say never !

Cecil shares some personal examples of various writers and books and movies that have  given him insight about himself and his own growth.

He writes, "If it's true that we're like the characters in the books we read, the obvious implication is that connection with the author or the writing helps you to form your writing voice. Instead of merely enjoying a novel, what would it be if you paused to ask?"

* Which character mirrors me?
* What can I learn about myself?
* Which characters do I dislike the most? Which ones anger me?

Cecil goes on to say, "When you read, whether fiction or nonfiction, those authors speak words that penetrate your heart. They nudge you toward growth and improvement. They stir you intellectually. They motivate you to act." 

 Cecil finishes off this chapter by sharing some more personal experiences in writing. He writes, "Today I'm  grateful for all the writers from Victor Hugo to Henri Nouwen. They helped me discover my voice."

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I find my voice through understanding others."

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism # 14:            " I find my voice
                             through understanding others"

Saturday, September 15, 2012


~ Day 15 ~   EMBRACING YOUR VOICE   ~ Chapter 13 ~

While reading and reflecting on this chapter a thought came to my mind. It's more like a quote. It goes like this: "Writing is recording our voice on paper." In other words, writing is like using a pen as your mic and the paper as the recording device. I Think I just made up my first Aphorism! 

Writing is so much more than just learning basic principles, it's really about expressing oneself and showing the world who you are. 

Cecil writes, "Think of your writing voice as your natural way of producing words. You have a texture, a sound, and a rhythm that's unique to you, and it's your power source." He goes on to say, "On paper you may exhibit your true self more than you're aware."

He shares that, "If you write something that's generated from your inner self, you are connected with the material. Readers can lose themselves in your prose. One writer says that it turns readers from spectators into participants." 

Cecil says that when he is asked to show someone how to discover their natural voice his advice is to tell them to write about what stirs their emotions. He says, "If you combine that with good writing techniques, you have a good start." When Cecil is asked  by someone how to discover their true voice  his response is, "I don't know how. Even if I did, the emphatic word is discover. If I show you, you're not discerning and seeking. You're merely following my direction, and I may be wrong. You have to find your own way; however, I can offer you a few suggestions."

He goes on to write, "What I tell them is simple: Be as natural as possible--but be correct. People need to able to hear you--the authentic you. Finding your voice is like being on a sacred quest. Respect your search because your voice is a gift from God that's unique to you."

Cecil gives this advice,"If you want to find your voice, your goal is to journey toward wholeness--which is what life is about anyway.
Honoring your voice involves self acceptance and self love" 

There are four important questions Cecil encourages writers to ask themselves before starting to write: 
1. What do I want to write?
2. What issues or deep concerns do I have?
3. What are the unresolved issues of my life?
4. Is my writing honest?

He says, "To ask such questions opens you to possible solutions or directions you hadn't previously considered. You don't have to think like the people among whom you work, recreate, or worship. You're responsible to be honest with yourself. If you're honest with yourself, your writing will reflect that."

Cecil goes on to share some experiences that had brought about major changes in his life. He ends this chapter by sharing this statement. "The more comfortable you are being who you have become, the easier it is to write with your voice."

Once again there is so much to glean from this book. My hope is to give you a glimpse and encourage you to read it for yourself.

The Aphorism for this chapter is: "My voice expresses who I am, it waits for me to discover and embrace it.

Until tomorrow,
Bless you,

Aphorism # 13:    "My voice expresses who I am,
                    it waits for me to discover and embrace it."

Friday, September 14, 2012


~ Day 14 ~     HONORING YOUR VOICE   ~ Chapter 12 ~

Cecil has previously talked about needing to write with our own voices and to make the words on the page sound like ourselves. "If you write with your distinctive voice, readers will know who you are." He says, "People who know me say that when they read my prose, they can hear me talking casually to them."

Cecil writes, "For excellence in writing, your words on paper need to sound as if you're having a simple, direct conversation with the reader. And it doesn't matter which genre you use or whether it's fiction or nonfiction. Your voice is your voice."
Although the style and subject matter change, the voice doesn't. The only time Cecil says your voice should not sound like your own is when you are ghostwriting for someone else.
This reminds me of a young lady I know who is enrolled in a program run by a Christian author/speaker. The purpose of the program is to teach her how to speak publicly and write books about her love for God. Although it sounds very noble and exciting I can't help but wonder who she will sound like when she's finished. Will she still sound like herself or like the author? Will she write and speak with authenticity or will she become programed, no longer having a sense of her own identity? I guess time will tell. I hope most of all she will reflect Christ in her, the hope of glory.
Cecil shares further thoughts on this topic. He says,"Too many writers have little respect for their own sound. You may feel you have to imitate someone else, become more erudite, or use strong words to give you authority. Resist that. Work at sounding like the best possible version of yourself."
He goes on to say,"Readers choose certain authors the same way they select their friends-- on the basis of personality--or the sound of the author's words in print. All humans have a circle of people who like them and want to be around them. You also have those who don't like you, avoid you, or can't relate to you. That's the same as your readership."
I've heard it said that at least 10 percent of the population will not like you no matter what you do. At least you'll have 90% that do!
"If you're like the average person," Cecil writes, " you want to have more friends--and as a writer, that refers primarily to buyers and readers of your writing."
After sharing a few examples of his own experiences in writing Cecil says,"No matter how much some editors or other writers may not like your writing, you'll attract those who will. You'll draw people into your writing circle the same way you do in your friendship circle." 
There is so much more teaching in this chapter than I can possibly post so I would like to finish off with this final paragraph by Cecil.
He writes, "No one can teach you to write with your true voice. We instructors can only provide the atmosphere or setting that honors the process and encourages you to strive to hear your inner voice. Please remember this: The true voice is the heart of good writing. It's more than techniques or the ability to write in more than one genre. It's the ability to accept your voice as valuable and to use it."
This message from Cecil is filled with encouragment, grace and a
 grace-filled environment for us to grow as writers! 
The Aphorism for this chapter is:  "The more I know who I am and like who I am, the truer my writing voice and the more faithfully I honor that voice."
Until tomorrow,
Bless you,
Aphorism # 12:      "The more I know who I am
                                              and like who I am
                              The truer my writing voice and
                         the more faithfully I honor that voice."