December 20, 2010

Feng Shui Writing

HINT For Beth's Birthday Hunt Clue #3

Really?  Okay :)  Look in the mirror :)

I need to Feng Shui my house.


At this moment, I cannot actually get into my office.

Which is why I am writing at the kitchen table.  (Also, it's sunnier here, but that is just an added bonus.)

I would take a picture, but I'm afraid the visual would be so frightening that it might take you weeks to get up the courage to return to my blog.  Also, I'm not sure I can even fit the camera through the office door...

This whole clean-up-the-office thing will have to be addressed imminently because that's where the Christmas presents are, so I'm going to have to get in there and wrap.  But it will have to wait until I'm done with this.  And a few other things.  Which is probably why I never seem to get around to it...

Feng Shui, in grossly oversimplified western terms, has to do with de-cluttering.  In actual fact, Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese system for improving life by receiving positive energy, and it has more to do with auspiciously orienting objects in space than with cleaning up.  Either way, it can be applied to more than just my house.

Think about picture books.  Some of the very best have spare writing.  Where The WIld Things Are could not be much simpler, yet its message has resonated with children for decades.

Think of poetry - how a few choice words can convey such beauty and emotion.

All the best writers have learned to pare their words down to the necessities and to orient their ideas in the most auspicious ways.  And if you are a writer of picture books, this is a valuable and necessary skill indeed.

I have a ways to go, but I am getting there.  In the beginning, my picture book manuscripts rarely came in under 2,500 words (yes, I know how completely ridiculous that is!)  Now, almost without exception, I can bring a first draft in under 800 words.  Progress!

I hope you're impressed with how I managed to turn cleaning my office into a discussion of writing.  I think that was a prime example of auspiciously orienting ideas :)

And now, pay attention, this is important and the most auspiciously oriented part of the whole post:  tomorrow, (or possibly Wednesday, depending on the speed and efficiency of her web designer), we will be having a guest!!!  None other than the multi-talented Kathy Troidle Jackson, poet/author extraordinaire, who writes Haiku!  Now I realize, of course, that Haiku is Japanese in origin, not Chinese, but I think it fits admirably with the discussion of Feng Shui because Haiku is also about sparity (an invented word herein meaning that which is beautiful and spare, evoking emotion with few words:)  Anyone who can think of a better invented word than sparity is free to contribute!)

And now, since this post is threatening to become VERY wordy, after I just told you how much better I'm getting at not being wordy, I will end here.  But please be sure to check back in the next couple of days for Kathy's interview.  It's very interesting and full of helpful tidbits!  And cute pictures of her dog!


  1. What a great post! I am struggling right now to write a picture book manuscript and keep it as sparse as possible. I am trying very hard to make every word count for 10! Love the blog!

  2. Thanks so much, Megan! And seriously, tune in for Kathy's interview because as a haiku writer she has some great thoughts on making words count.

  3. I can relate so well to this post! Beautifully said. Now I feel like I should go clean. Or write...


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