Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Aphorisms (Part 9 of 10)

Once we get used to writing aphorisms, we discover they do more than make clever statements. They’re also useful in writing articles and books.

The concept of several of my books began with a single thought. My personal favorite, Knowing God, Knowing Myself, found its genesis in a comment by St. Teresa of Avila: “We shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God.” That stayed with me for weeks while ideas tumbled through my mind. Then I wrote the book.

My awareness that learning to write aphorisms could lead to creative articles happened in the mid-1990s when Lin Johnson, editor of The Christian Communicator, asked me to write an article on how to get a literary agent. (Christian agents first came on the scene around 1990, and I was one of those early ones to sign with one.)

In writers magazines, I’d read articles on how to get an agent and had fairly well digested the material. As I pondered the piece Lin wanted, out of seemingly nowhere I thought, Why would an agent want me for a client?

I used that as my starting place and kept the focus on the literary agent instead of myself. The material was the same, but I used a different approach. (And, as I recall, I had five requests for reprinting the article.)

I realized that once I distilled the dozens of ideas and concepts, I was ready to write. And the major factor in the distillation process was one simple maxim.

We can learn brevity that leads to creative ways to express ourselves.

Once we learn to write maxims,
they become guides in creatively writing for publication.



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