David Bowie – be true to yourself

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David Bowie is dead at 69 from cancer. His last song, Lazarus, was recorded shortly before he died and the video shot in a hospital room, showing him with his eyes blindfolded. Lazurus is, of course, a referral to the Bible where Jesus is recorded raising this man from the dead days after he died. Perhaps Bowie hoped for the same to happen for him.

There is much that has and will be said about him. He was an imaginative, talented entertainer, who showcased sometimes bizarre and little understood looks, actions and music. If there is one thing to take from his life, I think it is this – don’t be afraid to be yourself. What you express may seem offbeat or oddball to someone else, but to be yourself is a gift that can’t be taken from you.

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Write what you know – or do your research!

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I just finished a book by a well-known author, who writes a compelling story. But mid-way through, he talks about a big high-speed yacht in his novel. What caught my attention was the way he described it. The boat had a single inboard engine, 250 horsepower. Now we had a 25 foot SeaRay a few years ago, and it had a bigger engine than that. I don’t think you could move this huge yacht around with an engine that size, let alone sail the seas.

Why did that grab me? Because it seemed poorly researched. And the fact of it pulled me out of the story to puzzle why they made that mistake.

Here’s another example. This is a story of a young woman who inherits her family company after her father died. She soon discovers it is near bankruptcy. After some thought and discussion, her plan is now to ask an old business friend to help finance it. After presenting the pitch to the friend, she returns to her largest store and walks through trying to envision how she would revamp it to meet today’s market.

Now, wouldn’t she have done this before pitching to the business acquaintance? Otherwise, what is the pitch based on? It looks like this writer doesn’t understand business.

What is my point here? Understand what you write about. Don’t assume that these things won’t be noticed, or don’t matter. If this isn’t your area of expertise, then do your research so that you speak from a position of knowledge. It makes your writing more powerful and compelling.

That’s my rant for this week. 🙂

Hope you have a good January, keep reading and keep writing.