Thoughts on Being a Better Person

Ironic timing for this. Just after doing one of the Blogging 101 exercises, I was forced to think a bit. It was shortly after I commented on a writing/personal blog linked here. (Speaking of which, you should definitely check the blog out. It seems to have lots of blogging potential.)

She talks about her simple goal to just become a better person over the next few months. I even commented that by the intent to become a better person, she’s already on her way. But it made me think a bit over my personal life. I know the purpose for this blog. I know the purpose of my book. But do I know my own purpose right now? And do I really want to become a better person?

It may seem like an odd question. At least deep down, I think everyone wants to be a good person, even if we aren’t naturally good. But what am I doing to better myself today? That’s a lot of italics, I know, but roll with it for a little bit.

That’s a lot of italics, I know, but roll with it for a little bit.

I realize that I ought to be always trying to better myself. Obviously I will never become perfect, but if I know I have faults, I have to at least try to correct them. I think I had come to a point where I wanted to become a better writer and blogger, but not actually change myself. But now I think I will start giving it a try again.

So how does one change themselves? As I told the blogger who inspired this, it starts with the desire. But there is more to the story. We Christians have a saying regarding self-improvement. Paul says it in Philippians 4:8. It goes like this.

It is similar to the Buddhist eightfold path. In fact, I’ve even openly referred to it as the Christian eightfold path in front of friends. So when you are making a decision, you must think. Is it:

  • true
  • noble
  • right
  • pure
  • lovely
  • admirable
  • excellent
  • praiseworthy

That’s a long list, I know. But it looks really cool in list form, so I thought I’d put it like that. Anyhow, I have made a determination. When I make a risky decision from now on, I will go through this verse, this eightfold path, in my mind. If even one thing cannot be checked off, I should at least rethink the decision.

Now, this does not mean that people cannot enjoy fighting or reading a good fantasy battle. If it is for good reason, such as protecting their family, friends or country, then it is admirable and praiseworthy. It does not have to fit all the requirements.

So, what are you doing to better yourself today?

Think about it.

Finding your Style

So, it has happened. I’m slowly beginning to find a style. I mean that in both the sense of life and of writing. I was thinking about this yesterday, as I pulled out some of my favorite pieces of writing that I’ve written in a long, long while. I wondered why I enjoyed writing them so much – those specific ones. I figured it out.

It was that they came naturally to me. They were written like I would write them.

For so long I have tried to be someone else. I tried reading books and modeling my work after successful authors. I watched popular people in my years at college and tried to follow in their footsteps. But it wasn’t working out for me? Why? Because it wasn’t me.

I have found that my best work comes in the close-up. In writing, it’s the intimate, one-on-one moments where I can shine. In life, I enjoy myself best with a group of three to four people, even better one-on-one. So in a way, I didn’t have to find a style at all. I’ve just realized what it already is. And that makes it so much better, and people enjoy it that much better.

Moral of the story: don’t apologize for who you are. That’s all you can really be happy as.

Yup. Emotional and sappy blog. I make those occasionally. I’ll avoid them in later days.

Muses and Motivation

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you probably guessed this post was coming. Today’s post is a question regarding your muse, your motivation. What is it, really?

The simple fact is that, if we are writing, something put us to that point. It may be the encouragement of a father, a mother, a brother, a sister or a friend, but something is driving us to write and write and write some more. But I find that, even when I’m almost out of reasons to write, I find something inside me driving me to push on. Whether it is some mad writing demon or God Himself I cannot be sure.

So what pushes you? What started you off, and what keeps you going even when it’s hard? Because it is hard. Sometimes you’ll look at your work, no matter how much you’ve done, and want to toss it in the trash. Sometimes you do. Sometimes something takes it out of the trashcan and looks at it again.

What, or who, is your muse?