Posted in Personal, Writing

The Power of Stories

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. I’m happy to say I’m in the second stage of my second work in progress. The second stage is editing where I make the story better. That means I have two completed WIPs under my belt. My first one I had a eureka moment concerning the beginning pages, and it has made my story that much better. I’m more excited about it.

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But enough about that, today I would like to talk about the power of story. I haven’t done a writing post in a long time, so I thought today, it would be appropriate. A story can transport you to another world and another time. It’s a great way to forget about your problems for a while and relieve some stress by concentrating on something else. Reading is a great stress reliever. Did you know reading for just fifteen minutes can reduce your anxiety by sixty percent? But, we need stories that will engage our readers, so they have to be compelling enough to keep our attention.

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The power of story can make us feel. Feel emotions we’ve buried deep. It’s important to release those emotions in a safe way. A story does this for us. It’s a safe place and we learn empathy for the victims and the heroes in the story.  This is important in our technology heavy world. Where emotion and feelings aren’t always dealt with constructively.

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There are times when we identify with the characters in the story. A story can alleviate feelings of anxiety and alienation. This is critical. Especially now with the way covid has affected our worlds and obliterated our social lives. It worked great for us introverts, but our extroverted friends have had a harder time.

A story can motivate us, give us power to achieve things we never thought possible. If we see the main character overcoming obstacles like the obstacles we have, it gives us hope. The hope that all we need to do is persevere and we too will overcome the mountains in our way.

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Right now, stories are more important than ever. With the pandemic lasting almost two years people need something to occupy their time and relieve their boredom. So, writers write your stories. Improve your craft and get those stories out there. The world needs them now more than ever.

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How about you, how do stories affect you? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Reading

Reading: It’s Cheaper than Therapy

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the future of reading in our society. According to this article, reading is on the decline. Washington Post Article

Like the article states, we readers have many distractions pulling us away from our beloved books. There’s the internet, movies, and video games. Now, I’m not big on video games. In fact, the only time my boys want to challenge me to a game is when they need an ego boost because I suck at video games. However, I can attest to the fact there are more things demanding my attention so I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

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I’m sure you’ve heard many educators claim that reading teaches empathy, and with reading on the decline so is our ability to empathize with our peers. This is evident in the arguments I see on social media. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it just seems like we have less tolerance for people who are different than us.

 

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Not only is reading linked with empathy but there are other benefits we need to pay attention to as well.

For example, reading is an incredible stress reliever. Did you know by picking up a book and reading for just six minutes you can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent?  I don’t know about you, but I’m teaching this to my kids. Exercise and reading are better ways of handling stress than drinking alcohol or taking drugs, wouldn’t you agree?

As a parent, we need to teach our littles how to cope with everyday stress and one of the cheapest ways is to pick up a book and read. It sure beats the alternatives and is less expensive than therapy.

There are still more benefits to reading for pleasure. Like running is exercise for the body, reading is exercise for the mind. It improves focus, improves memory, and analytical skills. To read more about this check out this post: The Benefits of Reading

I don’t know about you, but I feel we can’t let this decline continue. If we do we’ll be seeing our young people resorting to other stress relievers that aren’t as beneficial.  We don’t want that to happen. You realize there’s an opioid epidemic happening don’t you?  I don’t want one of my kids to end up as part of that statistic, do you?

So teach them healthy coping mechanisms like reading for pleasure and exercising. They’ll be happier and healthier because of it.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Reading, Slice of LIfe

Can Reading save the Human Species?

Write. Share. Give.

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post, and I’m talking about how Reading just might save our species.

What the heck are you talking about?

I know that’s what you all are thinking, but stay tuned and I’ll explain.

There are 7.4 billion people on our planet today. Keep in mind we only have one planet. According to experts, our planet’s capacity is 9 billion people. We’re living longer and still reproducing. We need to do something fast. The earth is getting crowded. So what can we do?

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 Good question.

I have an answer.

First of all, we need to teach our kids empathy for our fellow man. Why? Because our planet is getting crowded and we all have to learn to get along. How do we teach empathy?  Get your kids hooked on reading. Reading for pleasure teaches children empathy. Without compassion we’re totally sunk as a species.

 

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How do we get our kids hooked on books? By having access to a wide variety of them. There’s millions of books available to our kids, making these books easy to access is where we’re going to make strides in creating a better world for all of us, because reading for pleasure teaches empathy. I know I keep saying that, but it’s true. It’ been proven. I’ve written a whole article on it. Just click here to read it.

 

It’s important to remember that in order for our kids to become hooked on reading they must choose reading all on their own. Therefore, they must choose the books they read. So, we as parents have to accept and encourage whatever their choices are. Even if we don’t see the value in the stories they’re reading. So, if your child wants to read graphic novels so be it. It’s better than not reading at all.

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So how do we as parents foster this love of reading? It’s easy. Start reading to them when they’re young. Model reading for them. That means, you as a parent must spend time reading for pleasure. We have to make time for it. I have my boys read twenty minutes a day. Most days, I read right along with them. Make reading a lifelong habit. It’s a great way to deal with stress.

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I use it as a coping mechanism, when I have a bad day. I lose myself in a book for at least a half an hour. When I emerge from the story, my stress level is lower and I’m in a better frame of mind. (Another benefit of reading)

I have a great solution for road rage. Pull these people over and make them read for half an hour. Just think what that would do. It’d lower the rager’s stress level and teach them empathy at the same time. I like it. 🙂

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So you see, Reading can solve a wide range of problems for our society, and I don’t think I’m far off the mark by saying it can go a long way to save our species.  So, Read. Read as if your life depended on it! Yes. I’m being melodramatic, but at the same time I make a very good point. 😉

Thanks for reading my post. I appreciate it. What are your thoughts on reading, do you think it’ll save society? I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment!

To read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

Posted in Literacy, Reading, Writing

The Link between Reading and Empathy

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my second WIP and it’s coming along. I try to make it perfect and then I have to tell myself to relax and let the story flow. It is after all, my first draft. My seventh novel has been on the back burner, simmering while  a third Beta reader checks it out. I’ve gotten very positive feedback from the first two, so I’m crossing my fingers. 🙂

In between my writing times I’ve been keeping a presence on social media and I’ve gotten involved in some Twitter Chats. These chats have centered on the topic of Diversity and Social Media.

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It seems to me that Social Media has allowed people to drop their masks and spew their hate for certain minorities, genders, or people of different sexual orientations. Since these people can’t see the hurt they inflict, they don’t experience the consequences of their actions, so they keep doing it.

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The reality is empathy for our fellow man is declining.  With the internet and social media, we’re more connected than we’ve ever been in our entire lives, and yet we’re struggling to be empathetic. Why?

Some researchers feel that information overload has made our brains screen out the emotionally expensive content. It’s a defense mechanism. They’ve also found the increase in screen time has an inverse relationship with empathy. Simply put, when our screen time increases our ability to empathize decreases. To learn more click this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/artificial-maturity/201403/why-empathy-is-declining-among-students-and-what-we-can-do

Another study states there has been a sharp decline in reading for pleasure in the last ten years. What’s interesting is that along with this decline there’s also been a decline in the ability to feel compassion for others. As an author I find that very interesting. Don’t you?

This strongly suggests reading is linked to empathy. In fact, studies have shown the number of books preschoolers read predicts their ability to empathize. To read the full article click here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-me-care/

 

 Photo credit: Brian Metcalfe via Visual hunt / CC BY

 

So authors keep writing, don’t give up. Write those diverse books and try to ignore the haters. If they don’t get a reaction they can’t continue spewing their garbage.  It’s hard to ignore them, I know, but we as a society need those books. There’s enough readers out there for all of us, so let’s band together and send out a positive vibration that obliterates their negative one. Don’t even engage with them. They’ll get the message sooner or later.

To read more Slice of Life Posts click here.