10 Ways to Make Books Earn Their Shelf Space in Your Bookcase

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” —Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

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In an earlier post, I talked about squeezing by-products from your creative work. This time it’s squeezing by-products from others’ creative work, i.e. their books.

I love my library. The many books I’ve read surrounding me as I write encourages me. For years, I felt guilty for not giving the books away. I’ve loaned out many, but…

Then my guilt vanished when I discovered so many ways to “reuse” them for me and for others.

Whether you’re an author, a blogger, or a workshop leader:

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  • You can glean new uses for the books on your bookshelves. click to tweet

photoUses for the Books on Your Bookshelves

1. I write a lot of blog posts on writing. While making a point, I pull books from my shelves and find published examples to show what I mean.

2. I credit the author for the examples I use from books. This gives other authors exposure, especially as to how they cleverly performed a technique.

3. I have trouble sometimes in finding the answer to an uncommon grammar, style, or punctuation question in my reference books. So, I peruse books on my shelves. I often find how at least one publisher handled the issue. Using the search function on my e-books makes this easier

4. I give a quote in each of my blog posts. I usually search online for quotes. Often, though, I remember something an author said in one of the books on my shelves that’s the perfect quote.

5. I lead workshops on writing. I’ll take a load of books with me to use for examples. Once, I handed each participant a book and had each read aloud the opening paragraph. Then we voted on the best opening hook. This started discussion. It also gave other authors exposure.

6. I gathered 50 of my print and e-book inspirational romance novels recently and read the last two pages. I learned the popular elements inspirational romance authors leave their readers with at the end of their books. It gave me content for a blog post and a new ending idea I want to try.

7. I send my agent book proposals. In them, I list novels similar to mine. This helps the publisher know how marketable my book might be. I prefer to compare my book’s similarities and unique differences to books I’ve read and have on hand to refresh my memory.
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8. I’ve seen how loaning books to people has caused them to purchase the authors’ other books.

9. I visited a shut-in for years. Every week I brought her books from my shelves. They kept her going, and they gave us something fun to talk about.

10. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention we can press flowers or four-leaf clovers in our books.

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How have you put your shelved books to work?

5 Tips from Creative Geniuses on How to Love

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On this Valentines Day, enjoy the tips on how to love, gleaned from the thoughts of creative geniuses.

“The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.” —Vincent Van Gogh—Dutch painter (1853-1890)

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tip 1: Love others, and experience artistic beauty. I thought creative geniuses submerged themselves deep in their work and never thought about brotherly love. Van Gogh cutting off a piece of his ear and giving it to a prostitute was morbid. Yet Van Gogh also spoke this tender quote. For me, it’s love God and others.

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“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”  —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe —German poet/writer/scientist/ natural philosopher (1749-1832)

MP900443864Tip 2: Love well, and refine character. Considering his long list of occupations, Goethe may have referred to the impact of these endeavors on his life. Or he may have offered it as a lesson learned from his love life. He seems to have loved several women over his life, which also may have shaped him. Some inspired his works. Others rejected him. An engagement was ended. He married his mistress of little education after eighteen years and the birth of several children.

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“In our life there is a single colour, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the colour of love.”  —Marc Chagall—Russian artist, (1887-1985)

MP900432886Tip 3: Love vibrantly, and live a meaningful life. Color dominated Chagall’s works. It’s probably natural he would view what he believed about love through color. Chagall married his fiancée after a twelve-year engagement.

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The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”  —Charles Dickens—English novelist (1812-1870)

DickensTip 4: Love first, and then create. At age twelve for three years, Dickens lived in the world of the working poor in appalling conditions. He never forgot his plight and in loving sympathy for children of the poor, created characters like Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. He was known as a spokesman for the poor and oppressed. His quote reminds me of the verses in the Bible that tell us God, our creator, knew and loved us before we existed.

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“To love is not to look at one another, but to look together in the same direction.”  —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry —French novelist/poet/aviator (1900-1944)

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tip 5: Love unity, and together, look to the future. I wonder if Saint-Exupéry learned the lesson he espouses from his failed relationships. His fiancée’s family objected to his flying, and he took a desk job, only returning to aviation after the engagement dissolved. His marriage to a widow, his muse and his source of torment, was a volatile marriage.

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Happy Valentines Day. What thoughts on love can you add?

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