On Love University, I was pleased to visit with a marvelous human being, Rebecca Forster, NY times bestselling crime author and humanitarian. Rebecca has written over 30 books, has touched many people through her philanthropic work, and has a thriving 40 + year marriage and personal life. Here are some of the valuable tips we learned from Rebecca on writing and life:
On How to Be A Great Writer:
*Find the joy in writing: Don’t just do it for money or acclaim. Find the story (or idea) that is burning inside you—that needs to get out. Root for the characters in your book—even the bad ones (make them as bad as they can possibly be). Have fun and you will create good work.
*Take baby steps: When Rebecca was just starting out, she had her toddler next to her and she would put a page in the baby’s typewriter as she put one in her’s and started writing. No matter what your situation (parent, full-time worker, student) currently is, you can make time to write. Start by writing a certain number of words per day, and soon your passion will build and you will eventually write a book you can be proud of.
*Educate Yourself: With today’s self-publishing and marketing opportunities, you can create your own cottage writing industry. Learn everything you can about writing, publishing, and marketing. Attend writer’s groups and conferences; read e-books, learn from videos about the craft and business of writing.
On How to Have a Great Relationship:
Rebecca has been married for over 40 years to a judge who helps her with background research on her thrillers. Here are some of the secrets to a healthy and happy marriage:
*Find the humor in each other: If you find each other humorous, that’s a great plus because humor can serve as a buffer against stress and conflicts. Share jokes and stories with each other; watch funny videos, shows, or comics—strive to have several times of laughter with your mate each day.
*Be curious together: Strive to learn new things together; attend classes, go on trips, vacations, and adventures. Always keep learning about each other; spend time in different situations, environments, and people. The couple that learns together, grows together.
*Realize that your differences can be strengths: Although compatibility (similarity in important values) can be important in relationships, sometimes complementary traits—opposite styles that mesh—can also work. For example, your partner is an Introvert (energy within), and you’re an Extravert (energy from social interactions), you can make it work if you respect each other’s style. The Extravert can get the Introvert out of the house and socializing, and the Introvert can calm and relax the Extravert.
*Be each other’s cheerleader and number one fan: When you are proud of your spouse or partner, and their successes (and they feel the same way about you), the relationship is stronger and smoother. Don’t let envy creep into your relationship. Every day strive to express your appreciation and admiration for your mate and what they do to keep your marriage and family strong.
On How to Be A Great Person
*Be open to experience: When Rebecca was sick in a hospital, she noticed some things that needed improvement. She told the hospital, and as a result, she was invited to be a patient advisor. This opened her up to new insights and helped her become a more compassionate person as she improved the lives of patients. In the same way, find ways to say “Yes” to people who need your help. Be open to making new connections, associations, and friendships. The more open you are, the more life will bring favorable circumstances into your life.
*Never say you don’t have the time or opportunity: When Rebecca first started writing, she was working a full-time corporate job and had a baby, but she didn’t let circumstances stop her. Initially, writing late at night, she resolved to write a certain number of pages each day before she stopped. When you have discipline and work toward a goal you desire, almost nothing can stop you—as long as you have the passion to truly express yourself.
*Give love without expectation: Volunteer at non-profit organizations, hospitals, charities, or churches. Help those who are less fortunate than you—listen empathetically to friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and even strangers. The key is to help others without expectation—without expecting that they will appreciate, praise, or even like you. You do it because love is an essence within you that is clamoring to get out. It has a self-renewable quality—the more you express it, the more of it you get back.
Yes, you can become a great writer (or excel in any other creative venture you desire), as well as becoming an excellent person. All it takes is drive, persistence, and the help of loving people around you. When you create and help others, you will discover your true inner beauty, calmness, and peace, and you can share it with the world.