Worthwhile Influences

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Many times I’ve wondered what makes a good writer good. What is it about their writing that leaves a deep mark in the souls of those who read their work? Granted, there is no one thing that makes a good writer good. In fact, there are many different aspects in a writer’s life that play a role in the superiority of their work. However, lately I’ve been touched by a thought, so seemingly insignificant, that I had dismissed it in the past without notice.
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Influence.
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When I look into the lives of writers I admire and who’s stories have marked me the deepest, I come to realize that they all had a circle of influence that helped them grow as writers. This made me ask myself, what kinds of influences are shaping my writing? Are those influences making me better?
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Many people say that whatever you throw out always comes back to you. Could it be then that whatever you allow inside will always go back out? I think it will. When we let good influences feed our souls, whatever comes out of our souls will be good. If we then allow the same influences to shape whatever comes out, the result can only improve.
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Some time ago I came across a newsletter for authors and artists called Root Notes, created by Keith Jennings, a writer, storyteller and marketer. I decided I would sign up to receive the newsletter and if I didn’t like it I would just unsubscribe; after all, I had done it in the past with other newsletters. To my surprise though, I discovered something completely unexpected.
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Keith’s newsletters were unlike anything I had experienced so far. They didn’t flash me with suggestions about how to become a creative genius, or how to take advantage of his new promotional service. No, Root Notes did something different. It made me dig deep into my mind’s eye, removing layers of preconceptions and breaking through the notions I had as a writer. It influenced me for the better.
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When I asked Keith what he hoped to achieve with his newsletter, he said, “I look for unresolved tensions that exist in our everyday and creative lives and I explore them in ways I hope gives readers little aha moments. The main thing I hope to achieve is to write narratives that linger in the mind, long after you’ve read them.”
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We as writers browse through a vast number of websites, stumble upon countless amounts of books, and interact with lots of different people on a daily basis. How then can we choose which of those websites to follow, what books to read and which people to connect with? A friend told me once, “that which influences you for good is what you should surround yourself with.”
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I’ve come across different websites, books and people in the last few months that have inspired me and changed the way I see myself, not only as a writer, but also as a creative being. These experiences have made me realize how important it is to fill my time and space with worthwhile influences.
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Keith’s last newsletter was about relationships. He said, “Everything in life is a relationship. Our creative life is a relationship. We live in relationships with ourselves, our families and friends, our neighbors, our natural and climatic surroundings, our work and co-workers, our faith, our interests.”
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Each relationship in our lives influences us, for better or worse. What kinds of influences are you allowing inside of you?

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