Thursday, November 7, 2013

3 Things I Did To Help Me Live a More Honest Life ~ Guest Blog & GIVEAWAY by Stephanie Morrill

It's Sweet-quel time!!

I'm super excited to get to welcome my best friend and critique partner to my blog today to help her celebrate the release of her TOTALLY AMAZING new novel, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet, the sequel (or Sweet-quel, as I like to call it, LOL) to The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. There's a giveaway at the bottom for a digital copy of either of her Ellie books. Once the paperbacks are out, I'll be hosting another giveaway for one of those. =) And now, drum roll please...

3 Things I Did to Help Me Live a More Honest Life

by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the Ellie Sweet books (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website.

I was a liar as a child.

I didn’t mean to be. It just…kinda…happened. I would be telling my mom about my day at school, or my friends about something that had happened to me, and I couldn’t seem to resist spicing it up a bit. Because it just would have been so much funnier/sweeter/richer an experience if such-and-such had happened instead.

Cue an honesty problem that followed me into adulthood.

So it was no stretch for me to write about a teenage girl who has problems with the truth. Who likes to imagine her life being different, who represents herself in different ways to the different people in her life…and who has maybe lost touch with what the truth really is anymore.

Read sample chapters of the books on Stephanie's website

But, obviously, lying is bad. It was hurting my relationships, and I knew I needed to get it under control.

Here are three things that helped me kick my lying habit:

I’m living a life I love.

There’s no doubt that this has helped curb the temptation to lie about my life. Those lies I used to tell my friends about conversations I had with the cute neighbor boy who I had never even talked to? No need. My husband is smokin’. Plus I’m doing the work that I was meant to do - writing - and I’m raising two darling kids.

And still the temptation flares from time-to-time. I wish my house was cleaner. I wish I had time to do even one of the projects I’ve pinned to my kiddos board. I wish my books were hitting bestseller lists. It's still a struggle for me to be vulnerable and authentic.

I invest my day-to-day time well.

I’m currently reading Donald Miller’s acclaimed A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which is about what he learned when editing his life for a movie and how to live a better life story. I love his author's note in the beginning where he says, "If what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either."

A friend of mine just went through a Donald Miller workshop thing where you work on the story of your life. She says one of the biggest things she’s taken away from it is how to invest her days better. She says she now looks at her day and thinks, “What are the three things I’ll regret having not done when the sun goes down?” I haven’t started that exact practice yet, but I do my best to keep my priorities focused on investing in my husband and kids and my God-given passion of stories.

What does this have to do with honesty? Day to day, I’m living out what I believe. Everyday, I’m trying to love well, seek God, and work passionately. This means I don’t feel the need to create a fa├žade of what my days are like because I’m proud of what I’m doing.

Social media.

With social media, I feel like all the threads of my life are woven tightly together. Is that always a comfortable feeling? No. Is it a good thing for a girl who regularly has to check her desire to exaggerate? Yes. 

When I post on social media, my posts regularly get liked or commented on by people from all corners of my life. From my best friend to my grandfather-in-law to fans of my books to my agent to my Christian friends to my atheist friends to my elementary school best friend to teen writers who I mentor.

Any fib would likely get detected by someone on my friends list. And that reins me in real quick!

Ellie Sweet has to get the honesty thing figured out too! You can win your choice of the Ellie Sweet books today on Writing Roseanna:

Do you ever feel the urge to embellish reality?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

16 comments:

  1. I don't see a question of the day, so... I say something else. lol

    When I was younger, I had that issue too. And sometimes I still feel the itch to "make the story better". I usually over come it by saying, I wish I had said/done this...

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    1. Oh, right, question. LOL. This is what happens when Roseanna is in a hurry. ;-) I just added one...that you already answered! LOL

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    2. I can totally relate. This is why I'm horrible at journaling.

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  2. I didn't see a Question of the Day, but I love Stephanie's books! They are so good!

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    1. Yeah, I kinda forgot that, LOL. Just added one, but professing love for Stephanie's super-awesome books is quite sufficient. ;-)

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  3. Haha, yes, of course I do! Especially if I have an audience or in competitive speech and debate. I have to remember that a little bit of embellishment and exaggeration is okay, as long as it doesn't cross the line into ridiculousness or a falsehood.

    Stephanie: You are awesome! Talented, beautiful, witty, sweet--congrats of your newest release!

    Roseanna: Thanks for sharing about her book! I cannot wait to read it! :D You're the perfect best friend for her.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kate! And, yes, I totally lucked out on landing Roseanna as a best friend :)

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    2. LOL. I think we both hit the jackpot on that one! God must have been smiling on us that day in Dallas. =)

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  4. I have embellished reality before but as a general rule I really don't think I do. Most of the stories I tell come from babysitting times and are usually pretty funny without any embellishment!

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  5. I love your books & can't wait to read these book!

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  6. My sister likes to say that writer's lie for a living. Which is an interesting thought, of course. I ran on the exact opposite rail when I was little, and I confessed EVERYTHING. I'm pretty sure it drove my family nuts. :) Ellie Sweet is awesome! I'm dying to read the sequel!

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  7. I'm quite sure I do embellish. Shame on me.

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  8. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I don't think I embellish the truth much. Being honest so our parents would be able to trust us was something that was stressed growing up.

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  9. Hey, Stephanie! I'm glad someone else has struggled with that, too, and your encouragement/advice is awesome. Thank you!

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