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Word Painter

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough fascinates me both as a reader and a writer. One of my friends at work asked me if I'd watched the extra features at the end of the John Adams DVD. I typically do watch all the bonus material at the end of these movies but for some reason hadn't got around to it. I don't think I even realized it was on this particular DVD. If you get the chance you must watch it, he's so very personable and inspiring. I found the videos on YouTube and you can see them listed below. I wish I had a version of his world headquarters in my backyard. :) Painting With Words Part 4  This section is wonderful for writers but the entire thing is awesome!

Painting With Words Part 1

Painting With Words Part 2

Writing With Words Part 3

A few thingst I've learned or been reminded of  by David McCullough.

1.)  Find your favorite work space. That may sound simple but it's not for some of us. I recently lost my workspace because we needed an extra bedroom at home so now my desk is in the dining room. Noise cancelling headphones and possibly a room screen will soon be part of my world headquarters.

2.) "You can only learn by doing it. You can't learn to write without writing."

3.) "History is about life, about change, about consequences, cause and effect . . . it's about music and poetry and drama and science and medicine and money and love . . "  This man knows how to make history fun.

4.) "Marinate your head in the time and culture you write in."

5.) Excel.

6.) "The work is the reward."

7.) Develop a list of ideas that you want to write about eventually.

8.) Sing a song even if it is off key. :)

9.) "Count your blessings."

10.) "The pen and the voice died on the same day. Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence."

I think artists of all kinds will love his new book, The Greater Journey. You can see a video trailer here, Author Page, and listen to him talk about the book.

If you could choose any time and place in history to word paint what would you choose?


  1. David McCullough is a fascinating person. I've never been much of a historian, and have to admit I haven't read his books, but as a speaker and lecturer he's remarkable. Thanks for pointing me to these videos. I appreciate most his comment about the need to excel. My father was one to repeat, "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well." He lived and worked by that, and I grew up believing it.

    If I could pick any time and place? It would have to be the Yukon during the gold rush in 1897, although I probably wouldn't have had the necessary stamina to survive those days!

  2. Hi Carol,
    I've got DM's latest book The Greater Journey. I haven't read all of it yet, it's quite lengthy, but it's not boring at all. He makes history and Paris come alive. Have fun with the links. Okay, now you have to start writing a book about the Yukon in 1897. Have you done that yet? Word Paint your way to success.:)

  3. Early in her marriage my daughter lived in the Yukon for a few years, and I loved visiting her. The history of the area (including Alaska) is fascinating, but I haven't found a unique aspect that prompts ideas for a book, at least not yet. However the setting of my current w.i.p. is the wilderness of northern BC which is an area I also know well. :)

  4. Hi Carol,
    Those areas are far away from Ohio.:) I would love to visit them myself. Especially, BC.