Friday, October 20, 2017

The Writing Life

If someone tells you writing is easy and anyone can do it, don't listen - they are not a writer!

That is not to say that sometimes the muse is dancing on the page as you splash flowering prose upon it. Most of us don't have that lovely experience every time we sit down to write. Often the page is this blank, daunting, empty space that says "I dare you to write on me!" That's when I get tough and start writing whatever comes to my mind. I look at a photo or note on my tack board and let the words flow from my fingers. And sometimes it develops into a really awesome line or revelation about a story or scene I'm writing.

What stops the flow? Life, mostly. Illness. Death. Laundry. Cooking. Cleaning. Day-job. "There's always something" that needs to be done.

We find our writing time squeezed into a crack in the stone. There's a photo on my calendar of a flower growing from just such a crack. A little soil blew in with a tiny seed.
A little rain. And something wonderful and green sprouts.

If you're lucky, that's how stories begin. You find a crack of time, you're struck by something. Perhaps the unusual checker at the grocer, how she speaks, how she wears her hair and suddenly a seed is planted of a quirky character that she invokes in your mind. Jot it down, because you may get busy getting groceries or putting them away and forget. Stick that note somewhere you will be sure to find it. Then when the kids are asleep and hubby is watching the football game, slip it out, turn on your computer or grab a notebook and start writing a scene.

The rain will come and one scene will grown into another. Your story blooms you find yourself dancing in the rain with your muse because you have been inspired. And it all started in the check-out line at the grocery store!

If we're smart, we mine our lives for people, places and things that are interesting and compelling. Things that hold good soil and good seeds that will grow into a story.

I like to read stories that have true to life characters in situations that I can relate to. We've all felt tension, fear, love, joy, sadness - and experiences like those stick with us. When we delve into a book that brings those types of feelings back we usually can't put it down.

As a writer - we are "driven" to create that feeling in others through our stories and that is not easy. Okay, let's define "easy." Capable of being accomplished with ease - not difficult. Free from worry, anxiety, or pain. Relaxed - easygoing. Not strict - lenient. Not hurried or forced - moderate. Readily obtainable. I don't think any of these things apply to writing. Do you?

As you move along the writing journey, you will have times when you crave inspiration. When that happens to me, I turn to nature and also to books. Some of the most inspiring books I've read over the years include "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott; "On Writing" by Stephen King, "The Right to Write" and "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. They are lots more, but these I've kept and gone back to, time and time again.

Be open. Be joyful. Be diligent. And keep writing.
Author of the "feisty family series" and a novel of romantic suspense: "Your Every Move."


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Bonnie,

You're so right about writing not coming easily. Of course, it's something we enjoy doing but at the same time it's hard work getting it right. As to inspiration, how true that ideas abound all around us from our everyday lives. I've been inspired to write many times in this manner. One day some years ago our younger son said to his older brother: "Careful, Mom's listening. She'll probably write a story about it." He was so right. I've done this a number of times.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Hi Jacqui,
Thanks for the comment. I love to use clever dialog I've heard in stores, libraries, restaurants, everwhere. Real dialog is the best. And they invoke such interesting ideas.

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