A GLIMPSE INTO MY CREATIVE PROCESS

In my last post, I shared Stephen Koch’s motivational words on what it takes write.  I also mentioned that as soon as I read those words, I opened up a new Word document and wrote the first paragraphs of a new story idea.  Actually – it’s an idea that I’d already approached in an earlier draft but felt it was lacking in something.  So, instead of just talking about the simple act of just sitting down and actually writing, I thought I’d share a sample of my work.  The working title is A Light in the Woods, and I don’t know if it will turn into a novel or a short story, geared more towards the women’s fiction genre than romance.   So – here goes nothing!

Jenna Daniels shivered as the cold rain pelted her face.  A knot formed in the pit of her stomach watching the red glow of tail-lights disappear into the fog.  A minute ago, she’d been warm and dry, watching the forest closing in around the small 4×4 pickup truck that had carried her up the washed-out forest service road to the trail-head.  Now, she stood alone in the gravel lot atop Springer Mountain, in water almost to her ankles, with nothing but the woods surrounding her no matter which direction she looked.  The weight of her backpack dug into her shoulders, feeling more like fifty pounds than the thirty-five she’d been so proud of earlier that morning.  The camo rain jacket she’d purchased last minute at Wal-Mart did little to ward off the chill that began to set in as she stood immobile, wondering just what she’d gotten herself into.  There were no signs of what her life had become; no phones ringing; no horns blowing; no yelling; no lawyers; no irate ex-husband; no unanswered calls to her kids – or waiting for return calls that often never came. The gentle rhythm of raindrops tapping on the tree canopy replaced the noise in her life, soothing her frayed nerves – washing the salty taste of her tears from her lips. She wasn’t sure why she was crying.

Filled with the uncertainty of what she was about to undertake, her only options were to dig out her cell-phone and beg her shuttle driver to return to pick her up or put one foot in front of the other and start walking. She decided the time had come – all that had happened in her life had led her to this moment.  She took in a deep breath, then turned towards the eighteen-inch-wide foot path known as the Appalachian Trail.  She didn’t know where she was going – what, or who, she would find when she got there.  All she knew was that she had to go.

So, there you go!  Like I said, I don’t know where this opening will take me, but I’m grateful that I was able to just sit down and start writing!

 

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A DAY IN THE LIFE…

I like to think that I’m a writer.  But just what exactly does being a writer entail?  What’s a typical day supposed to consist of?  I guess for those lucky, successful writers, their day consists of, well, writing.  That’s how they make their living.  Then there’s the rest of us, who work hard to squeeze in time for our writing amidst all of our other daily demands.  Some of us work full-time, demanding jobs.  Some of us are in school, capturing every spare moment just to keep up with our assignments.  Regardless of the situation, one thing I can say for certain: you can’t be a writer if you don’t write.  You can talk about being a writer, but unless you carve out time to sit down and actually put words on the page, becoming one of those successful authors we all envy probably won’t be in your future.

So, just how can you fit writing into your day?  I think it’s important to schedule the time and go out of your way to keep that appointment!  I can attest first-hand that that’s not always an easy thing to do.  But like the old saying goes, nothing worthwhile is easy.  Isn’t that the understatement of the year!  So, while I’m certainly not the best at following my own advice, the routine I developed over the course of completing my Master’s degree is one I’ve done a pretty good job of following even now.  I spend a couple of hours each night shut away in my little “writing room,” where I try to write as many words as I can…or, at the very least, I try to write something.  I also use the time on those mornings when I’ve got to go to work early to sit in the dark, coffee in hand, just thinking about the next scene in my manuscript, or how I can revise an existing scene to make it better.  It’s quite nice actually.  I also find myself lost in my manuscript when I head outside for a 4-mile walk.  Just listening to my favorite music usually gets the creative juices flowing!  When all attempts fail, I give myself permission to turn my focus elsewhere to try again later.  But one thing is for sure: I always write something each and every day.

I guess there really isn’t a “typical” day in the life of a writer.  We all approach our craft in different ways.  What works for some won’t for others.  I think what matters most is that we rise up and keep trying.  Don’t quit!  Don’t give up!  By all means, write!

Happy Writing, Everyone!

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