I’ve always hated writing prompts. You know the prompts that teachers give out to expand their student’s creativity. When I was a teacher, at the time, I thought that was the best way to get someone to write.
I was wrong, or at least I didn’t realize that there were more ways than one way to be creative when you write.
I have shared before that I have never considered myself a writer. But I must admit that since I published my first book, I now have to admit that I am a writer. I love writing and it will be something I do until I can no longer put words together in a sentence.
I still am not saying I am a good writer, just that I acknowledge that I am one.
I have learned a few things when it comes to writing. If someone gives me a prompt to write about, I freeze. Writing exercises fill with me with fear, creating a barrier between myself and what I need to say. I require inspiration and an open field in order to write. Music is so important to how and why I write.
I had a teacher once, who I love and respect and whose passion for writing inspires me to this day. But I remember something she said at the beginning of the course that, at the time, struck me deeply, but which seems contrary to how I operate as a writer. She said, “When people tell me they’re a writer, I don’t ask them what they write. I ask them when they write.”
She was getting at the importance of writing every day.
Writers write. Right?
I took that to heart and for many years I wrote every day.
I now realize that there’s more than one way to be a writer. Discipline is essential, I think, but the degree depends on the individual. I need a good dose of inspiration in order to write, as well, and writing every day eventually starts to feel robotic and kills my inspiration.
I’m more of a binge writer. I have to pull way back and let my creative pulse breathe. Then, at some point, I go in and I write and write and write. For so much of my life, I’ve known this about myself, but I’ve resisted it because I didn’t see this trait in serious writers. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to respect the cyclic nature of my creative life. To know what stage I’m in and act in ways that are supportive to it.
When I’m in the writing stage, then I can push. I can cancel my plans and stay home to produce. Stay up to all hours of the night and never sleep. Then it will stop for a while and I have to take a break.
After the writing stage, I’m revising and reflecting. I find homes for my thoughts and perspectives. I mentally paste the written stories on a wall in my mind and I will eventually place them in order for others to read.
I’ve learned that I write best, and sometimes write only if I write for myself. I have never been good at writing about a boy and his dog unless I am that boy. My new protocol is to aim to please me, and me only. Of course, I have to go back during the revision process and check myself and reckon with the person who wrote that. Which is, of course, is me.
In the revision process, my intended audience expands to others like me. I write for people who could relate to my journey. I write, in the hope that it would be a help to others. But I can’t get there if I don’t first write for myself.
I actually finished my book, “Footprints in a Small Town” sometime in early 2017. It took until April 12, 2018, before it was published. For many months I struggled with writing new creative “stuff” and I wondered if I would be able to write again.
That being said, I am now filled with inspiration and I am already deep into my next book. The creative thoughts and inspirations are flowing freely and I hope to have my first draft manuscript done before November. It will be a biographical book like the first one, however, it will be a book based upon my faith. It will include stories and experiences that hopefully you will be able to relate to. No announcements as to when it will be published. That will be up to the powers that be.
Sales continue for my first book and I am so grateful for those of you that have purchased it. It is still available to order a hardcopy online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and a few other outlets. The Kindle version is available as well.
If I could ask a favor… please pray for me as I write this next book, so that it will bring glory to the One who saved me (Jesus Christ) and bring honor to my God.