Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Been There, Done That

Writing comes hard when you are bogged down. This can come from anything. The more weight you carry, the more weighed down you can become. The more weighed down you become, the more numb you may be. If you can't feel, you can't write. Your words won't flow the way they need to.

Writers write from what they know. Writers, like actors on a stage, reach deep into their emotions and expose human emotion, human reactions to the triggers of life experience. That is why we love our favorite authors: they understand what we feel, what we think, because they have been there, too.

As I wrote my honors thesis, a novel, I used journal entries as writing prompts to keep me focused on what I was trying to say. The journal entries are a blend of fiction and non-fiction to give credibility to the story.

The final formatting of the novel may change, but I found it easier to control my project by using daily writing prompts to stay focused and control the continuity of ideas from start to finish. As I work on the sequel, I am using the same tools.

This sounds like where plotting comes into play. I didn't sit down and plot the story. Or did I? Each journal entry for each selected day defined the seed from which that part's heart and action grew. It told who was the central character and why it was important at that particular moment.

I have journaled, off and on, for years, when I have something worth saying. There are many things I only wish I had set to paper because many of those things are long ago forgotten. Still, with the right spark, a flame is produced and stories are written.

From the bits and pieces of the past, events and people, that held important and valuable, grow the characters and happenings within works of fiction. Each person, each character, reacts differently to events that happen. How amazing it is to see new life varies from the same seed to arrive at the same or a similar conclusion.

What are you writing today?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Almost there

If you stop and think about that, "almost there," it applies to many aspects of our lives. As selfish as it sounds, this blog is about me and my thoughts, feelings and dreams, without being too sappy, if you know what I mean. I am "almost there," ready to graduate from Kent State University two weeks from today. I am "almost there," to submit my first novel to a publisher. I am "almost there," in having enough confidence to believe in my dreams and my Self. And as I complete one goal, there are others to take its place and I am, again, "almost there," in achieving something else. There's something good about being "almost there." It gives me something to shoot for so I always have a reason.

A reason? Well, yeah. A reason to get up and greet each new day. A reason to breathe. A reason to continue putting one foot in front of another. A reason to take on new challenges. A reason to love, laugh, cry, stand your ground, fight for what you believe in. A reason...

For some reason, this is a very emotional time for me. It's not just any ONE thing. It's a whole lot of little and big things and a snowball down a mountain. How do you write anything of value when you are stressed out, it seems to the max, though if you look around there is someone worse off than you are. Why are you stressed out? Well, my elderly parents have had health issues--Dad recently passed away from his. There are two high stressors. I am married and for the time being staying with my mother, away from my husband who would like for me to be at home. Another stressor. My last children moved out the same day so neither of them would be the last to leave Mom alone. Two stressors. Long term financial challenges based on the economy. Stressor. Carrying 14 to 18 credit hours per semester for two years. (Actually the count was 17, 18, 14, 18.)

If I was starting again two years ago, I would have taken fewer hours, maybe no more than 12 a semester. I've learned a lot, but I would have absorbed more if I hadn't been carrying such a heavy load. But I guess it's not so much what I learned in class as what I will do with my awareness of that knowledge and carry it forward with me to develop my ideas, my beliefs, my work.

Ah, it is raining in Ohio today. But there is sunshine in my heart because I am "almost there." Graduation in two weeks. Submitting my novel to a publisher. And I've already begun the sequel to Ramblings. It is titled Sounds of Silence.