Do you want to be a writer? Then give yourself something to write about.
I made a very nice, proper, young girl very uncomfortable with this piece of advice when she asked me about how I became a writer.
Until I said that, she looked at me with hero worship in her eyes when I told her about my year on the road, selling a book out of an old Four-Runner I called the Beast. Once I told her to get out and do some living if she wanted to find her best stories, she averted her eyes and looked down in the posture of shame.
I’m sad to say that there is no writing class that will give anybody the silver bullet. Mastering the mechanics of the art and craft of writing is valuable, but the real juice of inspiration is sucked from experience.
My best stories come from my life – especially vivid happenings that catapulted me out of my comfort zone, brought me to states of ecstasy and/or agony - anything that made me feel alive. There I found the richest fodder for stories, or even pieces of stories.
For example, there’s a really luscious scene in Challenge that I am especially proud of. Challenge is the third book in Ella Bandita and the Wanderer. The illustration above is the setting for that scene.
As you can see, the illustration is a very sensuous image of a beautiful, naked couple soaking in a shallow pool; the Wanderer is combing Ella Bandita’s hair, while she leans into him and lets her fingers dangle in the water. The backdrop is not only a forest, but the type of old growth woods in the temperate rainforest found in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska; the pool they are soaking in is a hot spring.
How’s that for a luscious setting?
Have I had a sexy interlude in a sexy hot spring that I’m disguising as fiction? Maybe I have and maybe I haven’t. But my points are I have the experience of living in Oregon. I lived in Alaska for 11 years where I went hiking all the time.
AND I LOVE HOT SPRINGS! I especially love hot springs that are found in the woods of a temperate rainforest, and I have the gorgeous experience of finding my bliss in fabulous places such as these. So…what better setting could there possibly be for a scene that builds sexual tension between these antagonistic characters?
That’s only the beginning. Other examples are the On the Road posts that I put up from time to time. Being on the road with a Beast full of books, telling stories and selling them out of my truck was wwwaaayyy out of my comfort zone. There were so many incredible stories that came out of that.
So, a few weeks ago, I gave my blog an official name, and therefore a theme and purpose, which should help on my author’s platform.
This was a necessary step to moving away from the theme started by my former Operations Manager, Jessica Cox. She did a lovely job of building a blog with writing prompts and writing how-to’s, but that blog did not reflect me, my writing, or my tastes.
Writing advice is well and good, and valuable information that people want and need. I will continue to write blogs offering this, as well as writing prompts. But I will add from my experience and perspective, and hopefully, that will fill in the missing pieces.
Knowing the tricks of the trade to execute good writing pieces is essential, but the experience to inspire those tales is priceless. The mechanics will take care of themselves in due time.
I hope this blog more thoroughly reflects my perspective on the journey of being a writer. Apologies on the month long hiatus. I was rather occupied with the experience of an ayahuasca journey. I’m sure eventually that will find its way into my writing.
So go have an adventure and give yourself something to write about. Happy trails!
PS: If you’d like to download Challenge, to read that succulent scene for yourself, you’ll find it here!