If I don’t accomplish my daily dose of creative writing, I think my day is incomplete. I am definitely a creature of habit: I rise early, feed the cat, sweep the front porch, water my flowers and veggies, and sweat through my morning exercise routine. Then, after breakfast, I tackle one mundane daily task, be it grocery shopping, cleaning a closet, trimming outdoor bushes – that list never runs dry. But that array of brain numbing tasks provides an opportunity to delve into the realm of creativity. I visualize my characters, resolve plot issues, rethink my setting descriptions. That rambling brain time often leads to new insight into my story.
Next, I free up several hours to apply what my brain has offered and tackle that day’s writing project. It almost becomes a form of meditation. The writing is the important part and I need to keep it separate from the fretting thoughts about what happens after my masterpiece is complete. I wouldn’t give up my writing time, even if I’m unsuccessful at publishing my efforts or seeing that byline with my name on it in print.
I have to work at becoming a writer. I have a bookshelf of various genres and I work my way through daily reading. I have a stack of self-help books about self-publishing and a 3-ring binder bursting with advice from published authors who long ago walked this same daunting path. If I encounter a new, puzzling word or phrase that needs research (thank you, Google search engines and electronic dictionaries) I look it up and add it to my “wanna use this somehow in my story” list.
This reading is not something I grew up with but I have come under its hypnotic spell. The house I grew up in had books: prayer books, cook books, an outdated atlas, and even several musty, hand-me-down novels from bygone eras: Giants in the Earth, My Antonia, A Girl of the Limberlost – nothing of interest here for a child or teen reader. One could smell the musty fragrance of a rare book because it was rarely opened and read. I recall giving my dad a book for father’s day one year and, after unwrapping it, he said it was “…nice, but don’t give me any more books. We’ve got too many books in this house already.” That came from a man with a master’s degree in elementary education. Obviously our household was focused on the safety of Imprimatur-approved reading or the daily paper, but that was it.
What is amazing is that my older brother and I seem to both have overcome this spartan reading growing-up experience. In fact my brother is a voracious reader as is my spouse. They both dash through a variety of publications. I read at a slower pace but I need to see and mentally say each word or I fear I won’t absorb its content. But I find my daily reading is equally inspirational for my writing sessions. So I keep plugging away. The plot thickens.