More writerly wisdom: Writing is like… riding a bike, lifting weights, being a spy, hearing voices, finding your passion

After writing my last editorial, I realized one great gaping hole in it—I didn’t discuss the actual writing process, nor give any suggestions around it. Oh, there were hints (notes about outlines and reading more), but nothing that focused on the nitty-gritty of the process.

Was I avoiding the problem? Was there a part of me that thought “They can figure it out on their own?” Possibly, but it was unfair of me personally to avoid the issue. So, I’m going to hit three of my main focuses in giving advice around writing.

However, let me say upfront, I find it hard to give actual “creation” advice. Creation is unique to everyone—where an idea comes from and how it grows into a work is as unique as your own experience learning to ride a bike. Oh, the end product may be the same (you are on the bike), but the scratches and bruises that got you onto it are your own. Continue reading

The Trick of Finding Inspiration for That Novel

I have found over the years that inspiration can come at strange times and moments; and many times I do not realize it has occurred, as my brain stores a little seed aside, like a gardener in spring.

A lot of helpful “you can do it too” type writing books try to give you ideas on how to find inspiration. You will see examples of how to look around you, look at your experiences, or think about things you like and maybe consider combinations (Like in the classic Hollywood pitch style: “It’s ___ meets ___”). For me, I find none of that works.

“Thinking” for inspiration, rarely gives off enough of a spark to carry a project through to a satisfying fruition. Yes, you might finish a draft of something, sure, but it will never be as good, in my opinion, as an idea that overwhelms your consciousness or wakes you up in the middle of the night like a scream.

A good book needs a spark. Continue reading