What I Learned at Jot

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

I believe it’s important to continue to grow personally and learn new things, despite being a creature of habit. There’s a saying:  Knowledge is Power. Maybe you’ve heard it before. Anyway, this is the reason I encourage all writers to attend a writing conference.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a local event … one night only … four short hours … with writing time built in. JOT:  the GR writers mini-conference.

It was a great event. I dare say special. And what made it extra special, is my hubby went with me and we made a date night of it.

The most valuable lesson I learned at JOT wasn’t a specific bullet point from a specific presentation. It was the entirety of the experience. The most valuable lesson was steeped in reflection. Like hot water is to a tea bag, JOT was to my writer’s mind. Extracting the full flavor.

It finally occurred to me … What I’d failed to recognize before was suddenly clear. And I smiled to myself as I sat soaking up everything this event had to offer, sipping coffee with my notebook open, and my husband sitting next to me. Ahhh … the moment of enlightenment.

You’re wondering what I learned and why I was smiling?

I realized that I couldn’t appreciate the message of each presenter or the questions of each writer without having already failed at their writing advice.

Huh? Yes, there is something to be said for the try, fail, and adjust process.

Let me explain …

One presenter said, “Write your first draft as quickly as possible,” which is great advice.

The reason? Your writer’s voice changes over time. Each book or article you read or write; each day that passes and experiences lived cause you to evolve.

So the quicker you put all the words for your novel down the better it is for keeping a consistent voice and minimize some editing as a result. Makes sense.

But as someone who is well into her second year of a first draft (writing in the gaps of life), I can totally see it. When I read the earliest parts of my manuscript I can recall what I was reading and see how it influenced my output.

Do you see? I wouldn’t  have been able to wrap my mind around this concept if I weren’t living the failure of it already.

Another presenter talked briefly about platform. That all important word that strikes fear and stress into writers. Because we have to figure out how to use social media to gain a following of engaged readers.

He said, “The number one reason books are turned down [for publication] is lack of platform.” He defined platform as the ability to promote your story.

I understand how important platform is. Still I struggle with it. I worry, wonder, and doubt what I should or should not share. Is it worthy or value added?

And even though I’ve garnered around 200 followers between my blog and twitter account, I dare say only a handful are “engaged”. If I weren’t in the process of building my own platform this advice wouldn’t resonate with me.

Trying and failing is a remarkable teacher. If we adjust our actions based on where we fell short and what we were trying to achieve we stand to accomplish something great.

So don’t be afraid to jump in and just start.

Now you may think I’ve contradicted myself … I still advocate for attending writers’ conferences and applying practical knowledge gained.

Just remember there is plenty of advice out there on writing. Some of it is Best Practice and shouldn’t be ignored, but it doesn’t mean all of it will work for you.

I’ve learned a lot about my writing process just by trying. And I’ve learned a number of things by following the advice of others.

I appreciated my experience at JOT for the epiphany and because they delivered exactly what they promised:  Meet. Learn. Write. Looking forward to the next JOT.

What life event led to your most recent “aha moment”? Do you learn best by doing or from instruction? Feel free to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your story.

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Something Got Done

 

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

Oh Yeah!

Thanks to my writing partner I set out to make the most of writing in January. I decided to make it A Month of Something.

And thankfully, I have the privilege of announcing that Something Got Done … Lots of something … I was able to check something off my list time and again.

As stated in the original post I didn’t want to focus solely on word count for fear of paralysis.

Instead, I focused on days/times writing. I focused on addressing open plot questions. I focused on new scenes without looking at old ones. I focused on character development. And, I focused on moving forward.

All that focusing on SOMETHINGS led to RESULTS.

Somethings” to Celebrate:

  1. The End – As I stated in the A Month of Something post, I wrote a 400 word scene of what I envision being the end of the story. Can I get woot-woot?
  2. Finishing Scenes – I wrote two scenes that I’ve been putting off since summer. I had one sentence descriptions and now they’re done. They are rough but have so much potential. Raise the roof!
  3. New Scenes – I wrote two new and unexpected scenes. Also, rough but ripe with potential. One Love!
  4. Characters – I discovered that my comic relief characters have British accents. Who knew? Nervous about how to write it well but it plays marvelously in my head. Throw your hands in the air…
  5. Planning – I actually sat down and revisited my story “outline”. Made some modifications based on where the story is right now. …and wave them like you just don’t care…
  6. Research – I did some. I looked up education requirements and credentials that my grief counselor would need to possess. I requested input on linking two worlds within my story. And, if you didn’t already know, this is my least favorite part of the writing process. Or, to state it plainly: I hate research. So this is a huge victory. Can I get an amen?
  7. Images – I found some great pictures to represent my characters quirks or personalities. That’s how we do it …
  8. Writing Days – I checked my writing notebook and have identified 10 novel writing days since January 1; 5 of which were consecutive. Thank you very much. This doesn’t include blog post writing days … or the days that aren’t captured in the journal. Woo-hoo!
  9. New Words – I wrote 3,378 words in one month. That may not sound like much to some of you but it’s the best writing month I’ve had in a LONG time. High five!
  10. Word Count – My “ungoal” … without trying … by focusing on other aspects of writing … I broke the 40,000 word barrier. Now I have to say … I’ve been hovering so close to this for SO long that I nearly cried. As, I write this post I am at 42,631 words and that doesn’t include the dialogue I need to type up from my last writing day. CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!
  11. Birthday – And I turned another year older, wiser and willing-er to chase my dream. Bonus!

Again, these may not seem noteworthy to you, but I am excited about the progress and direction. I am excited that I had wins instead of losses.

I am grateful for my writing partners (and you … you know who you are) who graciously tolerated my tweets, emails, texts, and now blog posts, about how it was going. Thank YOU for the love!

Switching my POV about writing my novel and what’s important reinvigorated me. I’m still in love with my story! I encourage you to measure something different to spark your creativity and drive your momentum.

Thanks for celebrating with me! Cheers~

A Month of Something

Month of Something Calendar

©2013 the Jotter’s Joint – My Month of Something

During our January accountability call, my writing partner, Talli (enJOYin’ Life), and I bemoaned the fact that we’d failed to meet our December writing goals.

We talked about the obstacles we faced: balancing time with family and friends, being out of our routines due to vacation and holidays, and just wanting to do nothing for a little while.

It was one of our toughest conversations in the eight months or so that we’ve been holding one another accountable. Tough, for me, because the do-nothing aspect of time off was so appealing. I needed it.

At the same time, the conversation gave way to epiphany. I realized what part 3 of my book should be. Or, at least, one component it should include. This gave me momentum in planning, which I’m almost convinced would be better than just seeing where the story takes me. Note the word “almost” in that sentence. My writing process is still discovery.

The best part of the call was setting new goals to accomplish in January. And, hearing my writing partner state: “This is going to be a month of something …” Unlike our December – The Month of Nothing.

She is right too. It will be a Month of Something.

For starters, I will celebrate my 41st birthday the 14th. Happy birthday to me! I am grateful for each year.

Second, it’s the month I will break through the barrier of writing I’ve been hiding behind.

How will I break through?

By writing those wonderful words: The End. Not because I’ve finished the novel. I’m not quite there yet.

Since the story idea came to me I’ve had the same image for the ending. No matter what twists and turns the story has taken, the end hasn’t changed. Regardless of the characters I add or kill off the last scene is vivid in my mind.

So, two days after Talli’s profound words, I wrote that scene. I attempted to capture the image of my main character closing a chapter of her young life; having evolved and matured.

I framed words to take me from my once-upon-a-time beginning to my and-they-lived-happily-ever-after end. Which of course isn’t really the end of Baby Girl’s tale; it’s just where I’ve quit telling it.

The scene is just under 400 words but fitting for the last moment. Now we’ll see if the ending starts to evolve just as the rest of the book has done.

Either way, I’ve accomplished something: new words on the page, vision for the next phase of the book, and The End.

This is a month of something.

However, I don’t want word count goals because lately they cause me writerly paralysis. Instead I will measure my “somethings” in time set aside writing. For a change, my “somethings” yardstick will account for me writing rather than talking about writing.

What will be your something this January?

Making Real the Moment

Interview

Interview (Photo credit: smiling_da_vinci)

I’ve always been able to daydream away my problems, at least for a little while.

One of my writer dreams since before I committed to actually writing (last year) … since my early twenties really … To have Oprah Winfrey select and use my work of fiction in her book club. Followed, of course, by an author interview on her show.

The only change to this dream over the years has been style related. As fashion changes so does what I’m wearing in my visualization.

Now that Oprah has moved on to do her OWN thing, I haven’t kept up with her shows or formats. I know she still does the book club but I don’t know the details.

As a result, my visualization has changed. The interviewer is faceless. The set is different. Again my outfit is different. But the one constant:  I arrive at this moment. In my mind I make real the moment of becoming a published writer, an author. Sought after. Movie rights sold.

So … out of my writer’s toolbox into yours, I give you visualization.

It helps when I get discouraged or feel inadequate or hit a wall and become blocked.

I imagine an interviewer asking me questions about the point in the story where I’m blocked. I imagine that the end result is so fabulous that people want to know how I pulled it off in my novel.

By answering the questions the interviewer asks, I work out solutions and overcome the writer’s block. In essence, I interview my way back to writing the story, back to momentum.

This may sound weird but I’m not the only one who uses such tactics. It comes in many forms.

For example, earlier this year I came across a blog where the author had a friend take his book jacket photo. It was a brooding black and white of the author. Artistic. Clever. I thought it was brilliant. This author was making real the moment. The moment of success and accomplishment.

I plan on doing this as one of my milestones. I love it.

Some writers I know print images to post in their writing spaces to represent their characters or their environments.

My writing partner sent me a picture of a Queen of Hearts Halloween costume. I’d just figured out who my villain would be and this image made her real. Dark hair and tanned skin, clothed in a red and black Elizabethan collar dress. She’s my Red Queen.

Another writing friend sent me a picture of cupcakes via Pinterest. How can you go wrong with an image of cupcakes? The cupcakes were decorated for an Alice in Wonderland theme party. Her note said, “This is how we’ll celebrate the completion of the first draft.”

Since my writing space is portable, I carry the images with me by pasting copies in my journal.

Both my writing partners in their own way were holding me accountable by making real my villain and finished draft. They were helping me visualize success of my WIP about what happens before and after Lewis Carroll’s works:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

And today, I stood in the mirror curling my hair thinking … How will I create the history for this story? How were The Few formed to protect the mirrors that lead to Wonderland?

I didn’t have answers. My reflection looked at me and shrugged. That’s when the interviewer showed up. Now I have some notes that will help me move the story along. Call me happy writer.

What’s in your writer’s toolbox? What tricks do you use to stay motivated to write or overcome writer’s block?

Photo from  Zemanta

Breathe Christian Writers’ Conference 2012: Goals & Advice

It was an awesome event. There was so much wonderful advice – actionable advice. (You’ll probably see quotes show up in other posts on writing in the near future.)

The question becomes:  Where do I start?

More than one speaker recommended that you set clear goals. It’s a theme of advice that I’ve taken to heart.
I’ve set three realistic and attainable goals coming out of this event. Goals that will stretch and grow me to reach them. Will you agree to hold me accountable along with my writing partners?

Goal 1:  Write My Elevator Speech …

Every position I’ve ever held, I’ve been told to have my elevator speech ready. I should be able to sum up my job function in the time it takes to ride an elevator a few floors; when asked:    What do you do?

I think the same is true for the question:  What are you writing? Only I don’t have that snappy response for my work in progress. I will start practicing now so that I can perfect my sound bite and not feel awkward.

Till this point I haven’t shared much about my WIP … but that will change with this goal … besides elevator speeches aren’t just for corporate types.

I’m writing a novel about life after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Have you ever wondered what happens next? I’m telling the story.

Intrigued? Okay, it’s a start. I’ll keep working at it.

Goal 2:  Do My Research

I’ve mentioned before that I hate research. It may be my downfall as a writer.

I’ve been living on the hope that I could get by with a simple read through of Lewis Carroll’s books. HA! I Sad, I know.

Dear Research, I’ve been avoiding you but I won’t be any longer.

I won’t be cutting any corners. Not after hearing presenter and author, Jocelyn Green state she spent nine months researching her first novel and three months writing it. My hopes were quickly dashed that I could some how “get by”.

  • Step One:  Finish the initial read through of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
  • Step Two:  Complete a second read through of each book.
  • Step Three:  Interview a grief counselor to determine how children cope with death of loved ones; specifically in cases of suicide.

Jocelyn Green also recommended getting to really know your characters by interviewing them. Click here to see the questions. This will be Step Four. By the time Breathe arrives next year – October 18 & 19, 2013 – I will have completed these “research” steps (and maybe a first draft of the manuscript). Sigh. No way around it.

Goal 3:  Post Consistently

This goal is blog related rather than novel related.

I started blogging in April with the goal that I would post every two to four days; which I did for the first four months. Then life got busy and hectic. I started slacking off, claiming that creativity doesn’t strike every day.

The inconsistency is disruptive to you as readers I’m sure; despite my belief that creativity doesn’t like cages. So, I will pick a day of each week that I will post. Sometimes you’ll get a surprise day added. But ultimately there will be one day a week that you can count on the Jotter’s Joint to give you a read. Hopefully, a good read.

Let me know if there is a day that you would prefer. If the requests are similar it makes my decision easier.

Hold me accountable.

Ask me how I’m doing toward my goals. Don’t let me off the hook. And if you have suggestions that would help me in any of these goals, I’d love to hear them.

Hold Yourself Accountable

“One day” is today or it never comes. What ventures have you been putting off? Don’t wait for New Year’s resolutions. Do it now. Write some goals today. Share with me in the comments the goals you’ve set and I’ll remember to ask you how it’s going.

Recommended resources that came out of Breathe 2012 for you writer types …

  • Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
  • The Art of Fiction:  Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
  • Craft of Writing by William Sloane
  • The Art and Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley M. Hall
  • Wrecked:  When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life by Jeff Goins
  • Getting Into Character:  Seven Secrets Novelists Can Learn from Actors  by Brandilyn Collins
  • From the Inside … Out:  Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck

I’d Rather Be Writing …

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. I enjoy it. It fills some of my basic needs like a way to earn a paycheck. It also gives me the opportunity to learn new things every day; the opportunity to educate others (to a degree); and there’s variety even when everything is exactly the same.

Oh and did I mention, I’m good at it. That’s not a brag, it’s a truth. I’m good at my chosen profession.

Can you guess what’s next? Can you hear what is coming? Can you imagine the word on the tip of my tongue, on the point of my pen?

BUT …

I wouldn’t say I love it. And it isn’t my dream. It wasn’t my first choice. Which is probably why I’d rather be writing?

Remember taking career assessments in school? You know that ones … based on your interests and skills, they tell you what potential careers you should pursue. Well when I took them in junior high and high school my current job didn’t show up on the list. None the less here is where I’ve ended up.

So what did show up on the list? Journalism. Every single time I took a career assessment. And that was the path I thought I would follow. I loved writing and reading but not research. I still feel this way.

I’m not a journalist but I am a writer. This is my personal declaration despite lack of publication.

I’d rather be writing … more than handwritten correspondence … more than clever blog post … more than emails and business letters.

I’d rather be writing more than anything else in the world. This alone makes me a writer, right?

 I find myself fully distracted at work and home. At the oddest moments I find myself craving a pen and paper or the click of my nails on the keys of my laptop. It’s so strong that I wish I could quit my job and walk away without regrets.

It’s NOT good. It’s NOT convenient. It’s NOT an option.

Do you have dreams or passions like this? A desire that’s all consuming? Feel free to share in the comments.

This distraction is paralyzing … You would think I’d be spurred on to write in the gaps of my days like a junky jonesin’ for a fix. But I don’t. Instead, I waste time watching TV or playing games on my computer (while I watch TV). I read or find any number of things to do with my time.

Why? When there are plenty of opportunities for me to focus on writing, the thing I’d rather be doing. Why am I squandering my dream?

It’s because it’s hard, as best described here by author and blogger, Jeff Goins. It’s because I’m most productive sitting at my desk at work in the early part of the day. It’s because I want it to be what I do in my “full time hours”.

Trust me … I know I need to use my time wisely so I can get to the point where I can transition to writing instead of carrying around this feeling. I will buckle down and get back to my novel.

Another personal declaration:  I am a full time writer, who’s on the road to writing full time.

Anyway, just so we’re clear. In case you missed the meaning of this post. Let me say it again … I’d rather be writing …

What would you rather be doing?

Writing with Childlike Abandon

I have the benefit of seeing my boys chase after butterflies … laugh at the world … live a carefree existence for the most part.

I consider myself fortunate that they remind me daily that creating is easy. I’ve shared before how kids aren’t bound by convention but loved the way this author put it in a recent blog post, What Writers Should Do When Drawing a Blank.

Take time to read it. It made me smile to imagine it … I am sure it will resonate with my fellow dream chasers and bloggers and writers and artists and anyone who has ever had an oh-to-be-a-kid-again moment.

The Suspension of Disbelief in Writing

My boys know I am writing a novel. My oldest even remembers to ask me how it’s going from time to time. I love that about him. He’s very thoughtful.

Recently, he wanted an update:

“Mom, when will your book be published?”
“Well, I have to finish it first.”
“When will that be?”
“Next year I hope.”
“Okay. And then you’ll get it published.”

I love the fact that he assumes publishing is the automatic next step. He doesn’t know how difficult it can be. He doesn’t know that it may not happen. I am glad that he isn’t limited by the realities of chasing a dream. I hope he keeps that innocence.

I wish I still had the attitude of an eight year old; the child-like faith. Remember when we believed anything was possible? Remember feeling invincible? Remember thinking we would conquer the world? Well it’s still inside of you!

When I sat down a year ago to write my novel, I had this naïve outlook. Nothing was going to stop me. I thought it would be easy. What was my goal?

  • Goal #1:  90,000 words in a year and a completed manuscript.
  • Goal #2:  6 months to edit and send to publishers.
  • Goal #3:  Publish the manuscript.
  • Alternate Goal #3:  Self-publish. (Okay, so maybe it’s Goal #4)

And I wasn’t afraid. It was do-able. I believed I could pull it off. I’d made the decision. Nothing else was necessary.

Until I sat down to write. I wrote 4 paragraphs that were flat. They didn’t match the pictures in my head. I realized I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was still possible so I kept my goals intact and invested in learning what I needed to achieve my goals.

Writing is a process. It starts with an idea. Sometimes those ideas flourish and sometimes they fizzle out and die. Sometimes they can be resurrected.

I’ve talked about some of my writing rescues before. This one is new. I subscribe to a blog called WRITEtoDONE. In a recent post, Unleash Your Writing With This Trick from the Movies, they talk about “suspension of disbelief”. This concept helps me view my writing in a whole new way.

As August 31, 2012 draws near and I’m only a third of the way to my first goal, I’ve decided to reset the clock. I will add a year to my project counter in Scrivener. I’ll adjust the word goal accordingly.

I will sit down and write in a state of suspended disbelief. The realities of life won’t hold me back. My story will unfold as it does in my head. I’ll wait to ask questions like:  “Is this possible?” or “Is it realistic?” or “Will my readers believe this?” I’ll reserve my judgment on issues like:  “How will this plot idea work?” or “Is the dialogue authentic?”

My Suspension of Disbelief … my new affirmations …

  • I am a novelist. It’s possible.
  • I am an author who is invincible.
  • I can conquer the world of writing. Why not?

Reclaim your child-like faith. Believe again in the impossible being possible. Dare to tell people you’re invincible and then leap. Start conquering the world around you in every positive way.

Writing: Failing Forward

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” ~ Benjamin Franklin 

I failed to complete my writing goals for this week. They weren’t overwhelming or outside of my grasp.

I committed to my writing partner that I would:

  1. Finish a scene that is labeled Back-to-School Blues.
  2. Continue working on scenes that are labeled Counselor Visits.
  3. Jot 1500 words by doing the first two bullets.

Not one was accomplished. But it’s okay, because my failure this week gave way to success in a different area of the writing process.

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Things are starting to fall into place. I finally know where my story begins and where it will end because I have my villain. My characters can move forward with purpose.

Knowing their purpose allowed me to do something that I haven’t been able to do since I made the decision to sit down and write. I was able to plan.

I spent my writing time this week planning out the story. For the sections I already have written, I was able to determine the order they should go. I created an outline and started moving scenes around in Scrivener. I know changes that need to happen within most of the scenes for them to connect within this order.

I was able to see what’s missing. I identified scenes that I need to write for the story to make sense and move from the beginning to the end. I can see where I’m going.

“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Isn’t that exciting? To have direction when I was wandering aimlessly before waiting for the story to start? To have answers to questions that have been with me since I started?

I am just over 30,000 words and now I feel like it will flow easily because I have a plan. A short term plan because something could happen during my next writing time that could change everything.

Or maybe I just need a plan so I can not follow it and feel like I’m breaking the rules. You never know. But I am optimistic.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”  ~Truman Capote

I am so thankful that I failed this week. I am glad that I fell short in my writing. I have a sense of accomplishment that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve learned quite a bit about what it will take to finish this novel.

I dare you to fail forward in your writing. Know that it’s okay when things don’t go according to plan; when the plan reveals itself differently. Remember, you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to when you’re supposed to …

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal:  it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill

Now I am off to my accountability call to tell my writing partner the great news:  I failed!

Creative Writing is Child’s Play

Children aren’t limited by convention. They haven’t discovered or embraced the rules. They don’t know to filter or sensor what they say. We can learn a lot from them.

Last week I asked for advice about picking up a story that I’d let sit too long. I received some wonderful tips. I’ve incorporated some into my personal writing process.

However, nothing prepared me for the creative writing exercise that took place two days ago.

While trapped in the car on a road trip, each of my boys decided they were going to write a story. “Maybe we can get our stories published Mom.” Does a writer’s heart good to hear.

Writing approaches are as varied as there are authors or writers. Some outline, develop character, and research first, creating a specific plan to reach the desired end of their project. Others just write to see what comes out.

My boys operate on opposite sides of the spectrum in planning and going with the flow. My oldest wants to map out his goal while the youngest just tells his story. Both boys offered me valuable writing lessons.

I find it difficult to assign names to people, places, and things. But my oldest made it seem easy. In order to start his story, he wanted to create a list of character names to work from. My first thought was to use the names generator in Scrivener, but he just wanted to make them up. He came up with boys’ names and I was charged with girls’ names.

Boys:

    • Mooea
    • Yeeoow
    • Noowaau
    • Nugy
    • Abluy

I can’t pronounce these names. He seems to like vowels more than consonants so I said, “You should pick names that people can pronounce.” Way to kill creativity, right?

His response was awesome. “I can name them whatever I want. Besides, they’re aliens.”

But he altered his course because the final names he added were:  Beetle and Storm, still fun but not as “out there” as the above.

I should have kept my mouth shut and let him create. He taught me that I don’t need to overthink my choices, especially not in the first draft.

The girls’ names were less creative as they were my task but I like some of them. So with his permission some of his characters my find their way into my novel.

Girls:

    • Sierra
    • Marsha
    • Feather
    • Blondie
    • Francie
    • Willow
    • Smudge

His final step in our playful session was to describe the story and give it a title. It’s an alien ghost story called:  Spirit Kingdom. Cool, right?

Why do I make writing so hard?

Another challenge for me is deciding where the story begins. My youngest doesn’t have this challenge. He handed me a pencil and said, “I need you to write down my story.” Here’s what he told me:

“This is a story about a boy named Noah, who finds a pair of magical shoes.

When he’s bad, bad things happen. So he needs to learn a lesson. He has to be nice or the leaves will fall.

Noah went to bed. While he was asleep a witch named, Will, touched the shoes with his wand. He put a spell on the shoes.

Noah woke up the next day and put on his shoes. The shoes made him dance all day.

‘Oh no, my shoes,’ he said because they need repair.”

It’s a great start to a story that I would read. The premise is simple, yet a lot could happen if he were to pursue it.

He taught me to just let the words flow. You can edit and change them later. It’s more important to just get the story out of your head and on paper, which I should already know. (Just as a side note, he cried when his paper crumpled in his backpack because he thought this would hinder publishing.)

Children create stories as a way of life. It’s their way of viewing and relating to the world around them. It’s how they play and interact with one another. I love listening to them play made up games but it never occurred to me until this happened that good writing is like children playing make believe.

No matter what your writing approach you can write with childlike abandon. Spend some time playing make believe and let me know if it has a positive influence on your writing.