How does an author with a normal life find the time to write?
A Perspective on Time:
An interesting thing happened to Time with the advent of the internet and the information age. We discovered time was relative, that the more information and ‘connection’ we add to the general knowledge base of humanity, the faster time seems to move, and the less time we seem to have. How does that work? Quantum physics explains it one way, psychologists or mathematicians another.
The world’s body of knowledge is doubling at least 2X every 24 hours. That is a daunting thought and makes me feel very tiny, like a single water molecule in all the oceans on earth. With so much information and opportunity out there to know, learn, experience and do, and the means to do it, we often find ourselves suffering from sensory and information overload.
On the other hand, with everything I ever wanted to know at my fingertips, I’ve also made the delightful discovery that I am a ‘generalist’ rather than a ‘specialist’. I am happiest when I can take in vast quantities of information, collate it, find a cohesive center that pulls it all together and write it down or use it, and have found an outlet for it in creative writing.
Almost no one writes in a vacuum anymore. Very few of us can retreat to the manor house on a solitary island in the middle of nowhere to pen our masterpiece with Mozart, Morissette or Muddy Waters playing quietly in the background. Fortunately for those of us who live in a demanding, absorbing work-a-day and ‘connected’ world, we don’t have to. The internet, libraries, weekend workshops, and writer’s groups are chock full of authors, editors and publishers with expertise and a willingness to help the aspiring writer.
Here are only a few of the books, authors and links I have found helpful in my own writing. I hope they inform, aid or inspire your writing as they have mine.
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg *** (Still one of the best!)
- Elements of Fiction Writing by James Scott Bell
- Writing Children’s Books for Dummies by Buccierie and Economy
- Elements of Fiction Writing, Beginnings, Middles and Ends by Nancy Kress
- Writing Fiction for Dummies, Ingermanson and Economy
- Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide by Gotham Writer’s Workshop
- Writing from the Inside Out by Dennis Palumbo
Few of us are born churning out perfect stories, rhyme or prose. For most, writing is a craft of passion and hard work, honed by wonderful hours spent reading the works of others, then of writing, revising, practicing, doodling, noodling, tweaking, combining, exploring, dreaming and thinking about our own stories.
In fiction, ideas, characters and stories arise from experience, observation AND in the expanded imagination of the mind and heart But until we put those ideas, stories and characters into words, until we “write down the bones” of our thoughts and ideas, they remain stuck in a nebulous cloud inside of us––raw, unrefined and difficult to organize or share.
So…how do we get started? How do we learn to write, to put our words to paper, word-processor or recorder so that they make sense, not only to us, but to our future audience? How do we build a cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end?