On Writing, Reading, and Life

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_9Did you see the Oxford Comma in my title?

That really has nothing to do with this post, but I thought I’d point it out because everyone should love the Oxford Comma.

Anyway. If you haven’t figured out a writer by now, this is probably your first look at my blog. I know I talk about it a lot. What I don’t talk about, and probably should more often, is how much I struggle with it.

I will be the first person to tell you I’ve found I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to write books. Simple, right? Not so much. I can barely make myself sit down once a week to make a blog post. And this blog is left wanting because of it.

Then I have days like today. Days were my anxiety is overbearing and work is long and hard and my brain is all but screaming for an outlet. So I get in the car to go home from work and put on my novel’s playlist.

Lo and behold, inspiration strikes. Even better, I get home and I proceed to write 600+ words of a flashback scene that helps me with character development. It feels really, really good to know that I did something today that moved me creatively.

Speaking of novels, I’m reading some really good ones right now that definitely hold some credit for my creative spike.

The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, and In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken. I’m currently finishing In the Afterlight, so this isn’t a definitive review, but I’ve fallen headfirst into the world her words have given me. These are very large books that are potent with imagery, emotion, and complex scenes. I have a hard time stopping myself from reading all night.

It is so important for writers to have books to aspire to. I find that the more that I read, the more books I hold at that standard. It’s harder to be this creative – to write, to post on a blog – when I’m not also diving into a book.

A really good friend of mine sent me a link to one of her favorite author’s newest blog post about writing. There’s a quote I’d like to share that really struck me.

I am a storyteller. It is an ancient art. We used to sit in caves, huddled around the fire, listening to noises in the dark, afraid of what they might be, and someone would say, “Let me tell you a story,” and everyone would gather closer to the fire where they felt warm and safe, and they would forget the noises in the dark, listening to adventures. Now, I sit in my office and write words on a screen, that I’ll share with you soon. I’ll finish writing the blog, and continue to work on the latest novel, because you need a good story, and I need to be able to say, “Come, sit by the fire where you’ll be safe and warm, and let me share an adventure with you.”

That’s it! She hit the nail on the head of what it means to be a writer. A storyteller. I think I’m going to use the latter more often when describing myself. I like the magic of it. My stories may be words on a page but they came from my heart first. Maybe someday they’ll pass through my lips.

With days like today, that might just become an inevitability.

 

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