The Write Stuff

1209718_sxc.huI was having a difficult time writing the other day. Each time I thought I had something to say; my fingers would freeze on the keyboard. I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t know what I wanted to share. And then, I remembered something I learned awhile ago. So I just started typing:

I can’t think of anything to write. I can’t think of anything to write. OMG it’s hot outside today. I can’t stand the humidity. I’ve got to mail my manuscripts….

You get the picture.

One of the books I have on the topic of writing, mentions writing whatever comes to mind. Even curse words. Whatever’s there, write it. The idea being that sooner or later something else will start to unfold. I have found this works each and every time. It may look like one big incoherent mess, but it will lead you to continue on to something—a declaration, a description, perhaps the beginnings of a story…something.

I can tell you that what you use to write makes a difference as well. Having the right pen and paper will change everything. Recently I came across a pad I like very much. It’s a simple pad, yet it makes me want to write, doodle, and sketch all the time. What am I using—a Mead Cambridge Writing Pad, 8 ½ x 11 in, yellow ruled heavyweight bond paper, spiral at the top. It’s sturdy, so it feels more secure, like it can withstand anything.

As for the pen, I tried using a few of the latest and greatest, you know the ones that promise to glide across the paper like skates on ice. Smooth. But what happened in the end was that I found the no frills Staples medium ballpoint stick pen to be my choice—with this particular pad.

So I continued to write:

I think I’ll put on some music. It’s awfully quiet in here. Pandora’s a good idea. “Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you….” played from my mixed library.

And then I was writing:

Maggie Montgomery was a real estate broker in the Portland, Maine area. She was planning a showing for a cottage on the beach today. Arriving early allowed her to catch up and enjoy a bit of peace. Maggie checked her watch and looked at her desk. It was a mess of papers, pamphlets, and sticky notes. She tore a sheet from her desk calendar — Tuesday, April 21, 1988. The phone rang and she answered on the first ring. “Good morning, this is Maggie.” She recognized the thin echo behind the static. She listened intently and wrote down an address. She hung up the phone and sat quietly for several seconds. Glancing down at her notes, she realized the address given was for the cottage on the beach. I’ll need to take care of this, she thought, or I’ll never sell this beautiful cottage.

This turned into a short story. It’s a ghost story I need to continue working on. The important thing to remember is to write. Whether you use a keyboard, or pen and paper—write! I’ve found that since finding a pad and pen I like, I’m working more on my stories. Other people I know keep journals and write in them every day. Do whatever feels right for you.

A few highly recommended books on the subject of writing:

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

On Writing – Stephen King

Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

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