Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Have You Done?

The preface to a book I started to read. What have you done to further your goal, in this case writing a story? Googling how to books and buying a book on writing won't advance my story. Putting off the process until next week, next month, next year won't advance the story. Reminding myself that everybody thinks they can write and who do I think I am anyway is just another defense mechanism. Pearls of wisdom do come from unusual places. The book, walking in circles before lying down, Merrill Markoe. The story of a woman who will eventually be able to hear dogs talking. I've not read too far into it yet, but it has hooked me.

What I have learned, it is best to write what you know. I may have to scratch the opening scene. What do I know about a group of lifelong friends and women friends at that? Only what I've read. We shall see where my mind wanders.

I've also learned that playing with the Tornado globe won't help either. It'll pass some time but not advance my story.


Found at the airport in Oklahoma City. A disclosure as I feel a bit guilty at playing with a tornado, one of natures most destructive forces. I have the utmost respect for tornadoes and the people who have suffered and lost property or loved ones to their destructive forces.


Shirley said...

It's about curiosity!

I've been reading a book on writing that I got at the's called Bird by Bird (I think). I don't have it here in front of me. I've gleaned some amount of inspiration from it.

What you say about writing about what you know is true. Sometimes I think I haven't seen or done enough to be very worldly.

Me...I keep reading about writing, perhaps as a means of dodging the real thing!!!

Photobonnie said...

It was odd to see that statement in the beginning of this book. One of the things I read somewhere, is not to think of it as a novel. Just to write and the story will define the format. Some grow to a full-sized novel.

The book, at least at this point, has nothing to do with writing. It could, by the ending.

Not sure what I plan on doing, yet. More procrastination. And shirley, you have experienced a lot. Sometimes, the story trigger can be the smallest thing.

Shirley said...

The title of the book alone brings back memories of my childhood dog, who used to circle and circle before lying down in front of the space heater, only to have it turn off just as she hit the floor. :D It bought a smile when I read it.

This current book I'm reading stresses just writing small stuff, even if just a paragraph...writing exercises. She says that things will start coming out of those writings...ideas for larger pieces. She always downplays the 'outlined' plot in favor of writing what she calls a sh*%ty first draft, where you write down everything...get to know your characters and from that the story will develop.

fletch said...

You might enjoy this post from one of my blog buddies.

Photobonnie said...

thanks fletch. that's kind of what I was referring. Loved the read and the book referenced looks interesting.

Eileen said...

I went to author Jennifer Lauck's writing workshop last year. She wrote Blackbird. She is all about memoirs, writing what you know makes the most sense to me. Carrie Link over at Fully Caffeinated is just one of the people who have come out of the workshops and written books. I learn so much from THEM and their circle.

I remember Jennifer saying the most important thing was to just keep writing, even if you are stuck or second guessing yourself, just WRITE. It is amazing what comes out when you think your mind is blank.

I also read Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamont. She is an amazing writer, but I love her Memoirs the best: Operating Instructions, Traveling Mercies, Plan B and Grace. Funny, smart writing.

I say just write and write some more. See where it goes. If you have an interest, you are there.

Have fun with it.

Photobonnie said...

I read Jennifer Lauck's Blackbird, Eileen. I don't know what my plans are but sometimes words just swirl around my great big head. We'll see what happens.

Cindi said...

ahhh! we're in the company of writers here! yay!
i, too, b, have a shelf full of "how to be a fabulous writer" books. i don't think i've made it thru one yet. i get distracted by writing. ha! i even have "walking in circles..." and haven't read it yet.
i absolutely believe you should write what you know. it may seem boring to you - but it's brand new to everyone else.
"Blackbird" is one of the most haunting and incredible books I've ever read. how cool to meet the author, eileen!
and shirl - "bird by bird" was one of the first books my very favorite writing teacher ever suggested i read. you and i have talked about "free writing" - that is what my teacher stressed, and Anne Lamott endorses as well.. She is phenomenal!
but, yes, i can procrastinate w/the best of them... reading, not reading, writing, not writing.
i find i have to absolutely be in "the zone" to do anything inspired. and that usually follows on the heels of either a crisis or a joyous occasion.
i've also heard it's good - if you're really serious about it - to treat writing as a job -- an assigned time each day. even if you only write a sentence, you did something.
i also heard jimmy buffett (yes jimmy buffett) quote james michner (i think) ~ "write one page a day. at the end of a year you've got 365 pages."
now that's something i could do! :)

Shirley said...

I don't think I can write a page a day! And I also must be in 'the zone'...same thing...after a crisis or joyful occasion. However, I've noticed lately that other things are starting to inspire me. Nice, informative comments!

Photobonnie said...

Thanks guys. I'm absorbing all that I've read (procrastinating). ;)

Shirley, it might depend on the size of the page!!

The zone... what is that, anyway. When I do write, whether a blog post, or a story excerpt or a poem, I don't start out in any zone, it just sort of flows and before I know it, I've written. I tend to just sit and type. And typing is much easier. For some reason, I am less critical of the typed word than my hand written copy. Plus, I need to wear my glasses when handwriting and either way, reading what I have handwritten can be tricky. I prefer to type.

Writing what you know is only a small part, after all, that is what research is all about. ;)