Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Writing is Like a Jug of Water


Being a writer is like a jug of water. Sounds funny, huh? But it’s true for me. The water in the jug resembles story ideas that are in my head. When the jug is full, writing comes easily. Characters, setting and dialogue flow onto the page. I don’t use a plot or outline, so one idea will lead into the next throughout the story.

But where do my ideas come from to keep that jug full? Watching people’s expressions, smiles, the way they move. Listening to conversations. A lot of ideas can come from simply sitting in a coffee shop. Once an idea strikes, I’ll jot it down anywhere, including the back of bill envelopes and various sticky pads throughout the house. If I’m driving the kids to soccer, stopping at the gas station, or stuck in traffic, I use a notebook in the glove compartment. In a nutshell, I use any paper I can find.

Keeping track of these papers and stickies gets tricky, but if it’s a good blurb, piece of dialogue, or scene sketch, I always remember where I wrote it. I may forget where I left my car keys five minutes earlier, but a really great story idea is like a first love. You never forget it.