The desire to write grows with writing.
Joseph Heller began writing Catch-22 in 1953. He finished a third of the book. Then, his agent sent it out to publishers. He finally sold it to Simon and Schuster. Heller didn’t complete the entire manuscript until eight years later.
November is National Novel Writing Month. We’re now three days into November. Do you plan to participate? If you do, how did you get the idea for your novel? How can we encourage you on this journey?
Michael Crichton was born on this day in 1942. After teaching anthropology at Cambridge in England, he attended medical school at Harvard. While there, he wrote and published five novels, using the names John Lange and Jeffrey Hudson. He wrote The Andromeda Strain in his last year of medical school. He gave up medicine for writing. Many of his novels were made into films, including Congo, The Great Train Robbery, Westworld, Rising Sun and Jurassic Park. He passed away in 2008.
You’ve got the idea but you don’t feel motivated to write. How do you motivate yourself to keep writing?
Share your tips. You may help someone else.
When I returned to school in the fall of 1969, I joined in on all the buzz. Many of my eighth-grade friends felt it, too. We loved the Cubs. Even if we never followed baseball—which I didn’t—we had followed it that summer. It was the summer of magic and we headed into a magical fall.
Then, it all came crashing in. That year, the Mets passed the Cubs and took the big prize. I’m not a baseball fan. I can count the number of games that I’ve watched since then on one hand. But, I still hate the Mets.
Last night, I watched baseball. The Mets creamed the Cubs. I felt that old bitterness well up again. I called my 86-year-old dad and said, “I hate the Mets.”
My Mets’ issue isn’t earth-shattering. But, others are. I know a woman in her 80s who relives her past every day. It’s turned her bitter and angry. She’s the most unhappy person I know.
Is there something from your past that has a stranglehold on you? How do you deal with it? Have you used it to grow or does it keep pulling you down? How can you, as a writer, use that experience or pain to help your readers?
How can you use it as an anecdote in a devotion? What Bible verse would you connect to it? What would be the focus of the devotion? Forgiveness? God’s love? Healing? Prayer? Community? Carrying each other’s burdens?
How can you use it in nonfiction? A personal experience article? How would you tell your story? A how-to? What tips can you offer?
How can it inspire fiction? Poetry? How can you use it in writing for children? Who can you interview for a profile on this topic?
In eighth grade, the Cubs’ loss didn’t change my life, except for my hatred of the Mets. Whether or not they go all the way this year won’t change anything, either. But, some people, including you, may be remembering something that did change your life. Write about it. You can help others.
© Deborah Christensen
Angela Lansbury, best-known for starring as novelist Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote,” was born on this day in 1925. She’s starred in dozens of films over her long career, and earned Oscar nominations for her performances in The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Manchurian Candidate. I had the pleasure of meeting her several years ago. She was so gracious.
How do you hold onto your writing ideas so you don’t forget them?
I started thinking about this last week. I had a great idea for a blog post. By the time I was ready to write it, I couldn’t remember what it was. I carry an iPod Touch with me. I need to use it more to get those ideas down before they’re gone forever.
What about you? Please share your ideas here.
The original name for one of Ray Bradbury’s books was The Fireman. But, he thought it was boring and so did his publisher. So, he made a phone call to his local fire station. He asked them what temperature paper burned. The legend says that the firemen put him on hold and burned a book to find out the temperature. However, slate.com says that the temperature that Bradbury used is the “auto-ignition point of paper—the temprature at which it will catch fire without being exposed to an external flame.” Either way, Fahrenheit 451 became a classic.
Who is the most courageous person you know? What can you write about them? Why do you want to share their story? Tell us your ideas. You may be able to inspire someone else. Or as a community, we may be able to help you hone your idea.