OBSERVE and WRITE

If you want to be a writer, of one kind or another, watch and listen. There are stories out there that are screaming to be noticed and recorded.  Characters walking around the streets by the thousands.  By people watching  you get some rich material to describe they way the look, dress, walk, talk to each other, carry things.  Are the men furry faced in one way or another, bald, have interesting haircuts.  The women, are they rotund, skinny to a point that they could disappear behind the local lampposts or average to challenge further description?

Places where you go, eateries, scenery, social events and time spent with friends and families, who did what and where and was there anything funny happening out of it all?

In the course (pardon the pun) of one dinner party, you can get a whole gamut of people descriptions and the way they behave to give you at least a novella’s worth of writing.  Be careful though, my mother almost lost a close friend years ago when she told the woman that I was writing a book, the friend was very verbose about what I might write about her corpulent body and inclination to gossip, mind you, I did make some notes and then decided to protect my mother’s friendship.  I may not be as generous these days, not even about my own flowing body bits.

How do rooms look, what kind of furnishing do they have, decor or the interesting hotch-potch of an eclectic mix which can be described in various creative ways.

Then there is the environment.  Many of us who write spend great chunks of time observing nature.  Australian Eucalyptus trees with their layers of sand coloured bark that entices a tactile person to peel jagged sheets of their soft pliable texture.  I am blessed to live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney where I can go and observe the constantly changing ocean and spend hours watching the waters flow backwards and forwards in varying size waves leaving white droplets hanging from their edges.  Oops, I’m getting carried away.  At the risk of being observed as a crazy person, you could spend an endless amount of time sky gazing, cloud formations can provide us with a lyrical pallet to write from.

Ants are very interesting, I used to swim in a neighbours’ solar heated pool which was surrounded by a wild assortment of plants tumbling towards the edge, I spent quite a lot of time observing the comings and goings of the ants rushing around in a flurry of activities, carrying bits of crumbs, leaves, extinguished insects and getting out from under the dead leaf that I sometimes placed in their path just to see how they would tackle it.  I think I may have even instigated some romance there, you know, one ant rescuing another.

I am not saying to go on and on writing sagas about all these things, what I suggest is that observing these things, finding ways to describe them and pull them into a story you are writing, has the power to add a lyrical texture to the art of written storytelling.

Enough about trees, sky and ants, I think you get the picture, I’d love to hear from you about what grabs your attention and motivates you to write.

In my next blog I will give you a little exploration into Listening and Writing.

 

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WRITE – NO MATTER WHAT

Happy New Year, the plan for me is this year to add more blogs to my page and share with you the writing journey.

Writing is in the main quite isolating, fingers to the keyboard or pen to express the fruit of your creativity, ideas and whatever catches your need for expression.  That’s why there are so many writing groups that have emerged and are proliferating around the country, people who want to share, be motivated by others and get feedback for what they write and apart from that, its also a very pleasant social outlet for people of like mind.

My writing groups at the local library will be starting again in February and I am looking forward to that.  For me, it also entails the discipline of preparing activities to motivate and generate ideas for participants to explore their writings.

What I found to be most important is to write, no matter what.  Okay, some days you are too busy with whatever it is and it may not be possible, however, having said that, even if you jot down one line, one sentence, one idea, maybe an outline for something, an observation of life outside your own world, it becomes a habit of writing, focusing on the process.  There are days when I have spent half an hour on my work and that was it for the day, other days I just keep going.  Somehow, its like my decision to get rid of ‘stuff’ in my house, I made a decision that everyday I would get rid of ‘something’ so I hunt through my cupboards, drawers, folders, books, clothes and create a little or a big cluster of chuck out stuff and the decision that I made to do that everyday keeps me doing it.  So its the same with writing, if you make a decision to write something everyday, you will and I am willing to bet that you will discover little gems to write about.

The everyday vagaries of life gives us so much material that we are never out of a subject, that’s what I say to my students and when they say “but someone already did that” or “said that” my response is that they havnt done it YOUR WAY, from your viewpoint and perception nor would they give it your description.  We all see life differently.

Finally, enjoy the words you are writing, the ideas that come into your brain, marvel that you and only you can do it that way, this is part of the juice that keeps you writing.

Sharing gives us another dimension to our writing, so share with us here some of your words.

Happy writings.

Helene