Musings From a Creative Writer

Creative writing is the imaginative musings of a writer. The writer incorporates the senses to show the reader a story. It’s a flowery embellishment of sorts, describing a park you’ve created from your imagination. It’s the sensation a character feels from the sun on their skin in the middle of the day.

In school, your professors teach you to show and not tell. It’s the showing of the beach at sunset rather than telling the audience that the sun set. Now all your sentences become too long because all you do is show. Then you read an article that says it’s better to tell. If they ran, say they ran. Keep the story progressing. Progressing to what? You don’t know, but you keep writing.

The words you wrote and rewrote begin to sound like crap. You’re ready to burn your manuscript, except for that one sentence or that paragraph. There’s still hope. You put the lighter away and retrieve your work from the garbage. It’s a cycle of building yourself up and tearing yourself down.

As the writer, creative writing can leave you staring at a blinking parallel line. Your cursor sits waiting like your beating heart for the next word. How’s the writing coming people ask. “It’s coming,” you tell them. Every line you write you obsess over. You weren’t a perfectionist until now.

Who are you writing for? You realize more often than not that you do it for yourself. Words made their way into your heart and now those must find a place in the world.

Creative writing can take you on an adventure all while sitting in the comfort of your bed. You feel emotions about a topic you never had an opinion on until you read about it from a book you stumble across at the bookstore.

You want to hit a nerve in your reader that makes them stay up all night reading your book. When they are through you want them to mourn the character they can no longer read about.

This is what you want for your reading audience, so you keep writing.

The Addiction: Part 2

This is Part 2 of The Addiction. Part 1 is available here on my blog. After leaving Mormonism, I threw myself into the sport of ultra running, got remarried for the 2nd time to another runner. As I said in Part 1, I realized that we had love, but it wasn’t for each other. It was for running. During that time of realization, the man I met at work changed how I understood the meaning of love.

Continue reading “The Addiction: Part 2”

Memoir Writing

Memoir What

I’m sure you have questions, like wondering if you should start at your birth and inch your way up? You can do this for the sake of your timeline/outline, but I have yet to come across a memoir that begins with something to the effect of, “I arrived in this world at 6pm on Sunday, September 21, 1979.” (Yes, that’s my birth day) or “And then I started riding my bike without training wheels when I was 2.”

If you can creatively write your when’s and where’s from point A to point B then do it, but for all of us regular writers, spare your audience all those details. Instead, try a memory that sticks your readers right into a piece of the action. It doesn’t have to be about the time You-should-have-seen-the-other-guy kind of moment. Something low key is a good starting point.

Here’s an example taken from one my earliest memories:

My surroundings became a blur. The sky and the ground swirled into a blur as my body slid across the icy packed snow in an aluminum saucer sled. I sat crosslegged, gripping the sides, but came to an abrupt stop when the sled met the wooden fence, hurling me into a dizzying heap. I was splayed on my back with snowflakes melting on my face. My mother ran to my side and picked me up, brushing the snow off my body, checking for broken bones. My tongue tasted something metallic, and then my lip began to thump and burn.

Reminisce Away

You can start with something unique from your childhood or think of key moments from your life. Try a hilarious moment when you fell flat on your face because your backpack was too heavy, or a sad moment like when your mom told you she had breast cancer for the second time.

Talk to a Family Member

Ask a family member about their memories of you. You can even try to write from their perspective and see where that takes you. It will probably head you straight into memory lane and that my friend is exactly where you want to be.

Tell your Story

Is your story worth telling? Still thinking about it? Your story is worth telling because there is not a single person on this earth who can share the same story of their life. They may relate, but no two lives are alike. What struggles did you face?

I think Priyanka Chopra Jonas said it best, “You’ll definitely learn about how I became me during the in between of what you haven’t seen.” We all have chinks in our armor. Talk about your fears and your doubts. People are far more interested in the unseen.

Memoir Now

I am a believer in self-starting. Do you want to write your life story? What better time than now? Even if you’re not looking to publish, it’s a way to leave something for your posterity. A few of my writings I recently shared with my 18-year-old daughter. She had no idea about the things I shared. She felt like she was finally getting to know me. Her own mother!

How much of your story do your children not know about you? I’m not talking about our deepest darkest secrets. From my own experience, it was as simple as my children learning the origin of my childhood nickname.

Additional Help

You can spend a great deal of time looking for journal prompts to get you writing, or you could try this guided journal. No, I don’t get paid to sell you on a journal, so if you tried this particular one out, let me know what you thought of it. Also, if you have found a guided journal to help write your story, please feel free to leave it in a comment and I’ll be sure to add it.

This is My Life: A Guided Journal

This Is My Life: A Guided Journal: Creative Prompts to Tell Your Story, So Far