Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Soirée - Mine your life for writing material

There was a time when in my enthusiasm to be the writer I had always dreamed to be, I tried to write apart from my life. I felt there was nothing about my day, in the normal run of my daily responsibilities or in the circumstances that occurred around me that was worthy enough to write about or interest a reader. Frustrated with my life at that time, I approached writing with trepidation thinking that I came to it empty. But I soon discovered that to separate my writing from my life was to walk through the door of false perception and end up in a dark and lonely room filled with frustrations.

I discovered too, that I was not alone. I was not the only aspiring writer with this erroneous belief. But thankfully, those who traveled the same road in the early days of their writing careers, were willing to share their experiences and offer valuable advice to other writers, like me, who were trapped in that room with no ideas and every negative emotion possible.

Steer clear of the false perceptions. Open your eyes and your heart to the fact that there is enormous wealth stored in your own life so mine your life for writing material.

Whatever your writing goal, life in general is ripe with writing fruit for the picking and your life in particular is a bottomless river, brimming with information and inspiration to take you on the road to whatever writing success you dream of for yourself.

If you look there first and then explore and expand on its free offerings you will discover a storehouse of material whether you want to write for your own eyes or for publication. And when you begin to open your eyes and heart to the treasure trove of all that exist around you, you will grow more and more comfortable with the process of finding the right words to convey your thoughts, finding your rhythm and staying motivated.

In fact, when you sit to write, you already have stories to tell, stories unfolding and stories yet to be discovered. When you sit to write, if you have nothing else, you have your life. Write about what has happened and what is happening (even if you don’t understand it all). Write about what you want to see happen in the future and what you fear.

I’m not saying that it is easy - far from it. Like everything else in your writing journey, learning to mine your life for material is a process. I guarantee that your life will seem more vibrant and interesting as you capture the stories it holds. Moreover, your writing will capture not only the attention of your readers but their hearts also.


Magnolia said...

Hello Cheryl,

Just stopping in to say hello. I've backed away from my blog for a much needed hiatus.

I love this post of yours because it is exactly what I need to be doing. I'm also reading a great book right now by Dennis Palumbo, "Writing From the Inside Out"

It's an excellent and humorous look at the process of writing and who writer's are. In his description of the writer's psyche, I saw myself.

He makes point after point of writing being the experience of living, not the experience of writing.

I'm loving it and it has been a catalyst in my backing away from my blog for a while.

I will continue to read on comment on my favorite blogs though and so I'll be back around to see how you are doing.


Cheryl Wright said...


I know you're on a little hiatus but every few days, I check to see if you've left a little morsel that I can chew on.

But never mind me, you take all the time you need. I believe the time away will help you to clear the mental clutter, re-organize and re-prioritize what remains and fill the empty spots with inspiration and new perspectives to enrich your life as well as readers of your blog, when you begin to post again.

Enjoy it, revel in it and soak up the good stuff.

Anxiously and patiently awaiting your return.


Jeanne Dininni said...

This is so true, Cheryl!

Our life experiences combine to make us who we are, and when we write, we express ourselves from that reservoir of personal experience that gives substance to our words and helps our reader relate to what we have to say. In fact, I believe our life experiences are the influences that make it possible for us to write with real power...and true authority.

Wonderful post!

Cheryl Wright said...

Thank you Jeanne,

I think too that writing (whether in our journals, an essay, article or book), about some incident in our lives and sharing how we worked through the emotions is one of the most liberating exercises for anyone but especially a writer.

Nothing frees us as taking what lies within our hearts and holding it out and up and reading it in black and white. The added benefit is that when we let other people read it, our story, our life can be the catalyst for change in theirs.

Just that possibility inspires me to never take any of my life experiences for granted.

I'm happy to see you here again and sharing your thoughts.


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