For almost four years I have been reaching out to the world through my first blog site, Beadergirl Jewels. Through that site I have renewed my love of the written word and found again the power of language. Today my new site, a product of that initial run, takes flight.
Writing has always been a major means of communication for me and through this site I hope to discuss many of the challenges and joys of putting ideas into permanence, whether on paper or by e-flying. Today’s post is about getting started.
Sometimes we just need a push. It can be gentle or not. My own nudge came from my grown son as we were talking about our dreams. I said the one thing I’d always wanted to do was write a novel. Sure, I was a successful professional, the mother of two children who had turned out pretty well, and I was happy in my life. But not completely satisfied, I told him. “Mom,” he said, “you’re sixty years old, you’ve got all sorts of qualifications, you’re in excellent health and you have the time. If not now, when?”
That comment stayed with me as my husband and I drove to South Carolina for a week’s holiday. Two days in the car gave me time to plan and I hit the Borders book store as soon as I could. I found How to Write & Sell Your First Novel by Collier and Leighton and started to read. I didn’t write a word of my own until I got to the chapter on editing. I had nothing to edit. I put the book down and began work in earnest on my historical fiction novel.
I stepped up, or rather I sat down. I searched the Internet for history relevant to my topic. I made trips to forts and libraries, graveyards and battlefields, looking for details of small events as well as an overview of the American Revolutionary War. And I loved it. I even took to talking to people working these sites and introducing myself as a writer looking for history. It was exhilarating!
When I started writing in earnest, I knew my characters, their backgrounds and their place in history. Each day they told me the story and I wrote about three pages. For about two and a half hours each morning I lost myself in these exciting characters and their times. It really is true that the details just appeared on my computer screen as I immersed myself in my task. And the best part of all? Organizer that I am, on finishing each chapter I printed off the clean version and put it into its own labeled file folder in my yellow filing cabinet–my little pot of gold.
(to be continued)