Standing Up To Live

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Henry David Thoreau

thanks to all who stopped by yesterday to read and comment on my part of the blog tour for Eric Maisel’s book the Van Gogh Blues. In about 10 days I will be posting a list of the other wonderfully creative blogs and websites who participated in the blog tour with me. As Eric’s tagline reads “successfully manage the anxieties of the creative process”. If you’re lucky enough to have never experienced anxiety throughout the process maybe the book isn’t for you but for me it has helped tremendously.

When I was thirteen I remember vividly a conversation I had with my father, I had just written a poem, (something with a lot of teenage angst I’m sure) and I told my father when he found it that I wanted to be a writer, his words were you have to do a lot of living to be a writer you have to go out there and travel and do things…experience life I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t remember this conversation but those words stuck with me. In wasn’t until I was in my twenties and read Flannery O’Connor’s words

“Anybody who has survived
his childhood has enough
information about life to
last him the rest of his days.”

that I thought differently.
I think to be a writer of course you need to live your life but does it really matter if you’re well traveled or experienced? Are you observant, introspective, in love with words, language, are you a reader? Can you bring readers into your fictional world and make them want to stay? Do you find people and characters fascinating? Do you look at details? Are you a people watcher? Have you survived your childhood?

I’m curious what are your thoughts on this? Today spend about thirty minutes as part of your daily writing and list as many life experiences that you can think of that you could work into an essay, a poem or a short story. Now get back to work!

The Writing Nag

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4 Replies to “Standing Up To Live”

  1. The best line I ever wrote about writing is this: “Writers don’t have real lives, they have ongoing research,” and I believe that wholeheartedly. I remember watching Star Trek once and Kirk said something I though was interesting so I wrote it down and it ended up somewhere in my first novel if I didn’t edit it out somewhere down the line; a friend on a bus once said, “My wife thinks I’m too serious,” and I went home and wrote a short story in his voice – an Ayrshire accent – with that very opening line. Nothing is sacred.

  2. good points..if you cna hold the reader is the most important part..enough detail to keep them there but still let their imagination work..what they see is not always exactly what you do..each eaxperience is unique..

  3. Thanks Jim and Robert. Jim so true; I once got offended when one of my writer friends took an idea of mine and wrote it into her chick-lit book. Now I know better. Nothing is sacred.

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