Baby steps to the door. Baby steps to the car. Baby steps to the plane. Baby steps back to the computer.
It's been a crazy whirlwind of events in my life lately. For one, I went on a cruise with the fam. It was nice. Lots of ice. (yes, the rhyme was intentional) Saw some glaciers and some small Podunk towns in Alaska. Actually, as a writer I was inspired by the unique and quiet towns in Alaska. Specifically Ketchikan. There were these old craftsman houses that dotted the hills, with long wooden staircases leading up to their brightly colored doors. Downtown neighbored the docks, so while walking around looking at the cute little trinket shops, one could hear the seagulls calling along with the gentle lapping of the waves upon the wooden docks. I could just imagine stories "happening" here.
Which kind of leads me to todays post. The more I think of myself as a writer, and believe me it still feels weird to say because Alli Condie is a writer, JK Rowling is a writer, Dan Brown is a writer…not me, the more I see the stories in the every day things I do. I found myself on the cruise thinking, there's gotta be a story about a boy who meets a girl on a cruise, become close friends, and meet back on the boat coincidentally ten years later, only to fall in love.
On the plane to Denver I imagined a businessman who flies back and forth across the country and a stewardess who flirt back and forth, kind of having a crush on each other but in love more with the idea of how exciting it could be and have to come to terms with the reality of their "relationship" when they bump into each other in one of the cities they fly to…a love affair begins but what happens after that?
I also thought about a friend I had in high school, whom I adored, but had some serious addiction problems. She was addicted to anything you could be addicted to: sex, attention, cocaine, pot, alcohol, prescription pills, cigarettes, bad boys…you name it. And the story which I could easily write because I lived it is what to do when you are the enabler, the friend who thinks she is trying to help but should really be out the door. The lesson learned when you have to say "I can't help you if you don't want to be helped." Which is precisely what I had to do, but only after 5 years of putting up with shit from her, letting my teen life slip away because I had to be her parent as well as her friend, the resentment that builds and the reality that I have to take responsibility for what happened, because I should have left.
So, why the sad story? Just to say as a writer, inspiration is everywhere. Everyone has a story. That's what makes writing and reading so amazing. We all live out our own plots, conflicts, and learn our life lessons. I have now gotten to the point, thanks to some amazing people I like to call writer friends, that I need to get a notebook, jot all my ideas down, then work on the story I am trying to write at that moment, leaving all the other ideas for later. That is what a writer is. That is what a writer does.
If you are stuck and want to write but don’t know how to start, try this: what big things have happened to you? What are YOUR stories that just have to be told? As you walk around and go about your day, listen to your world. What stories are being told? Can you add a what if?
For example, what if an Olympic diver who waited his whole life for the Olympics, risked everything to be there, then…at the moment he needed to do his best, he failed? Not only failed, but like got all zeroes failed? And back flopped. Which most people didn't even realize was possible. See? Interesting story. And…it happened. Poor guy. But you see, stories are waiting everywhere to be told.
Look between the nooks and crannies of life, there it is. A gem. A nugget of greatness.
I know I am.