Putting My Words on the Page

In the years since I began writing, I’ve often wondered how other writers begin their works. Do they decide on something they want to write about? Does a character burst into the mind, full of passion for something? Is their attention caught by something they see on the television?

When I sit down to write, I always grab a notebook and a pen.  I have the option to type my stories, but I always feel a bit more connected when I get to physically write my stories. However, I am a bit of a procrastinator. Okay, a complete procrastinator when it comes to any work I need to do (especially dishes). Suddenly, I need to laundry, get a snack, or check my phone a million times for a text that isn’t there.

Usually, my procrastination happens after I get the initial spark of an idea out of my head. The idea itself comes at the most random times: at the grocery store when I see someone with an unusual outfit or hairstyle, listening to morning radio, watching an interview of my favorite singer (Ed Sheeran if you’re wondering). Sometimes it is the name of a place that sparks the start of a story. Other times it is hearing a name that I’ve never heard before.

Ed and his kitten Graham.

There is no way I could explain how these things spark an idea. It just sort of happens. The idea will come into my mind like an elephant wearing a tutu on roller skates. It puts itself front and center for all (just me, actually) to see. It is almost as if I am being graced by the one-liner’s presence.

The idea is always written down as quickly as possible. A girl with a funny name and eye makeup that looks like a raccoon, whatever else pops into my head while writing that down, like a bit about her only friend or the dreaded math class is saved. If I’m lucky, I will already know that the best friend is a fiery redhead named Veronica and that her parents are divorced. More times than not, though, I am reaching for my baby name book (because every name in the world aside from my own always falls out of my head when I need it) and flipping through for a name.

I hate to say it, but the stories are often set aside after the first sitting. I might make it a few chapters into a story, but that is the furthest I have ever gotten. My stories are left, mid-sentence, mid-thought and never touched again. Probably because I have no idea where I was going when I stopped writing it. Then I get this sinking feeling that says, if I don’t know where my story is going now, I never knew to begin with.

My favorite stories that I have written are the select few that I know what I want to say with them. There are maybe five. That might seem like a decent size, but compared to the number of stories I have worked on, it is not even a quarter of them.

Two of these stories, the ones I work on when I get the chance, come to me about the same time every Christmas break. I ran across someone with the prettiest name I had ever heard. Of course, having a common name that is spelled completely different than what people are used to, I understand what it’s like to have my name misspelled and mispronounced. All the time. Her name, however, is what sparked the story, one about twins whose names sort of rhyme and are best friends but complete opposites. The plot (which I won’t say too much about) teaches them about very different heartache, and how they will always have each other. All of this from a name.

The second story is, I guess, what most people would call a fan-fiction. I got the idea from fan-fics I have read about my favorite singer. They all have sort of the same common thread: he is on the road, working while you are at home to miss him. Change the names, change the places, and the time period, and they are (for the most part) the same. That’s good, I suppose, but I questioned why the stories all had to be pretty much the same. Why can’t you, as a writer, take a person and put them in a situation that is completely different from what they do every day?

Most of Ed’s left sleeve. This i snow finished and he is working on his right.

My story, I would say, is more inspired by him. The main character is not Ed Sheeran. He drives, and he has less tattoos (although I do love Ed’s actual tattoos). He works in a bakery- something I’m almost 100% sure Ed has not actually done. The story is always changing and evolving in my head, and I love that it was inspired by two thinks that I love: Ed Sheeran and fan-fiction stories.

For me, writing is not as glamorous as people would probably think. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline. I have had to train myself to ignore distractions around me and do the work that I had originally set out to do. That means not texting friends when they text, and skipping my favorite television show. The hard work will pay off eventually (I hope), but for now I just have to learn to write even after I lose the initial spark.

Don’t forget to check back every other Monday for a new post! Also follow me on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “Putting My Words on the Page

    • I do that sometimes! It just depends on what I’m writing about, I think. Sometimes a story I am working on focus solely on a character and so that’s what I start with. Other times I’m focusing on the story and have to work hard to figure out the characters.

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