It was May 1st. I had a lined notebook and my favorite pen. One little story idea was all that I knew, but I started writing what was to become my first novel. My main character was to be a real estate agent. Her sister lived on a farm. And I wondered if the sister on the farm was to share Jesus with the other.
That's it. No outlines. No plot summaries. Nothing. Of course, the story changed dramatically over the years, but the gist remained the same, interestingly enough.
I still have that notebook and occasionally go back and shudder at my teenage writings. See, I knew nothing about writing a novel. My only experience was the many books I'd read. But you know what? That was a good thing. I didn't come into it with any pre-conceived notions. I just wrote.
And this is something I need to remember. I wrote because I loved it. As time went on and I learned more, it didn't come as easily to me. Words were harder to pull from my mind. But there's something beautiful about those first attempts. I believe fiction writers need to write, first of all, for themselves, and THEN think about their audience. Because if you're not interesting yourself with your story . . . then honey, you're going to have trouble finishing that novel.
Maybe you're stuck right now in your writing. Or maybe you're not a writer at all, and you feel like your life is just stalled. May I suggest going back to the basics and remembering what used to excite you? Perhaps it's something that still can. Did you always want to write a fantasy novel but got side-tracked on the latest fiction fad? Have you always wanted to travel to Alaska but let life drag you down? It's never too late to live your dreams. Sometimes it might take time to reach them, but start today by taking a step in the right direction.
Next time ... the first writing how-to book I ever read.