Please welcome my guest blogger for today, Velika Kapitanof of SuSu Publishing
What does a writer need to do in order to write? Talk about a loaded question and the answer is as unique as each writer. Looking back at my development as a writer, I notice that my strategy depends on either my surroundings or the topic, sometimes both. What I call strategy is how I tackle the project at hand, i.e., do I create an outline, write bios for each of the characters, or do I just start writing and let the content flow naturally? I’d like to briefly expand on each – surroundings, strategy and topic.
I’m sitting in my living room, with the large bay window overlooking the park, and I notice that the sun has now been replaced by dark, grey clouds. I automatically become more pensive as dark clouds naturally make me blue. My natural instinct at this point is to grab a pen and paper and start writing. What am I going to write about? I don’t really know as I usually let my thoughts guide me.
On this particularly gloomy day I realize that I usually do the most writing during this kind of weather. When it’s bright and sunny, I’m usually not moved to write. Sunny days usually inspire other things like long walks along the beach, cleaning the house or creating a new recipe. In other words, sunny days give me energy while cloudy days or, as my friend Isabel calls them “fuzzy” days, inspire the writer in me.
My observation has made me wonder what other writers are like. What inspires other writers? Does their inspiration come from nature? Do they do their best work while sitting at the computer or in front of a fire? We’ve heard of great authors who seclude themselves in a cottage for months on end because they want to write uninterrupted. Could it be that the scenes of nature which usually surround the secluded location serve as their inspiration?
A friend recently asked me what she should do to get back into writing. I gave her what seems to be a very practical response. I told her to pick a topic, commit to a deadline and that the rest will follow. I realize now that this was a very left-brain response. The advice I should have given her, which I guess I’m giving now, is to listen to your thoughts and let them guide you. Always keep pen and paper handy (you never know when genius will strike), jot down your thoughts or questions and then when you are sitting in your favorite chair, read them! You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see.
I have to admit that there are times when you just have to write and can’t afford to wait for inspiration to strike. If you have a book deal and the publisher is waiting, you may not have the luxury of putting off your writing for a long time. Times like that, writers just start writing. No matter how many times they erase, throw out and edit, they start writing and keep on writing. Ironically, writing is the best antidote for writer’s block. It may feel awkward but after awhile, creative juices start flowing.
Finally, I want to look at the question of whether the topic affects the quality of a writer’s work. For instance, can a writer who has no interest in science fiction write a great sci-fi novel? If they familiarize themselves with the topic and write a compelling novel, would it be as successful as a novel written by a sci-fi enthusiast? In order to answer this fairly, we have to realize that there are many factors to consider. For instance, is the storyline believable, have the characters been developed well, does the story flow, and lastly, does the reader get a sense of the author’s feeling, or bias, about the topic? We might be tempted to say that we do our best work on topics we are passionate about; however, it might be that the experience of writing on a favorite topic just feels more enjoyable, and we pass that joy along to our readers.
The next time you sit down to write, take a look around you and make a mental note of your surroundings. Is this a familiar scenario - do you always write in the same place, time of day, in your favorite comfy clothes, or is this setting out of the ordinary for you. Are you writing out of necessity to meet a deadline or did you just get a flash of brilliance? What is it about the topic that makes you want to write? Being aware of what brings out your creative side is the best gift you can give yourself as a writer. Knowing what works for you will be different than what works for anyone else, and if you are able to tap into it for yourself there will be no stopping your creative process.
As for the question I pose in the title, What does weather have to do with writing?, the answer for me is that cloudy weather makes me pensive which makes me write. The answer could be completely different for you. Regardless of the answer, I invite you to create whenever you feel inspired. Susu Publishing is a new blog geared towards writers who want to showcase their work as well as those who need a gentle nudge to get started.
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