Last week I shared how so many people have expressed a desire to write a book this year. In debriefing that blog with others, several themes have emerged. The most important theme is that writing a book is a journey and is often a series of stepping stones. As David Whyte writes in Start Close In, “start close in, don’t take the second step, or the third, start with the first thing close in, the step you don’t want to take. Start with the ground you know…”
In the spirit of supporting all the budding authors of 2020-2021, I offer a few stepping stones for the writers journey.
BLOG- Blogs are a way “to start close in, with the ground you know”. Publishing your ideas in a blog is an easy way to enter into the world of writing. There are many platforms that make blog posting easy and accessible. Your passion and curiosity are great guides for blogs. Grammarly offers helpful tips on how to keep your blog succinct and compelling.
LETTERS- In the era of emails and texts, it’s rather rare for people to send cards and letters. Yet, when you receive a letter it almost feels like a gift. It’s a bit of a lost art. You can write a letter to a family member, a long lost friend, a representative, a colleague, even yourself. Or go beyond people you’ve met. For example, my sister-in-law writes young girls in an orphanage in Ghana. Who could you send a letter to? Combine letter writing with making your own cards and you can provide comfort and joy through the act of writing.
PHOTOS – We often think of writing as words. However, photos can become great inspiration for writing. I have a dear friend I write every spring when I see the first buds on the willows near my home. I take the photo and it starts my annual spring connection with her. As a child, my mother and I took walks in the spring looking for the first “pussy willows” of the season. A photo can become a story starter or a letter.
FAMILY – Many people in their Third Half express an interest in writing a book about their families. Some approach it through the Genealogy lens and others conduct interviews and document stories. The New York Times summarizes several accessible ways to begin this journey. There are now many apps for helping you gather, record and document your family story. Gathering and sharing these stories is a rewarding stepping stone as a writer. Storyworth even provides you with the platform for sending a question and gathering the responses for you!
POETRY- Last, perhaps you are a poet and the written word won’t be in a novel. Read all kinds of poems, share your favorite poet (mine is Mary Oliver). And read poems that inspire you! Try some of the daily quote emails to connect you to short poetic inspirations. Sierra Clubs Daily Ray of Hope and Gratefulness Word for Day are two of my favorites. Then take your pen and see where the words take you on your journey.
YOU THE AUTHOR- And, if all you really need is inspiration, here are some delightful ways to celebrate your writing talents.
What’s holding you back from taking the writers journey?
Take the first step and see where your writing stepping stones will take you.