Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Story Seeds / Writing Tips #13 - Disciplne, Determination and Dreaming

The Seed: It was impossible -- the four small paintings simply did not exist! And yet the snow from the first one seemed to be seeping into my bedroom.
(c) 2013 Ruth Ohi

The Book:  Within a Painted Past  (Annick Press 1994, illustrations by Ruth Ohi, novel ages 8 - 11)

The Writing Tip: It was that single precious hour that I had so carefully carved out of my day with three young children. I was sitting on my bed with pen,paper, tea, cookies,cats and dogs. But my page was blank.
         What was I going to write? If I wanted to be a writer I had to write about something! But I'd tried all my usual tricks to get my pen moving across the page and none of them had worked. Totally fed up with staring at the blank page, I looked up and stared at the blank wall instead.
           That's when the paintings appeared.  They weren't there....but they were there! Four little paintings of the mountains - spring, summer, fall, winter.  The winter one was of a cabin in the woods and the snow was painted so realistically it seemed be falling right into my room.
            At that moment, my whole room seemed to change around me.  I have a white ceiling...but suddenly it was made of dark wood.  The ordinary window behind me was suddenly a gabled window.  And the hallway became a staircase going down.
           I knew it would be a story going back in time.  Hurrah!  I love stories that shift back in history! But almost at the same moment I realized I couldn't write it.  With three young kids, I barely had time to write let alone time to get out of the house and do the research that would be necessary.
          There was no way I was about to lose the moment, however. I quickly wrote four pages of scattered ideas in connection with the paintings.  Four years later, when the kids were all in school and I could get to libraries and museums to gather enough background information to make the story work, I returned to that notebook and wrote the story itself.
     The three D`s of writing: discipline, determination and dreaming. 
      If you want to be a writer, over and over you need to rise to the challenge by always setting aside time to write and by continually refusing to give up -- even if it means staring at a blank wall.

(c) All Rights Reserved. All blog text(except comments by others) copyright Hazel Hutchins.

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