Okay, so Day 3 and I'm starting off raw. the past few days I've had an idea of where to begin, but not today. This could go anywhere. Hold tight.
I think this is why I love to write. Like today, most of my days spent writing start from a completely blank slate. I have a few ideas of what I might want to write, but really, as Hemingway once said, "All you have to do is write one true sentence." And so, that's what I try to do.
Now, I know writers who plan out their books, sketching fabulous timelines and plot developments. But I've never been good at planning things out. I'm much more of a 'by the seat of my pants' kind of fellow. I think that may be why I got into sales, and why I was pretty darn good at it, too. I loved being in situations where I had no idea what would happen next. Again, most of my co-workers would plan out glorious presentations with slides, and notes, and charts. I would show up blind. My goal was always to find the 'one true question'. Once I found it, I would craft my story, on the spot, and close the sale. You see, no one wants to hear what you want to tell them. They only want to hear what fill the empty spaces of their lives. Find their pain, show them how your product or service fills it, cash their check. It really is that simple.
That's the same way I write. I look for one true sentence that leads me to a pain or emptiness in the world. Then, I create a character around that, and then put them in situations where they can find the answer to the question. Finding purpose in life is by far the greatest empty place in the lives of so many today. Far beyond the need to be happy, or to feel accepted, or to be loved. Knowing why we are here and what it is that we are meant to do. That's the darkness that haunts us, the devil that drives us to drink, or medicate, or push ourselves until we break. I, too, have faced that darkness. I know how frightening it can be.
As I've said before, there is always a little piece of me in every character I create. Some are people I wish I was more like. Some are people I wish I wasn't. But they are all part of who I am or who I was at one point in time. I'm pretty sure it works, too. My eldest child, who does a great deal of the editing for my books, recently revealed how much she is learning about me through my words. Which, to me, is kinda cool. You see, I spent far too many years hiding who I really am from the world. Afraid of being hurt, I guess. Or afraid of losing my power. But hiding doesn't hold power, it erodes it. That's why, now, I'm pretty much an open book - sorry for the pun. I really don't care who knows my faults, what makes me cry, or where I'm most vulnerable.
In fact, this little daily writing exercise is supposed to be private. It's just supposed to be for me and no one else. But I don't do that anymore. Ask any question you want - I will answer from the heart. Tell me what you like or don't like about my books. You won't hurt my feelings, or make me stop writing. Because, to be honest, I don't write for anyone else. I write because I no longer am able to not write. If I never sold a single copy of any of my books, I would still write. It's who I am. It's why I was born. This is my purpose.