Saturday, March 3, 2012

Compelled to Write

I'd driven the 100 miles. Driven straight into the storm. The sky darkened with each mile that passed behind me. But I drove anyway; my family home and me alone. The wind yanked at my car...tugging at the doors and windows like a monster wanting inside.

The rage of bellowing black clouds boiled along the ridge. Safety, Father. Safety please. Then the rain came. Sheets of water pelted across my windows and the wheels of the car slipped and slid. Lord, safety.

I focused on the white line stretched long the road, depending on that to guide me...the path I needed to follow - to see what was invisible ahead. That's when it happened. My fingers tightened on the steering wheel and I leaned forward. The writer in me burned.

What a scene, I thought. And without a hestationI began to craft what lay before me into a scene for my novel. The elements were there, I only needed my imagination to make the perfect storm.

This is how a writer is compelled to write. Our eyes focus on our situation and the imagination from deep within, the creativity we are gifted, begins to mesh.

I've often sat and stared at the computer screen, my fingers tap gingerly against the keys but no words form. Some call it writers block, I call it lack of attention. It's easy to blame our inability to focus on our work, writers block when the fact is...the very moment we are in presents itself as a scene. Oh, occasionally we write ourselves into a corner and can't find a way out. The words we've crafted are good words but they take us no where. Blocked. Stopped cold - a sure sign we take the words we've written, toss them in a tumbler and shake them up.

As a writer, we are gifted with creativity. Every movement around us holds the possibility to become scene. Even the most mundane moments can offer us a tense situation in our story. Our life, the world around us is a plethora  of material.

Carry a pad wherever you go. Jot down moments of your day. Learn to ask yourself the question, "What do I see in this moment?" Look at every situation as a possible scene.

Writers see and are compelled to write and they write what they see. So look. The storm I drove into offered me a perfect scene in my Appalachian Mountain story. The emotion I felt as I gazed into the dark sky moved me to know something, feel something I'd not felt earlier. It was a scene.

When your page is blank, look up and look around. What do you see that can become your scene? Be compelled to write.