Tag Archives: writing and real life

Pulling from Life

There is a constant stream of real-life inspiration thrown into my face from all around. I can talk to anyone and draw a portion of their lives into my stories. I see situations in my daily interactions with others and these situations become the stages for some of my tales. While I’ll freely use a portion of another person’s life to build a character or a scene, I’m somewhat reluctant to openly use my own.

Most of my life experiences are cloaked in layers and disguised before they’re set down on paper. Some, however, are close to the bone. In one story, the character saw a news helicopter repeatedly circling the high-rise hotel as she watched sans robe from her 11th story room. Only later, as she walked back to the hotel from the convention she’d been attending, did she realize none of the hotel rooms had tinted privacy glass.

How strange and funny that even as I write this short confession of a real-life event, I feel my face flush in embarrassment and have to resist the urge to backspace and erase. I mean, seriously, how much of an invasion of my privacy is an event that happened thirteen, fourteen years ago? Is confessing this tiny thing going to adversely effect my relationship with my kids, my friends, my life?

Still, as I continue to write I feel the warmth of rising blood in my head. Several people who know me tell me I should write about my own life. While I don’t really see the “hook” needed to draw an audience in my own personal tale, some others do. To me, my life is somewhat mundane. Others see the adversities I’ve overcome throughout my life as a somewhat interesting tale. Well, that and the wacky events that seem to pop out of nowhere and land in my lap.

The question is: do I really want to share? How much do I want others, those I know and those I don’t, how much do I want them to know about me? The crazy answer to this question is a confession. A lot of me is already in my writing; I pull from the closest source.

Now, at this very moment, I’m in the midst of another life-changing event as I help my mother decide her future after a serious accident three weeks ago. This is the third major event in less than a year for me. Life changing, life altering, life enhancing – they all mean the same. The real question is, will I incorporate this event into my stories as fiction or fact?

I will probably do both. As my mother prepares for a change in her life situation, I also prepare for one in mine. It is neither better nor worse; it simply is.

How far do you openly incorporate your own life in your stories? First, second, third base or do you have no shame and hit the home run (and if you do, oh, how I envy you)? Or, are you like me and layer it so much that even those closest to you can’t separate fact from the fiction you’ve created?

When you’re reading the rendition of a true-life event wrapped as fiction, is this a plus or minus? How far do you feel a writer should go?

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Finding Time for Writing

Sia McKye

“If we make it through December
Everything’s gonna be all right I know
It’s the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the fallin’ snow
If we make it through December, we’ll be fine…”

Merle Haggard sang that song way back when. For a country song, I always liked it. I liked the message behind it. Tough times. Taking it a day at a time. The feeling of hope.

We’ve all made it through December. We’re renewed with the New Year. Many of us are trying to get back on track, after the busy holidays, with our writing. Now we need to make it through January. How are you getting back on track with your writing schedule? Do you have a schedule? A schedule is a must for me. Everyone’s different. There’s no right or wrong way.

For me, it’s discipline. I have to organize my time to allow for my writing time. Those days I’m not working, I write a couple of intensive hours in the morning. I treat it like a job. I have to stay focused or I lose it. If I lose it, I feel guilty because I frittered my time away. What that means is, I can’t surf the net, or take part in my on line discussions.

I’m usually up by 6:00 a.m. every morning. My son, Jake, gets up at 6:30. While I have my first cup of coffee, I catch up on my email and what’s been happening.. By the time Jake walks out the door at 7:30 a.m. to catch the school bus, my dogs have done their duties outside. I eat something; grab a second cup of coffee and by 8:00 a.m. I’m ready to write. I close out all but the MS I’m working on. I don’t answer the phone; I let the voice pick it up. I write. There’s no magic to it. It’s a matter of just sitting my butt in the chair and doing it. Just as if I went into the office to work. I take minimal breaks during that time.

Somewhere around 10-10:30, I’ll break. I may walk outside and check on my animals (I raise Great Danes and horses), start a load of clothes, figure out what I want for dinner. If I’m in a good writing groove, I’ll continue writing for another hour. I have chores to do and sometimes errands to run. I work on getting all that done mid-day. I try to nap for an hour, if I can, around 2:30 when I’m home. That way I’m refreshed for when Jake comes home by 4:00 p.m. I tend to wake up a bit out of it, so I need that 30 minutes to get into gear for snacks, homework, chatting, and the evening feedings, starting dinner. My husband is home by 5:30 so we spend time talking about our day while dinner is cooking. After dinner, it’s catching up on secular work issues and I try to get in an hour or two of writing. Depends upon work. I’ve been learning how to juggle editing and new writing. I haven’t won that battle completely, but it is getting easier.

Bottom line for me, if I don’t make the time, then my time gets squandered away and nothing is accomplished. I don’t like that feeling. I also need to be consistent. Most successful writers have to be.

How do you carve out time to write? Some work full time. Some can’t write at home but have a favorite place they can write. Some can only write on weekends, or early morning before the day starts, or late at night when the house is quiet. The point is they have to make the time.

So, what works for you?

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