Okay, here it is. My absolute best writing advice, and it’s just for you.
1. Notice the world around you.
2. Pay attention.
3. Take notes!
4. Write about it.
That’s it. Really.
If you are anything like me, that’s not enough. I’m the one who always wants more. So, here’s an example or two from the past week to get you started.
Last weekend I was at Silver Dollar City with our family. Seeing a sign for “Science Theater” we decided that was the sort of thing we couldn’t pass up (I know, we’re nerds. Seriously. The kids weren’t even with us.) So, anyway, the guy begins his demonstration and we’re wavering somewhere between, “that’s cool” and “that’s ridiculous.” Suddenly he makes this statement, “Our eyes only allow us to see a fraction of the light that is all around us. We can only process certain wavelengths. So, there are many more colors of light than what we see.” He goes on to talk about the different microwaves and radio waves and other waves that are passing around us, through us, bouncing off of things, all without us being aware that it is happening constantly just in front of us.
Now, this isn’t really knew information for me. I think I learned about most of that in fifth grade science. But, for some reason, his words start waves in my brain. I start thinking and asking questions like, “What if someone could see the other colors? All the colors? What if you could see all those waves? What would that be like? Would that help you in some way, like a superpower? Or would it just make you crazy? Could you maybe turn it on and off?”
So, I missed the rest of what he said, because I was thinking about all these things and my mind was creating a super hero who could see all the different colors and waves and soon he could manipulate them like sending out radio waves of his own somehow or redirecting light waves so that he seemed invisible, that sort of thing.
What I wanted to do was write it all down. If I had been at home, or even had my purse with me, I would have pulled out a notebook or a computer or a smart phone and started typing notes for myself. Then, I would put that into my “book ideas” file for later. You never know when an idea like that is going to come in handy someday.
Here’s one more example for you. Last night, I’m sitting in church listening to a Bible lesson that was very good, by the way. One of the scriptures catches my attention and I flip through my Bible to read it again. Lucky for me, the teacher had passed out a set of notes and I had the scripture right there on paper already. Well, that scripture led to a thought, which led to another scripture and another thought and soon I’m writing all over my paper and I have to dig through my purse for another sheet of paper. Within minutes I have the rough outline of my next book in my hands.
Now, to be honest, it’s a book I have been thinking about for nearly five years now. I had been stuck on what the central theme of the book should be exactly because the first two books in that series had very strong themes that were straight out of scripture and I wanted the next book to be just as good, or better. It wasn’t as though I didn’t have any ideas. Honestly, I had too many! It was just hard to narrow it down to one really good idea and find how it fit with the first two stories. Well, sitting there in class, my brain had solved the problem for me. I wrote it down. I came home and typed it into my computer under “Light series, notes”. It will be there for me when I am ready to write it next month.
So, here’s my challenge for you. Get a notebook and a pencil and keep it handy at all times. Look at the world around you. Pay attention! Then, when you see something that makes you think harder than usual, makes you ask questions or imagine something new, GO WRITE IT DOWN! Then, come back here and tell us all about it if you want to. Better yet, go write your story and then we can all read it!