Letters to a Young Writer

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I am a young writer from Australia, and I have struggled to make time when it counted. I really appreciate reading about writing without the page, about writing with your eyes and ears and mouth. I can do that. Perhaps I won't be awakened just before I fall asleep with a fully-formed sentence in my head.

All those things which seem, to a new writer, to be interruptions are the very things that give the word on the page breath. Our children, neighbors, ailing parents, and the scrape and buzz of the larger world give us the grit that makes our stories genuine and worth a reader's time.

A writer can live a surprisingly unexciting life and still produce vivid stories. I too spend a lot of time at home doing repetitive things (nothing like cooking a pot of soup when stuck in a story) and a trip to Publix is often the best travel of the day.

A writer is different from a non-writer in more ways than just chosen poverty. A writer is alive to the world even in its smallest motions. Stories are on display everywhere, even at the grocery store if you pay attention. Embracing the world, at least for me, has done more for me as a writer than cloistering myself away from it and imagining life at a distance.

As a writer who is young at heart, I wholly adopt this advice from Ms. Baggott who corresponded with me once when I was inquiring about the MFA program at FSU and gave me great advice then as well. I am a full time employee of the state of Florida and a writer who has embraced her passion for the written word as her empty nest looms. I have learned to write with everything in me and without ceasing, like prayer.

Recently, I have taken to writing flash fiction via daily and weekly prompts. Like muscle, the practice of writing must be exercised, so I do it all the time, with the hope that it will be ever limber and strong. I am also participating in an online workshop, because going back to school full-time proved prohibitive now that I have one son in college and another going next year. So, the idea of stealing time to write and time to hone my craft in tiny increments everyday, all the time, is a concept I am willing to grasp and not let go.

I really enjoyed reading this and got a lot of food for thought from it. Adrian Fogelin, I also need to thank you for your comment. Stories are indeed on display everywhere, as long as we're paying attention.