Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Magic of Writing


Scott D. Parker

Inspiration comes from anywhere. We all know that. It's a question we writers get when asked "Where do you get your ideas?". All over, really, and you have to be open about inspiration and recognize it for what it is.

I got inspired this week, a day or two after last week's post lamenting my poor writing year. And it came from the most unlikely source: my boy. I don't talk about my family much on these public sites because, frankly, I'm here as a writer and blogger, not to share cutesy stories about the home life. But I have to share this one.

My son writes stories. He makes them up using either original characters or trademarked characters he likes. Scooby Doo is The Thing nowadays. Wonder if Santa knows about that...? Anyway, when he sits down to author one of his stories, he writes with feverish abandon. Usually, he'll get a few pieces of paper, fold them, staple them together, and proceed to write. He titles them, puts his by line down--and gives himself credit for the illustrations, too--and goes to town.

The other night, I walked down the darkened hallway and saw the sliver of light from under his door. I peeked in and saw him sitting up in bed, pencil in hand, writing away. It wasn't ten o'clock yet, but it was late for him. I asked him what he was writing and he told me: the new Scooby Doo adventure. I told him it was time for bed but he said he needed to finish the chapter. I grinned, patted him on the back, and let him finish. The entire time we talked, he didn't stop writing.

I stood there, outside his doorway, in the dark, the only light coming from under his door, and chuckled to myself. He was writing for love, not this structured writerly life we adults construct. He was writing for joy.

Just about every classic Christmas movie has a common theme: we adults have forgotten the magic of Christmas. Take "Elf" for example: belief in the idea of Santa enables the sleigh to fly. I couldn't help but wonder if we writers sometimes forget the magic of writing when we're lost in the Valley of Writer's Block or mired in a seventh edit. Yes, there are aspects of writing that can be drudgery. But there is also that special magic that only writing brings. Like Tim Allen in "The Santa Clause" when he finally remembers he's supposed to be Santa, my son reminded me about the magic of writing this week. Time to let the magic fly.

*** A Reminder ***

Starting tomorrow and running through Sunday, 3 January 2011, we are hosting the Do Some Damage Christmas Noir Flash Fiction Challenge. We will be posting the stories some of our readers sent us as well as a goodly sprinkling from us as well. And don't forget the FREE STUFF! Every contributor and commenter enters a drawing for FREE STUFF (i.e., books)! I'm looking forward to Bryon's story tomorrow and for some great seasonal stories. Our regular rotation begins again with Steve Weddle on Monday, 4 January.

On behalf of all of us here at Do Some Damage, we thank you for reading, participating, and the camaraderie during 2010. It’s been a blast and 2011 will be even better.


pattinase (abbott) said...

My grandson, 4, does the same thing but verbally. If you give him a basket of objects, he will make up a story about them. Thus stones become dragon teeth that he found in the jungle. Isn't it great to watch this happen.
And thank you all for a place to stop off every day.

Anonymous said...

Great post Scott. I like what Picasso said when he was asked why he was always working, he said because he wanted to be at work when inspiration struck.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic reminder to write for joy. Found you through May Contain Nuts. Maybe I'll send you my flash fiction.

Scott D. Parker said...

Patti - It's great to have kids and grandkids to remind everyone some constant truth every day even when words don't often flow.

Richard - Man! I hadn't heard that quote. And he's my favorite artist. Thanks for the reminder.

Marley - Glad you stopped by. Stay for awhile and join the conversation.