A friend, whom I deem an excellent writer, surprised me when he said that he “bled” each time he had to finish an article. It sapped him of his life force, he said. For that very reason, he steers clear from writing anything unless it is work related. On the other hand, my profession as an editor lets me work with other people’s ideas — shaping and cleaning copy instead of composing from scratch. For this reason, I feel that I am able to write in my spare time: through my blogs, articles on Suite101.com and the occasional Nanowrimo novel every November.
One thing that helps me is journalling. My style is to type it into my computer but sometimes, writing feelings using pen on paper does the trick. I remember a writing exercise I learned years ago, long before blogging existed. I closed my eyes and tuned in to what I could hear. I took them all in for about five minutes, paying attention to every sound vibration: the engine of a car sputtering as it negotiated the steep incline of road outside our house. The rustle of the coconut tree leaves outside my window. The tapping of paws on a tin roof, which I knew belonged to “dat cog” — a rare breed of stray feline that we thought looked like a dog which lived on our neighbour’s roof. The rise and fall of voices — the yaya (housemaid) and the labandera (washing lady) — as they went about their chores. After the five minutes was up, I wrote down everything I heard, and amazed myself with the stories that emerged from a few random noises.
Close your eyes, and pay attention. Then allow the story to unfold at your fingertips.