A line from a book I read this morning caught my eye. It said, "in all things seek simplicity." My initial thoughts revolved around applying this concept to my life; not buying and filling my home with lots of unnecessary "stuff," having dinner at home each night with my family, taking time to enjoy my garden...
But then I also realized this is a great mantra for writers.
In all things seek simplicity
As the director of Northern Colorado Writers, I get lots of questions and comments from people that can be answered with one simple phrase: Just Write.
I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have no idea how to get started.
I started a novel and I am not sure where the story is going.
I have this great story idea about this boy who has this dream....
Think about it. It really is that simple. To be a successful writer you just have to write. Every bestselling author and award winning journalist does exactly that--they write. There is no other way around it.
I also thought about how to apply this idea to our actual writing. For the most part, it is good to remember that simple is better. I think this is especially true when it comes to description. At times, we can go a little overboard and try to fit in as much as we can. All in the name of helping the reader recreate the picture we have in our mind. For example:
"Thirteen-year-old Mackenzie's brown, curly, shoulder-length hair, framed her oval face, showing the intensity of her green eyes as she frantically searched through her 12"x12" blue and white striped nylon school bag."
Is it really necessary to have all this description? Does it really matter if the reader pictures a purple bag instead of a blue and white striped one? How about just saying, Mackenzie ransacked her school bag.
Stephen King, in his memoir, On Writing, says this: "The key to good description begins with clear seeing and ends with clear writing, the kind of writing that employs fresh images and simple vocabulary."
Basically, In all things seek simplicity
I know first hand the life of a writer has challenges. I am not here to dispute that. But I wonder if we make the problems bigger and more complicated than they really are. If we go back to the mantra, I bet we can find simple solutions.
The plot to my story is boring--Let go of the excess and in order to get to the to core of the story
An editor has not responded to a query I sent two months ago--Call to check on the status.
My life is too busy now to write-Find one thing you can let go of in order to have time to write
So what can you do to simplify your writing or your life as a writer?