June 3, 2019

Monday, June 3




Today marks the beginning of this blog for writers  and for readers. The germ of it began during a conversation at a Candlelight writing workshop at the River Bend Book Shop in Glastonbury, Connecticut in May, 2019; participants expressed concerns that, once the workshop ended, they might struggle to continue writing. No deadlines! No threatening teacher breathing down their necks! No peer pressure!


The goal of this blog, then, will be threefold:

A. To inspire
B. To motivate
C. To provide specific prompts. And a deadline. Deadlines are superb motivators. Respect them, and you’ll get the writing done.


Let’s start at the beginning. There are no rules. You may sit. You may stand. You may take pen to paper. You may type on a computer. Or a typewriter. You may write in a noisy coffee shop. You may compose in the quiet corners of a library. 

Or a space in your house. 

Just remember, a space in your house gives screaming strength to voices insisting you empty the dishwasher, do the laundry, make the beds, mow the lawn, go grocery shopping, call your mother, text your kids, make a cup of tea, and take a nap. If you are able to ignore them, onward! If not, get out of the house. Fast.


Unless you have a deadline. In that case, you will probably create anywhere. 


Make time for your writing. Make A TIME for your writing. Perhaps it will be at 5 a.m., before you head out to work in the morning. Perhaps it will be at 8 p.m., after dinner, before bedtime. Turn your back on the TV and write. All of us here in Candlelightland will be cheering you on. 


Continuity is important. Writing is a job. Treat it like a job. Show up, on time, ready to go. 


OK, for today: to get going, think of the five senses: Sight, sound, smell, hearing, touch. 


Now think, for this week’s prompt, of onomatopoeia. A word that creates a sound that imitates the thing described. Buzz. Meow. Splash. Whinny. Murmur. Roar. Drip. Crash. Whisper. 


Such words give life to writing. Using the senses smacks us right into a scene. With onomatopoeia, we hear what is happening. We are there with you. 


Write four paragraphs about an animal – that’s it, just four – using onomatopoeic words. You can write about your dog crashing into your glass sliding door as it salivates at the sight of a squirrel, about the hulking bear that crept up behind you in your backyard one day while you were gardening, about the deer that is slipping through the morning mists of your garden, chomping away on your hostas. Think about strong, onomatopoeic verbs. Think the same about adjectives. Avoid adverbs unless they are absolutely necessary and unabashedly spectacular. 


Next Monday, check in to the blog, read your work aloud to the room you are in – wherever you are – and know that you are heard. Or if you were in my class – or will be in my class in June, send it to me!


And keep writing!