Writing 101

Just wrapping up the day at my favorite hangout, Firestorm.  I’m at my favorite table — the one in the back corner — and I’m checking emails before I head out into the night.

Got a bunch of emails, but one really made me stop and think for a season.  Rick Bowers, Managing Member of Asheville Hot Air Ballons, has a project in mind.  He’s working on a book that will discuss life lessons learned from ballooning.

I think it’s a neat concept.  From my own recent trip into the atmosphere, I was able to experience for a slice of time the magic of ballooning that Rick and the rest of the team experience every day.  I was also able to discover a wealth of spiritual lessons that will probably take me a lifetime to assimilate into this ol’ boys daily patterns.

Rick wanted to know how does a writer write.  How does a person get the idea and concept from the brain to the paper.  Good question.  And I’ve got the answer.  So grab a piece of paper and a piece of pencil and copy this answer down.  The answer?

I have absolutely no idea how a writer writes.

I know what I do, but I wouldn’t call myself a writer.  Calling me a writer is like calling my buddy Ted a chef simply because he knows how to boil water.

For me the writing process starts with an idea.  Usually it’s an idea that has gotten under my skin and I can’t shake it until I’ve put it on paper.

Once I’ve got the idea, I start writing.  I don’t worry about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling or any of the other things I was “taught” about writing in Mrs. Johnson’s fourth grade class at Ashwood Elementary in Healing Springs, VA.

Nope — I just start writing.  I let the words come of their own accord into the point of the pencil, or in this case, through my fingertips into the keyboard of a computer.

I don’t try to censor my writing or worry about who may or may not ready it.  I just write.  I don’t know how it works — I just do it.  Sometimes it comes out ok…more often than not it doesn’t.  But I keep writing.

My ol’ man told me one time that if we give a monkey a typewriter and enough time, then eventually even the monkey will write Shakespeare.  I think my ol’ man was right.  Give this monkey (me) a keyboard and enough time, I’ll come up with something to say and who knows — maybe it’ll even be readable.

So Rick — keep this quote from Sulvia Plath in mind as you set down to write the volume that will change lives, touch hearts and turn corporate America around.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

~Sylvia Plath

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