Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nurturing The Writing Life

I have a new favorite writing book. It is From The Inside Out...discover, create, and publish the novel in you! by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. They have a website called My Book Therapy which is a fabulous tool for writers. I got this book in October and it really helped me get my NaNoWriMo project off to a great start.

There is so much to share about this book, but something that really struck me was on page 4, the Four Keys to a Writer's Life.

Writing is much like every other discipline. It takes commitment. After all, as much as we'd like it to happen, those books don't just download from our brains automatically! It takes nurturing. Did you know that your brain has a well of words for each day, and you need to replenish those words after you use them? It takes time (something we're going to figure out how to get!), and it takes a game plan.

I was drawn to the Key of Nurturing and what that entails. Here are three ways to nurture your writing life:

  • Spiritual Nourishment: Warren says that writing is a spiritual event. "You are connecting on a thematic level with your reader, and that happens in the spiritual realm." We need to make a habit of spending time with God, whether it is through His Word, or through a devotional book. Whatever feeds us spiritually and inspires us is what we need to be immersing in.
  • Research: We need to make sure we know what is going on in the world. "Technology. Medicine. Trends...Know what's happening in culture and politics. Read biographies, current, and past - you'll be inspired with new story ideas...To communicate to our world, you need to understand it."
  • Read Up: You need read great writing. Read the Word. Read poetry. Read in your genre. Study books you love and figure out what it is that makes you love them.  "Feeding your mind and your soul will give you the materials you can draw from as you create."
From the Inside Out is especially good for beginning writers, or writers who need a little organization. What I loved most about it was the questions it asked to help you structure your novel and create a great plot with goals and motivations. There are pages you can copy and fill out for those who like a hands on approach. 

It speaks to the writer and his/her writing life and helps to draw out the stories deep within. Check it out! You will love it!



Keli Gwyn said...

This sounds like a great tool, Sherrinda, filled with plenty of helpful ideas. The one I saw above that grabbed me was, "Study books you love and figure out what it is that makes you love them." I do that all the time with books as well as movies.

I ask myself questions as I read or watch. Am I drawn to the characters? If so, why? Is the dialogue snappy? What techniques did the writer use to achieve that? Does the book have a page-turning plot? How did the use of chapter hooks and end-of-chapter read-on prompts play into that?

From what you've shared, it sounds like the book offers information on both writing craft as well as the writing life. Would you say that's true?

Sarah Forgrave said...

I hadn't heard about this book, Sherrinda. Thanks for sharing! It just may have to go on my Christmas wish list. :)

Beth K. Vogt said...

I bought my copy of Inside . . . Out after attending the 2010 Storycrafters retreat. It, and the workbook, are dog-eared and marked up. I'll have to retire this copy soon and replace it with a fresh copy. I consider it a must-read for writers, wherever they are along the writing road!

Katie Ganshert said...

Sounds awesome! I really like the spiritual nourishment one.

Julia M. Reffner said...

I put this one on my Christmas list, so I'm so glad to hear it is a new favorite for you. Someone else recommended it, I'm thinking Casey, maybe?

The spiritual nourishment one is so big for me. I know the more time I am spending with God the more it outflows in my writing just as it does in the rest of my life.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Keli, I would say that it addresses the mechanics of writing more than the writing life. In the beginning it talks about the writer's life and if very motivational, but the rest of it is a detailed guide to draw out the best story possible.

Sarah, it would make a great Christmas present! I love writing books and this one is really practical.

Beth, I can imagine that my copy will be just like yours in the future! It really is a great tool and I probably should stock up on several copies myself!

Katie, I think sometimes I forget the spiritual aspect of writing. I know I shouldn't, but day-to-day life gets in the way and I breeze through my devos without really grasping the significance of God's word to me. Sad, huh?

Julia, I wanna be more like you! Seriously, sometimes I get so out of focus, it is scary! You definitely would love this book!

Patti Lacy said...

Wow, sounds like a great book! Saw this post on Facebook thanks to the great T. Anne!

Blessings, dear one. I miss you!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Patti, what's it doing on FB? How strange! And I'm so sorry I haven't been reading my blogs like I should. I've been out of town and had activities every night lately. It has been all I can do to survive day to day. Not unlike the rest of the world this time of year! Forgive me?

Meghan S. said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'd never heard of it before, but now it's on my wishlist :)

Angie Dicken said...

Awesome! If only I would pick up books like this more often!

Heather Sunseri said...

That sounds like a fantastic book. I took a class with the two of them at ACFW. Very good! Inspired me!