By Jim Kuiken
Where do writers get their inspiration from, where do they write ‘from’? As another installment of the Getting To Know You series, I finally know where I write from.
I already told you about my Basics, my Core, what type of writing I do, how I write (and how you can be a writer), how I personally know so much about these subjects…even what the 10 book series is about – book by book. But I haven’t talked about ‘where I write from’.
All writers have places they like to write, or are best able to write at. Some like the outdoors, some like desks, bed, or wherever they feel comfortable writing. That’s not what I’m talking about (I happen to write in my office at the desk – looking out at the trees, deer, foxes, etc…and sometime from my living room chair).
What I’m talking about is where a writer has to be – in their own head – to be able to write. One of the most prolific American writers (and one of my favorites in my earlier years), Louis L’Amour, said he could write in the middle of a busy intersection with his typewriter on his lap. I’ve read many of his books, and in particular, his western books were great reading, but were fictional, and pretty much followed a formula. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading them, and even read some of them several times.
Most writers, however, unless they’re dedicated to cranking out volumes of books as a lucrative career, have more individual styles, and write from various ‘places’, not from an assembly line. Inspirational writers might write from an inspirational place…or they might write from past pains and difficult times that have led them to inspiration to overcome those pains. Comedic writers might be funny people, or they might be using comedy to mask insecurities, unpleasant backgrounds, or a variety of ‘places’. Every writer has a ‘place’ they write from.
I never really knew where I wrote from. For those of you who’ve read some of my blog posts, you might have seen that I actually started writing over 40 years ago…I wrote one chapter (the first chapter of The Making of a Warrior), and then stopped, for those 40 years, and then picked up again right where I stopped, as if I had been writing only yesterday. That’s because it was all still right there – as real in my head as it ever was – and still is.
What kept these books alive in my head, as fresh and clear as the day I had the experiences that the books are taken from? Emotion. The place I write from.
The sad part is that I never realized where that place is. It wasn’t until it all began to overwhelm me, and I (with the help of family, several friends, and my service dog Freedom) fought back from that precipice, and in just the last week while writing the worst chapter of all 10 books…the incident that “broke” Bekker (the main character of the series) – and someone asked me how long it “broke” Bekker for (…over 40 years), and they offered to talk with me about it…that I finally realized where I was writing ‘from’. I thanked them, but said:
“I've had to reflect on how I write what I write...and the time off helped me see it. The reason so many people say that they can actually see and feel what is going on in my writing is because I feel it as I write. I actually see it and relive the events during the writing, so the emotions are transferred to the paper. I realized that when I write this, I write from a place of loss and almost overwhelming sorrow...and from a hard, barely controlled anger - sometimes a bit of humor peeks through, but mostly, in these hard chapters, not.
I need to get this out before I can let that go, or it won't come out the same. In a way it's good that everyone (family) is out of town this week, and I'm here alone with this. Freedom is here to keep me from going too far, and I can still write from this bad place. It doesn't make for good nights, but that's why I need to get this chapter (at least that incident) out and done.”
Because of the nature of my books (military / intelligence field operations and combat, first responders – law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service, and other “service” oriented topics), I will be writing from several different ‘places’, but for now, with this chapter of Bekker’s life, it’s a hard place to write from, but from all the comments I’ve gotten from those who’ve read some of these chapters – it’s definitely worth it. Drop me a line if you’d like to read a sample chapter (or a few), and then you tell me!