On Writing: Doing Something New


Okay, so I have to admit that I don’t want this blog to be all serious-all spiritual-all the time.  Nor does it seem appropriate to use this space to thrash about every exasperating thought (trust me, there are a lot of them) that runs through my head–that’s what Facebook is for–*sigh*.

However I do see this blog site as a place to be open and honest about ideas and experiences, and so it seemed to me to be a good thing to actually talk about the craft of writing and create a category for On Writing.

As this summer has been a hairy season with too much going on, I haven’t had any adequate time to write.  Truth be told this last spring I started writing another book, but that became sidelined faster than a Mariner’s pitcher in order to learn some lessons that God was working to hammer home–namely, learning how to rest in Him.  It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing at all, but rather working on some different kinds of projects and I thought it might be fun to share what, exactly, I am working on–which are short stories.

Short stories have never really been my thing.  I’ve written a few in the past and submitted them to magazines for publication, and received some complimentary rejections in return.  And truth be told I’ve never given the craft of the short story any real consideration…that is until I discovered the work of Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories); she wrote all of these tales based on popular fairy tales that we all know.  Should you choose to read her work, then reader beware because almost every story is charged with desire (I just don’t want anyone to trust what I read and become offended; I’m omnivorous and I’ll read most anything so long as it is written well).  And with all of that aside, what I discovered was an abundant tide of prose that swept me like nothing I’ve ever read.  I honestly didn’t know that anyone could ever write anything so raw and yet so beautiful at the same time–her descriptions are so flavorful, I could almost taste them on my tongue.

This gave me tremendous encouragement to realize that good writing doesn’t have to be novel-length and I felt that it could be a great exercise to rise to the challenge.  So I decided to write a story based on “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Hans Christian Anderson, and it’s been going really well.  Since I know how the story flows, it was just a matter of creating a unique setting and allowing the characters to play within the parameters set for them.  It’s been tremendously freeing to allow my creativity to be as purple with the prose as it wants to be.  And when it’s finished, I’ll throw it up on Amazon as a single or something.  But of course I’ll let you all know about it too.

All of this is to say that writing is never straight forward.  It’s messy.  There are starts and stops.  There’s pushing through.  And sometimes there’s cutting a project loose that simply won’t work.  I know myself well enough that I love being organized when I tackle a project, and it’s given me a tremendous leg up with large writing projects.  Yet there’s also acknowledging that writing can be about creating art, and so there is a part of the process that is about letting go.  Each project is unique and it’s important to let that happen.  It’s doing something new.

I look forward to talking about the process of writing in future posts, including incorporating some of the more concrete tips and exercises that I do to help the juices get flowing.  See you then!


Categories: On Writing | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “On Writing: Doing Something New

  1. Hey Doug… So great to read your thoughts and to hear you’re still writing. I can relate to your comments about getting sidelined. It’s been such a hard season, I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t ever have a new idea.

    Life is full of so much and I’ve needed time to let it shake loose. Do you read Neil Gaiman?

    Talk to you soon.


    • Thanks Tina. It’s hard to get the engine going sometimes. I know you’ve had those issues too; it’s the writer’s dilemma. Those sneaky ideas always hit when we’re not looking for them.

      And thank you for the recommendation about Neil Gaiman–you know, I’ve actually never read anything of his? *gasp*

      I appreciate the comments and I hope your writing is going well!

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