I almost forgot to read chapter three of On Being a Writer this week. This chapter is called Surround, but quite honestly, I haven’t really worked on arranging my writing life to where I can write on a consistent basis. I try to have a quiet time for Bible study first thing in the morning. I need to find a time for writing. I wonder if right after my Bible study would work, or if I should find a different time. We’re going to be rearranging the computers and dining rooms in the next few days, so I wonder if I can make a space for me to write.
Alright. On to surround. This chapter talks about how a writer needs to surround herself with input and ideas that will feed creativity. One of the authors likes to visit an art museum, and the other reads a wide variety of books. The idea is that you will surround yourself with things you love and it will inspire you and you will write about your passions.
Which brings up another point. I’ve heard it said before that you should write about what you know. One of the authors mentioned an essay by Ben Yagoda called “Should we write what we know?” in which he mentions that it’s possible to research and learn what it is you want to write about. That you want to be so fully involved and in love with your subject that the passion spills over into your writing.
The exercises at the end of this chapter ask you to evaluate what you are surrounding yourself with and to think about what you could change. If you want to write about art museums, you don’t read books about car mechanics. I’m not immediately sure what I could change, with the exception of my use of social media. I’m on Facebook way too much. Twitter is where I’ve met most of my author friends. Tumblr is okay. Pinterest is a great place to gather ideas. But overall, I just spend too much time online.
I’m not sure what the exact changes I need to make are, but if I want to continue to write and write well, I need to change something.
We’re also supposed to have a short essay on who our favorite authors are and how their work has influenced our lives. For myself, I would have to say C.S. Lewis is probably the most influential to me, because of the Chronicles of Narnia. That was my introduction to fiction and classical literature. I have never forgotten the stories of Aslan and Puddleglum, Eustace and Reepicheep. The imagery Mr. Lewis painted was and remains some of the most vivid pictures I’ve ever read and imagined.
But I’ve also been influenced by the writing of Max Lucado, specifically his earlier works, such as God Came Near. One of the chapters in that book is simply questions for Mary. When I read that chapter as a young lady, and realized that I could simply asks questions and still make a point, my writing style changed. The short essay style chapters are similar to the style of this blog.
To make a long story short, I need to surround myself with things that will inspire me as well as arrange my life and space to make my writing time more consistent.
In other words, I need to sit down with my husband and tell him everything I’m learning, and ask for his suggestions and help.