Writing by Heart

The other day, a friend asked me what kind of writing I liked best. What kind of writing, she asked, brought me the most enjoyment and satisfaction? I didn’t have to think about that for long because, although I’ve done many different kinds of writing projects, I always come back to “writing by heart”. Both The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek are excellent examples of what I call “writing by heart.” Each story starts with a memory, sometimes even a fragment of a memory, and grows as I take the imagined journey back in time to the place and people involved. It is the emotion of the memory that drives me onward in my writing.

Sometimes, (I am so fortunate to have great siblings) I’ll ask one of my sisters or brothers how she or he remembers an event I am writing, or planning to write, about. This, almost always, turns out to be quite an eye opener! If you have ever compared family history with a sibling, you know that no two people experience an event in the same way. This is what happens for my siblings and me, but, oh, how it helps to have the added data! I use every tidbit of information I receive to flesh out the spirit, heart and soul of the characters, times and places in the stories I write!

Of course, I ask myself all the basic questions every writer asks when beginning to write a new project. What do I see? What do I hear? What do I smell? What do I taste? What do I feel? This last question is the one that tells me when I’m on the right track, if I’m actually getting to the core of the remembrance. How do I feel—or restated—how does this memory stir my spirit, fill my emotions and touch my soul guides me on my writing journey.

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