If you’re like me, you’re a dreamer. We dream up all sorts of plots and twists and happily ever afters, most of which hopefully make it from our heads to the paper. But how do we do it? Other people (nonwriters — or Civilians, as Eva Shaw calls them) marvel at how we come up with all this stuff. Sometimes I do too. But mostly I wonder… how can we not?
So. How are our stories born? I have a theory: LIFE.
When the story line and title for Broken Wings, Soaring Hearts popped into my head, I was sitting at the beach having some quiet time and an airplane flew way high above my head. It was just a shiny speck of silver in a cloudless sky, but I watched it until the last of its white trail was gone. I wondered about the passengers. And the people who worked on the plane to make sure it stayed in the air safely. Then I thought about the families of the people working on the planes. And the pilots. How did their loved ones feel about them flying so much? (I also wondered if the ice cream man was gonna drive by my little stretch of beach, but that’s a whole other story for when we’re addressing my ADD.) The point is, my quiet time suddenly turned into a brain storm session and pages in the back of my prayer journal became the outline for Hailey and Jack’s journey. I didn’t sit down expecting a story to materialize. I was just doing Life.
There were a lot of transformations along the way to publication, but this one simple little Life moment became my first published book. It was one of those moments when I felt like I was being who I was supposed to be. No drum rolls. No fanfare. Just living. I did eventually settle down and get back to my quiet time and an ice cream sandwich, but with a story I wanted to share. Look at your own family and friends. There have to be hundreds of budding stories there alone. The way your mom and dad met. The way your sister or best friend or aunt battled obstacles and yet still found and fell in love with her hero. The guy on his cell phone pumping gas next to you having an argument with his girlfriend. As writer’s we can’t let the most unassuming of miniature Life moments escape our notice. It’s everywhere, good, bad, ugly, fun, scary… and romantic.
If I hadn’t looked up when I heard the roar of a plane above my head, I’d have let the opportunity for a story I fell in love with slip right through my fingers. Look up, look down, look all around. Let’s keep grabbing some Life and writing about it.