The Way of a Writer
The wind is blowing and the sky is clear, except for a wispy cloud stretched out above the Spring Mountains. And here I am sitting in my office…well, the corner booth at our local Carl’s Jr., where I can normally be found on any given day. Thankfully I have the franchise owners blessing. I am enjoying the 70 degree day vicariously…through a glass window! That is the way of a writer, the discipline of time!
I do get out to the desert and hike in the mountains several days a week. That too is part of my life as a writer. Hiking and climbing keeps me healthy in body and mind. That is important. I write in the early morning (two to three hours), head to the desert in the late morning (exercise for body and mind), and by mid-afternoon I am back for a couple more hours of writing.
There is a further benefit to getting out to the desert to hike and mountain climb. The beauty and intricacies of the desert stimulate my imagination. “The what of the desert?”
The desert has its own unique beauty, especially this part of the Mojave, with a broad variety of cacti, numerous wildflowers (at the right time of year), a multiplicity of desert plants, fascinating rock formations, an array of intriguing caves, derelict ghost mines, as well as interesting animals. There are wild mustangs and donkeys, a variety of lizards, roadrunners and cactus wrens, tortoises, rattlesnakes, and more. The Mojave Desert is a fantasy writer’s paradise…well, THIS fantasy writer’s paradise. However, fantasy is not all I write. I have written some non-fiction (The God Question and Mentoring Men in Ministry), a little poetry (published in magazines and anthologies), and a range of fiction works (Imagine Christmas, The Droll Child, Son of Cain, and Wanzalara’s Cottage).
The settings of The Droll Child and Son of Cain were informed by the desert lands of the Southwest, and the influence of the desert can also be found in Unlikely Heroes, The Princes and the Orc, The Wayhouse at Weedle Incidents, and Once Upon a Knight. Of course, there are other influences on the settings as well. Life in the Pacific Northwest; my Army years in Alaska; visiting England, Ireland and Wales; growing up in the Midwest; and visiting 45 of the fifty states have all impacted my story environs as well. One’s stories are shaped by a whole plethora of places and experiences. They are shaped as well by the writer’s reading. Do you have dreams of being a writer? Be a reader, and read broadly, not just your favorite genre.
For me, writing is also a spilling of my soul. I have a friend who writes outside of who he is, or at least outside of how he generally presents himself. He would personally never use vulgar language. He does in his stories. And his stories are not consistent with his worldview. He says you have to write that way if you want to be a successful author. On that basis being a “successful” author is not my goal. Being a writer true to who I am is essential, success or no success. In my way of looking at things, 100 people reading one of my books and taking something worthwhile away from it is far better than 10,000 people reading a book simply to put $$$ in my pocket, while knowing I am feeding them garbage. My life goal is pleasing Christ and reflecting Him well through my life and writing. If I have not succeeded in that then no matter how many books I sell, I have failed. That is the way of a writer who is committed to Christ…well, at least the way of this writer.
What are your thoughts on writing and being true to your worldview? I am not talking about preaching. I am referring to good stories that do not compromise who you are not only as a writer but as a person, as a Christian. Would love to hear from you.