One of the things about being a writer, especially if you’ve been doing it for a few years, is that you are constantly thinking. Sometimes this is a good thing. It means when there is a problem you should be able to come up with a solution. Sometimes it is a bad thing, because you can also come up with a hundred ways it can all go horribly wrong.
Thinking or considering, is the second step to creating a story, a book, or even a blog post. It is the flexing of the muscle that moves the arm. Observation is the impulse that tells the arm it should move. Writing is completing the task of movement.
Last night, on my way to work, the roads were slick and glossy from rain. The moon was closed off behind a thick blanket of clouds and drops pattered down just fast enough for the windshield wipers to be both necessary and ineffective.
I was just passing the fire station that stands proudly right next door to one of those no tell motels. The kind that has half the letters missing off its sign, has a preference for cash, and rents rooms by the week or by the hour. As I was pondering this odd placement of buildings and keeping an eye on the road, when I saw movement from the median.
There was a man standing in the rain next to the gaurd rail. His feet were hidden by the thick wet grass. He was dressed in a button down shirt, tan pants, and a thin jacket. He didn’t look up. He just stood there looking at his feet.
That was over 9 hours ago. Yet, that moment is still replaying in the back of my mind. My brain keeps asking all these questions I don’t have the answers too. It wants to know why he was standing alone in the rain, in the middle of four lanes of traffic.
Writers observe. They notice things. However, just noticing isn’t enough. You also have to consider what you’ve seen.
So who did I see in the rain? A jilted lover, a guilty spouse, a fire fighter taking a walk before work, or a motel employee? It could have been anyone. Even a private investigator. (Or Jake from State Farm.)
Finally once you’ve considered long enough you have to pour forth words. You have to write. Syllables and letters are like legos used to form the image that is still floating around in your cranium. Verbs are the falling rain. Adjectives are the cold damp seeping through a white button down shirt. Words are a writer’s pallet of rainbowed hues.
Consider what you Observe before you Write. C.O.W