Tag Archives: picture

Storytellers Anonymous

On my desktop at work, I have a picture that has been there for the past year. This is what it is:

I think you should be able to enlarge it if you like, if you open in a new tab.

So, whenever I go on break, or I walk away from the desk, or I minimize my browser and anything else I have up on the computer when someone comes by, they see this. I’m always asked a bunch of questions when they notice it: Who is that? What are they doing, where are they going? What is that, a wolf?

The questions and the awe and the “Oh that’s awesome” happened so frequently that I considered for a while about writing a story to go with it, but I hadn’t jumped on it.

It happened last night, too. Someone saw the wallpaper that hadn’t seen it before, and the same thing ensued, but this time I stopped, and I asked her about it instead.

“I imagine that she’s looking off in the distance, they’ve been traveling for a while,” she said.

I could write the story. I could come up with something vast and complex as it is beautiful, a heartfelt prose about the bond between tiger and woman. About a magical trek across whatever lands it takes them to get wherever they need to be. Or, I could let everyone else pick their own imagination about what’s going on in the picture.

What are their minds filled with when they see it? What details stick out the most? Why are the end pieces on the rug glowing, and his necklace? Is that her necklace?

Anything can be a prompt if I want it to. For me, as time goes on, the more prompts I see out in the world. But for others, those who don’t write, or those who maybe don’t have much of a creative outlet, having a picture so vivid and eye-catching can help the wheels turning for no other reason than because they’re trying to make sense of it, figure out what’s going on.

I’ve thought about changing the wallpaper a couple of times. Really, I love it; it’s colorful and inspiring and has a fantastical touch to it, but it’s been a year and change and I wouldn’t mind something different. Then I realized, unless I found something just as captivating, it wasn’t going to generate the same reaction.

And I rather like making minds turn with curiosity.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Finishing Line

Looking through Neil Gaiman’s blog the other day, I stumbled across something that gave me pause. And rightly so, because it was a list of tips for writers. You can view it here: http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/94130974141/maxkirin-neil-gaimans-8-rules-of-writing-a

Though, of all eight tips, this one is the one that spoke to me the most: 

Of everything on that list, finishing things has been the hardest. It had never been an issue for smaller things, the projects that were short stories or little one-shots when I was a kid, but as my imagination kept running wild, I couldn’t get everything out and it sat in my head until I forgot about it.

Anxiety about getting into a new idea is normal. Look at what’s in front of you, see everything you want to get out and write and dig yourself into and not come up for air until it’s finished. Do not be intimidated, or anxious, or worried. Set your fingers on the keys, get the pen in your hand, and go for it. Don’t let it stop you.

Breaks and stopping points are natural. Give yourself a rest. Go back to it after you’ve gone through a block. But always, always look for the end, and put it in there. Finish it. Achieving that, crossing the line and finally having it all done and down somewhere, is one of the most intoxicating feelings you can imagine.

I found something to write last year, and the minute I hit 50,000 words, I stopped, looked back at where I was, and looked at how much I had to go, and just slumped. I made it a massive project. Huge. I still haven’t finished it. I’m barely even to the middle of the first book of three and it’s staring me in the face. Regardless, I intend to finish it. It is one of the most beautiful and well thought out stories I’ve come up with and I owe it to myself.

That’s another thing, owing it to yourself to finish something. It’s like starting a 5k or a marathon and then ducking under the race tape at the sidelines because you’ve told yourself you can’t finish.

You owe it to your story, your wide, wild imagination that never stops running, to finish, to explore, to write more and more until you’ve finished your literary orchestra of creativity.

Finish it. Whatever it is. Short story, novel, script, sonnet, a series of poems about a specific subject… Take your time. Indulge in it. Revel in its beauty and your impossible ability to create elegance in words.

The finish line may not be for another mile or several miles, but it’s there, and you can reach it, no matter what pace you go.

-The Novice Wordsmith