I wrote my first book report on “Blaze and the Forest Fire,” telling how the boy and his horse saved the day by riding fast to report the fire. My teacher liked the book report, and my enthusiasm about it.
I was disappointed to learn that “Blaze and the Forest Fire,” was the only one of the series available at our school library. For the rest of the year, whenever I needed a book report, I wrote one about a Billy and Blaze adventure that existed only in my imagination and on my notepaper. I recall there were three of them, one about a race Blaze won at the county fair. I always received a good grade on my book reports, and later I wondered if I fooled the teacher, or if she was rewarding creativity.
As I sat down to write this blog, I became curious as to whether Billy and Blaze had survived all these decades. I went to Amazon.com and found there were several books in that series still available for purchase. The next time I visit the Twin Falls, Idaho Library I intend to search for Billy and Blaze.
References about writing are everywhere. I Googled Bible references to writing and on one site I found 63 citations. The first reference to catch my interest was when the Lord got into the writing business, writing the ten commandments with his finger on the tablets of stone for Moses (Exodus 31:18). In Joshua 30:2, the Lord commands Joshua to “write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.”
In Proverbs 3:3 we are encouraged to “let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart.” Good advice then, good advice now. The Psalmist, in Psalm 102:18 looks to those who will follow him when he writes “let this be written for a future generation that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.”
For those of you who are considering picking up a pen/pencil or turning on your computer to write and not sure where you’ll get your ideas, one of the suggestions I offer is that you think about writing a continuation of a story you’ve recently read or a TV series you’ve enjoyed. What is happening next to the characters? With this thought, I find the Greatest Book Ever Written a source for someone looking for something to write. The Bible, as we know, is filled with stories and story possibilities. This source of story ideas offers you an opportunity to not only consider “what happened then?” but may even inspire you to study more of the Bible and related sources. For instance, what happened to the donkey on which Jesus rode on Palm Sunday? Was the innkeeper’s life changed after the birth of Jesus in his stable?
Some individuals I know were bitten by the writing bug as they listened to stories told by older family members and realized those stories should be saved for other family members and future generations. Write them down. Since I am not really “electronically literate”, I carry a small notebook and pen in my purse to catch possible story prompts.
I find that cell phones with cameras offer another way to get started writing. So many photos of people, events, scenery, etc. almost cry out for something to be written about them. Perhaps choosing one photo a week or a month to write something about will trigger your writing desire.
Reminiscing about the lives of your parents or older relatives may also bring stories to mind. I remember working in the fields as a young girl, beside my mother and sister. Potato harvesting has changed drastically through the decades. Workers would pick potatoes from the field and place them in wire baskets and sacks for transport to the cellars for processing. I remember my mother shedding her clothes in the middle of a potato field when a mouse ran up her pant leg. My mother was a shy woman, but she didn’t hesitate to separate herself from the mouse. It could have been a funny story.
Another prompt for deciding to start writing can be an urgent desire on your part to express your opinion about what you read in a newspaper or heard on TV. Letters to the editorial staff of newspapers and magazines are opportunities to write and share your thoughts. I am always thrilled to see my name in print, wherever it is. I remember one time my letter to the editor was published in a local paper and a member of our church read it to friends gathered around him after the service. He had read the letter several times and didn’t connect that I was the person who had written it until his wife carefully pointed out that the “Ruth” was a woman he knew.
Pets can inspire you to write. I’ve enjoyed the company of dogs for most of my life; however, in recent years a stray cat and her kitten have joined my household, and storytelling about their antics fills many of my conversations. I should write these experiences, at least in a journal.
I recently retired (again) as a substitute teacher and found that having students keep a journal is an amazing way to encourage them to think, speak and write. Parents who read their children’s journals may find a rich source of ideas in their kids’ homework.
I’ve retired for the umpteenth time, and I find that I’ve actually “refired”, spending much of my time writing and loving it (most of the time). I’ve self-published two books through Create Space during the past two years, “My Border Collie World”, and “Civilian Women’s Quarters”, and hope to publish “We Gather Together” in the next month.
May the writing bug also bite you and cause you to itch to put your words on paper.
I want to extend a BIG "Thank You" to my guest blogger, Ruth Simerly, for her encouraging, instructive, and sage words. I met Ruth years ago in a small writing group in the valley. Her smile radiates kindness and her eyes twinkle like Christmas tree lights. I love the happy smile on her border collie's face featured in the above book cover.
Please share this guest blog post to those who desire to write or need ideas to jump start or complete their current project.
Happy Reading, & Write on!