When the Timing is Right

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Over the past few years, we have talked about HOW to write, discussing “rules,” trends, methods, etc. We have talked about WHERE to write to be most productive. We have even touched on WHY we write, WHO is called to write, WHAT topics we might write about, WHEN the optimum time of day to write might be.

We have covered a lot of ground.

Although we may have skirted around it a couple of times, at no time do I think we’ve talked about the timeliness of addressing certain topics.

In fact, there are some things that are best if left unsaid. 

While I may feel that I have valid thoughts to share on a number of subjects. (And, believe me, I DO believe in freedom of speech. This is NOT about that.) And even though I might even feel that some people might profit from hearing what I have to say—that some might even welcome my opinions or insight—the timing isn’t always “right.”

For example, an acquaintance of mine passed away this past year. She died from an overdose of prescription medications. Although I had some strong feelings about this subject, the timing would not have been good, if I had shared my thoughts when the minister asked those attending the memorial to come up to the microphone and speak.

Nor, did I feel it appropriate to get on Facebook and articulate my position…

Sometimes, feelings are just too raw, or the unfortunate incident still too fresh in the minds of the audience. Writers need to be mindful of the timing of some of their comments and consider how readers might be affected.

If you write BOOKS, a current event might have lost some of its painful aspects by the time a manuscript has been written, edited, and published. Ideas that were once raw and perhaps not completely thought out, may profit from this lapse of time. They may have germinated…and GROWN into more polished, fruitful, and expanded truths that will benefit a vast audience of readers. In some cases, they may even become movies or get adopted by a non-profit.

The question, then, is not, “Will you say it?”

It is, “When will you say it?”

Your answer may well be the difference between being insensitive and rude or acting as a thought-provoking visionary…a catalyst for change.  

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Mom Loves To Read

People sometimes ask me how I got started writing. I think it really started with reading. I grew up in a home where my mother modeled the love of reading. To this day, she always has a stack of books waiting on the end table next to her rocking chair. Her closets are filled with books—not clothes! If you ask her where she’d most like to go, she’ll quickly answer, “The bookstore!”

In elementary school, I was fortunate to have teachers who took time to read to the class after lunch recess. (A perfect way to calm down a rowdy group after a lively game of tether ball). I looked forward to this time of day, as they read to us about children in other countries, cultures, and time periods. My understanding of the power of the written word to transport and inspire began in those classrooms decades ago.

It shouldn’t surprise you, then, to hear that I grew up to be a teacher and that one of the favorite parts of my day was reading to my own class after lunch. I literally had to force myself to read only one chapter because I could have easily read to my students all afternoon! I could look out at that sea of young faces and tell which ones were also caught up in the story and were equally disappointed when we rejoined the present world and turned toward our math lesson.

When my own children were small, I didn’t have a lot of time for writing, so I wrote short stories, poems, or skits. I guess it was just enough to satisfy my yearning to create. But, I definitely wanted more.

Once I retired, I worked part time as a reading teaching for a few years before I decided to write in earnest. I remember the day I first sat down in front of the computer. I knocked out a lone paragraph. I was devastated to realize I had carved out time for my passion to write, but had no clue what to say!

My husband and I love to go to movies, so it was a natural next step for me to try my hand at screenwriting. I loved the action and I could see in my mind’s eye just what my characters would say and do—how they would interact—it was an exciting time for me. However, I soon learned that without relocating and forming connections in a world of actors, directors, and producers I was going nowhere.

So, that brings me to the present. It is a stimulating time for me because I have found that writing fiction fulfills that inner longing to create and bring to life characters that not only I, but other readers, can enjoy. By the power of the written word, my characters come to life. They live, they breathe, they have a voice.

I live in their world, as much as I do in mine. They become my friends and my constant companions. And, yes, I do still harbor that secret hope that some day they will live for all to see—on the big screen!

Please write and let me know how you started your writing journey.

Brenda