|Camping on Lake Isabella, BWCA, August 2010|
If you've looked through this blog, you know by now that I often use my free time to read or to write. Both of those activities are way up at the top on my list of favorite things to do. Here are some other things that I like to squeeze into my free time when I can:
- watching movies
- spending time with friends
- and much more!
You've probably heard the expression "write what you know". I think that's good advice. For one thing, it's easier to write about subjects that you're already familiar with. I've also found, though, that the process of writing is much more enjoyable for me when I'm writing about things that interest me!
For example, several years ago I wrote a short story for middle grade readers, called "Emma and the Bear" (which, so far, remains unpublished). It centers around a girl who is camping and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in Minnesota with her family. I have camped there many times, and think it's a fantastic setting for stories. I have several other BWCA story ideas swirling around in my head, for both picture books and middle grade fiction -- I just need to start getting them down on paper!
I've also found that activities I loved as a child -- climbing trees, playing with teddy bears, riding bikes, etc. -- often make their way into my stories. In fact, the current draft of my fantasy novel begins with the main character, Kyra, climbing a tree... and a teddy bear is a major "character" in the book I sent to publishers last month, "Silly Sally McMally & Sam".
Now that I have kids of my own, their interests sometimes enter my writing as well. Emmalie gets excited about art projects of all kinds, especially drawing and origami. Nick has adored animals all of his life. Ben loves vehicles. So far I've been inspired to write two fun poems about vehicles, and many of my stories have animals in them. I'm sure one day I will incorporate origami into a story, as well!
What are some of your favorite pastimes? Try thinking of ways you could write about those activities... in a story or a poem or a nonfiction article. Any ideas beginning to swirl around in your head? If so, grab a pen and some paper (or your keyboard and computer) and start writing! I'd love to hear what you come up with. :)