Writing Down the Bones

While on sabbatical in Darby, Montana to complete The Business of Being, I wrote like a fiend during the day, and read until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer at night.

During a walk with Willa near the river, we happened upon a skeleton—most likely that of a mule deer. It immediately brought to mind Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.”

In her book, Goldberg addresses the importance of reading. Writers read for the sheer joy of it, but also to ignite our imaginations. We read to gain insight on storytelling; to ponder concepts, ideas, and issues outside our sphere of knowledge; to learn new approaches and techniques for narration, plots, and scenes—each necessary for “writing down the bones.”

Goldberg said, “Writing practice is no different from other forms of Zen practice.” I would add that—for me, at least—reading is the same. It’s a practice; one I adhere to daily.

What book are you currently reading?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Going the Distance

To get to a large grocery store, a gas station with un-inflated prices, or to pick up a pizza (not from a cafe that incidentally offers pizza), I drive 17 miles to a neighboring town. It boasts a population of 4,348—six times the size of the undisclosed location where I’m enjoying my sabbatical. The drive is gorgeous!

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Hint #11 — Lewis and Clark most likely saw this view when they were blazing a trail through this neck of the woods.

When I arrived with an already-started manuscript, I calculated how many words I’d need to write each day to go the distance; to complete it in three months. It requires 1,000 words per day, not counting Tuesdays, or two short visits from Len when we goof off the entire time.

For many people, writing 1,000 words per day is child’s play. Not for me. Even in a near-hermit existence with solitude as my companion, 1,000 words per day—that aren’t gobbledegook—is quite an undertaking, but I’m going the distance.

What is your most recent “going the distance” experience?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Logging and Writing

Not exclusive to screenplays, many writers create loglines to succinctly answer the question, “What’s your screenplay about?” or “Tell me a little bit about your book.”

Similar to an “elevator pitch,” a logline is a one or two sentence description of the story you want to convey to your audience or readers. For example, here’s the logline for the movie, Titanic:

A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea.

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Hint #10 — Logging is a BIG deal in my undisclosed sabbatical location. In fact, it’s celebrated here!

I’m currently working on the logline for my next book, The Business of Being. Subject to change, here’s what I’ve got so far:

This book isn’t about being in business; it’s about the business of being. Spotlighting the intersection of corporate core values and personal virtues, The Business of Being helps you thrive in business and life.

If your life were a book, what would the logline be?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

The Way I Roll

I recently received an email from someone telling me how lucky I am that “everything” I submit gets published. Quick to clear that misconception, I responded that for every article or essay of mine that gets accepted, I receive at least a dozen rejections. Here’s a photo of the most recent:

In an email conversation with my cousin, he made an observation that made me smile. He said, “It’s funny how the harder we work, the luckier we get.” 

I could easily pack up my marbles and go home at rejection. Or I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again—that’s the way I roll.

How do you respond to rejection?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Le Plume

I just attended the ever-phenomenal Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. When not hosting a session, I made a point of meeting people. A diverse group, I’m confident that every literary genre was represented at this heavily-attended event.

One of the things that all of the attendees had in common is their interest in writing. Another similarity is their love of writing implements! I saw pens from:

  • disposable to incredibly expensive
  • ballpoint to roller ball, gel, and fountain
  • retractable to cap-top
UW-Madison's 27th Annual Writers' Institute

UW-Madison’s 27th Annual Writers’ Institute

I saw two left-handed pens (not kidding), and one pen that wrote with an antiqued brown (think sepia tone) inkAmazingly, one author/speaker, Bradley Beaulieu, did his book signing in calligraphy!

My favorite is the Jetstream pen made by uni-ball. Simple, I like its retractable style and the quick-drying ink leaves a smooth writing line. I’d go to the mat for my pen!

Do you have a favorite pen?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Unleashed Imagination

Artists come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and age groups. They’re creative people who produce art: photographers, potters, painters, actors, chefs, fashion designers, writers, singers, illustrators, sculptors, musicians, and the list goes on…

Last year when I applied for a writer’s residency, I was asked for my artist statement. What?! I’d never given it a moment’s thought. They wanted to know the why behind my writing. So I got busy and crafted one:

Artist Statement — Laurie Buchanan

Writing to me, is what an empty box is to a child—a key that unlocks the imagination, transforming empty space into a race car or stage coach, fort or castle, spaceship or submarine. For me a blank page is transportation to a world of my own, one where anything is possible.

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Early on, the process of painting word pictures struck me as magical. Over the years that spellbinding practice led me from writing lyrics, to magazine articles, blogging, short stories, and finally to writing books.

A vehicle for transforming inner vision to outer reality, writing fills me with a sense of completion. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing my muse—brevity, concision—my unconscious is the one who holds the reins.

Never without a notebook or laptop, the concrete nature of writing—pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard—frees my imagination and provides opportunity for serendipity and grace to influence the finished product.

I didn’t set out to become a writing alchemist—an author whose words affect positive change—but as my portfolio developed and my reading audience grew, that description emerged.

One of the most wondrous aspects of writing is that each reader enjoys a different takeaway from the same word picture—therein lies the magic.

 

Have you had to craft an artist statement, mission statement, or perhaps a life statement?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie

I’ve Got a Secret

Something exciting is happening in my world.
I’m not going to share it with you.
Just yet.
But I will.
Soon!

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The reason for this excitement was a catalyst for reaching out to other writers — published women authors — with a request. Without exception, this network of friends stepped up to the plate and embraced my request with yes, Yes, YES! Their glowing support has me bursting at the seams.

Like fizz in champagne, do you have something — secret or otherwise — that has you bubbling with excitement?

Psssst, if you’re one of the authors who’s stepped up to the plate, mum’s the word…

© Laurie Buchanan

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