Six years ago a friend was planning a Valentine's concert. And she told me, "Leanne, I want you to participate. I want you to read something you've written."
Flattered, I wrote a short story that I thought would be suitable and shared it with my friend.
She said, "Not good enough." Because friends can say that. "Not good enough. It's not romantic. I want you to write a romantic poem. It's Valentines."
"But I don't write romance," I told her.
"Aren't you married?"
"Well, what's the problem then?"
"But I'm not a poe--" The look she gave me convinced me not to finish that sentence. Instead I went home, clicked my pen and started to write. But everything I wrote was crap. I needed help. A search engine directed me to this page about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's How Do I Love Thee. I learnt that, inspired by her love for her husband, she wrote that poem and an entire book. Well, I figured, if her husband got a book my husband deserves at least a poem. Twenty minutes later I finished writing. I called my friend and read her my poem.
"It's just the first draft," I explained. "I can improve it."
She used the same tone loan sharks and bank robbers use. "Don't you change a word," she told me.
This is what I read on stage at the Agricultural Society Hall, on Mayne Island, six years ago...
-It's good to stretch your writing muscles by trying your hand at a new genre -- even one that intimidates you.
-When stuck, look to a master for help.
-Seek inspiration from someone you love.
Last week, I climbed a steep hill and slid down into a bed of daffodils. Or at least that's what it felt like. I was presented with an opportunity. Capitalizing on this opportunity meant digging in and working hard. Editing -- lots and lots of editing. That was the steep climb part.
Some writers don't like to self-edit. I love it, because it teaches me to write better and to know what this better writing looks like.
During the latter part of last week, I worked on my WIP. And I found that as I worked a type of magic began to happen. The perfect word seemed to fall out of the sky onto the page. The plot drove on, without me. I was merely the secretary -- taking dictation, as I was captivated by the story. That was the bed of daffodils part.
And next week? Who knows what that holds...?