The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs
Recently a writer friend commented on the ordinary setting of my non-fiction story, “An Easter Thank-you,” published in Easter Stories & More by Inscribe Press. The story took place in a Tim Horton’s donut shop. For Canadians, Tim Hortons has been a popular coffee shop since 1964, founded by Tim Horton who also played hockey for the Montreal NHL team. Some may feel differently, but I see Tim’s coffee as an ordinary every day type of coffee suited for the paper cups it is served in. I have many memories of moments at Tim’s or outside of Tim’s sipping on a Tim’s coffee.
Moments are made in the ordinary.
Stories, too, can be made in the ordinary. But sometimes my writing insecurities creep in when I read bios of authors who have travelled extensively, ate bannock with the Inuit in the North West Territories, or sat in prison cells ministering to the incarcerated. When I start comparing my life with others, I see myself as too boring and my life too mundane to write anything anyone would read. A prairie gal in Canada? What experiences do I have that anyone would really care about to read? What experiences do I have to draw from to create an interesting story?
I love this quote by Anne Lamott. (Actually, I just about love everything Anne writes.)
Life lurches and tramps around as we go about our ordinary days. We may wake to see a cat’s marble green eyes or to hear the dragging of garbage cans outside, or to smell our coffee brewing. Each of these tiny moments tell the story of ourselves, too. We have an affectionate (or annoying) cat. Our neighbours are so close we can hear them take out their garbage. And we like to pre-plan by setting the coffee maker the night before. Life, our stories, are in the details.
“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”
Anne Lamott (2007). “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, p.12, Anchor
May you never, ever believe you have a too ordinary life to write.
Know that life and our stories are in the ordinary details that we, as writers, make extraordinary, as Anne Lamont says, by looking closely at life.
And if you ever are in my neighbourhood sometime, let’s grab a coffee at Tim’s so you can tell me your story.
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|Thanks to our awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG! PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton|