What We Pass Down

Last night I told my daughters a story. It was about a boy who found a secret door in a bookstore which led to a world where he was small and everything else enormous. His name was Errol and he escaped a hawk then grew hungry as he could not find his way home. After help from some plucky squirrels, he made it back to the door, hidden in the knot of an evergreen tree.

My daughters loved it and begged for another but it was time for bed. I closed the door and walked away with a smile.

As a writer I love to create stories. But I love sharing them infinitely more and getting a reaction. I know my children look past the story’s inconsistencies – like why don’t more children disappear through the secret passage? And, wouldn’t the police get suspicious and arrest the bookstore owner and close the whole thing down? What about time paradoxes and the like? Legitimate questions. But not in this world of stories. I don’t want to focus on boring realities. We’re after wonder here.

I want to pass on wonder and longing and truth. To give them something to chase, things deep and moving and noble. Fiction is real life dressed up in story. This is what I want to share.

What do you hope to pass on to your readers? I hope it’s not just a book to cover your mortgage.

I hope it’s wondrous, whatever it is.



Every Writer Needs A Vacation

As you are aware I did not blog last week. It was fiscal year end at work. My two daughters had birthdays and family and friends came into town to help celebrate. Also, my wife’s birthday is today. Needless to say it was a busy week. Through it all I barely wrote, and it was the best decision I could have ever made.

So, here are a few reasons why every writer needs a vacation.

Floating Lanterns Over Grand Rapids, MI

1. It’s refreshing – Writer’s write about life. But when it passes by at a thousand miles per hour they don’t have a chance to take it in and it becomes harder and harder to write. At some point the well of creativity dries up. Taking a step back can help revitalize your inner artist. You might even see something that restores child-like wonder.

2. Family is important – I write because I love it. But I love my family more. Spending time with my daughters on their birthdays was grand. We ate cake, opened presents, rode a carousel while my daughter June grinned ear to ear. It was magical and it was as if time stopped. I will never forget that.

3. It is healthy – As a writer, and husband, and father, and worker, and friend, and Christian, I have many roles that demand attention and require tons of energy if I want to do them well. I don’t want to be a Jack of all trades because that just means I’m average at everything. I want to be great. When I focus on one thing, like being a good father, I have more confidence to take a step back from being a parent to write. If I was a terrible husband or absent father it would be difficult, psychologically, to write. I bet I would be consumed by guilt which would certainly stifle my ability to write.

4. It helps you get perspective – Perhaps you are struggling with a concept. Maybe you’ve written yourself into a dead end and cannot see how to bridge a section of your novel with where you want it to go. There are many times when I am not focused on my novel when suddenly I am struck with an idea that will help me continue my work. It’s like the plotting part of my brain works best when I am not writing at all.

These are just a few reasons writers need a break. Have you taken a break from writing for a period? If so why? Did you find your inner artist refreshed?

Find some time to write today.