Monday, May 10, 2010

The Writer's Journey...

It can be a lonely life at times...sitting here staring at my computer, waiting for the words to magically flow onto the blank screen. Maybe it's time to check my email again...or even harvest my farm on Farmville! Nobody else will ever know, right?

I do cherish the solitude here on my lake in the northwoods of Wisconsin. I thrive on having time to think, write, and read - and the ability to set my own schedule. However, it takes discipline to write. It's easy to get distracted... as a black bear casually saunters across my deck. Seriously, that's exactly what happened today. In fact, two cubs tumbled playfully behind Mama Bear. So much for my walk today. I don't like to encounter bears on my treks through the woods. They tend to be a tad ornery and defensive when their offspring are scampering about.

So, I'm back at my computer, finally at work. Tomorrow I will attend my St. Croix Writers group meeting in Solon Springs. I've found that writers need connections with other writers. We share our works in progress, our accomplishments, and our rejection letters! We support each other and offer feedback. Writing groups can be a wonderful way to connect with other writers who have similar interests.

Writing is a journey of lifelong learning, and there are so many resources out there for us. I highly recommend writers conferences. I just returned from the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association( conference in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I came home inspired and refreshed after networking with other writers and listening to excellent speakers.

Writers read! We read books in our own genres or areas of interest, but we also read books and magazines to help us improve our craft. Some of my favorite magazines include The Writer, Writer's Digest, and Poets & Writers.

There are also many excellent books on the art of writing. One of my all-time favorites is "The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler. Based upon the depth psychology of Carl G. Jung and the mythic studies of Joseph Campbell, this book provides guidelines for structuring plots and creating realistic characters. Whether you are writing movie scripts or novels, it is important to understand that "all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams and movies. These ancient tools of the storyteller's craft still have tremendous power to heal our people and make the world a better place." (Christopher Vogler)

Stay tuned, and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay


  1. I also like Vogler's book. Another is the Mystery Writer's Handbook, edited by Lawrence Treat. Several versions were published in the 1970s and 1980s. It's out of print now, but copies can be found here and there. Don't allow the title to make you think it's all about "mystery." They use the term very broadly. Useful for any writer.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Boyd. I will check it out.