Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Write??

Have you ever wondered why writers write?

What drives relatively sane people to glue themselves to a computer, tuning out the rest of the world? Why do we spend hours searching for the right word, trying to get into the heads of the characters we've created? Is there something abnormal about people like us? Well...maybe we are a bit strange, sometimes wierd...but in a very good way, I think.

I'll tell you why I write. I write because I cannot "not write!" Writing is one of my greatest passions in life. I love creating fictional worlds, plots, and characters. Writing is a way to explore and work through the complexities of life.

Most importantly, however, writing can be a way to help other people. A way to expand their horizons, to help them see the world in a different light, to find a sense of hope.

It's great to sell books, rewarding to make a few bucks in royalties. The biggest reward for me, however, is to hear from my readers.

I write because there are people like "Stephanie" out there...she recently sent me an email telling me what my novel, "Waters of the Dancing Sky," meant to her: "Your writing inspired me and touched me in many ways. I cried, laughed, and smiled throughout. The story drew me in and led me on an amazing journey which I will ponder for days to come. Your words touched my soul, and revitalized me in many ways."

Thank you, Stephanie, for making my day!

Stay tuned, and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's Beautiful in Your Life?

It's easy sometimes to wallow in the little irritations, the messiness of life. All you have to do is turn on the radio or TV to hear about the bad things in this world...how about that horrific oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico? Or the tornadoes which recently devastated Wadena, Minnesota and other areas of the country? My thoughts and prayers are with all the people impacted by these tragedies.

Still, we need to take time to remember our blessings. Did any of you see the glorious sunrise this morning as a fresh, new day unfolded on this planet? Today truly is the first day of the rest of our lives!

How about the smile on the face of your child or grandchild? The fragrance of roses blooming in your garden? Sitting by the lake as waves crash in towards shore?

I have a friend, Mark, who created a blog on Facebook. The name is "What's Beautiful in Your Life?" It's a place to share the things that are beautiful in your life, including photos. A place to find inspiration for your life - and for your writing. Check it out.

What's beautiful in YOUR life? Think about it. Write about it. Share it with others.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, June 14, 2010

Out of Left Field...

Agnes, one of my writer friends from Wascott, Wisconsin recently proposed a topic for our writers group to expand upon - "out of left field." The what??

I struggled to make any sense of this topic as I sat at my computer doing what all writers are supposed to be doing - writing. I wasn't in the mood. Defying all traditional wisdom, I decided it was time to shut my computer down and head off into the real world. It was time to embark upon a research trip to Walnut, Iowa where my next novel would begin. Sure, I could research it on the Internet...but sometimes you simply need to be there to absorb a place, to talk to the people, to find out what it's really like to live there.

I wasn't, however, expecting an "out of left field" experience when I arrived in the antique city of Walnut,Iowa. The skies looked dark and very strange as I checked into my hotel. The desk clerk advised that there were tornado warnings in effect, that I should be prepared to come down immediately, with my pillow, if and when the fire alarm system was activated.

Five minutes later, the sirens began to wail. I forgot my pillow but remembered my cell phone as I headed down to the shelter. Hotel guests sat side-by-side in the long hallway, out of touch with the five tornadoes that we later learned were swirling around us. Several "storm trackers" soon joined us with their laptops, tracking the twisters as they passed over and around us. Finally, it was safe to leave the hallway - a place where fearful strangers had become friends.

Yes, Agnes, this was an "out of left field" experience. If I had decided to sit at home glued to my computer, I never would have thought about including a tordado, or storm watchers, in this novel.

The moral of this story - get out there into the real world! It is the unexpected experiences, the tornadoes in life, that will help you to write a novel surpassing anything you may write spending day after day in the safety of your own home,staring at the computer screen.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, June 7, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child...

I've found the perfect remedy for writer's block! Take your child or grandchild out for the day or for a week-end get-away. (If you don't have one of your own, borrow one from a friend or relative!) Spend your time together focusing on this little person,trying to capture life anew through his or her wonder-filled eyes.

I have been blessed with ten exceptional grandchildren and have started a family tradition of taking each one on an individual "Grandma and Me" week-end trip during their eighth year. It was Audrey's turn last week. We went to Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa where we explored a pioneer homestead, a 1900-era farm, and the 1870-era Village of Walnut Hill. Audrey was fascinated with her trip into the past, capturing memories with her camera. She made a hat in the Millinery Shop, watched a blacksmith create tools over the fire, petted the farm animals,and admired the dolls and toys in the Victorian homes.

I watched her closely, absorbing her excitement as she saw and learned new things. My "inner child" was ready to come out and play with her - to see the world in a fresh new way.

It was time for Audrey to pick out a few souvenirs of her trip and little gifts for her mother and brother. Of course, this was a time-consuming process - but worth every moment. She wandered through the gift shops which were full of beautiful things - some relatively expensive. What would she choose?

After much thought and deliberation,she selected a little pig on a keychain. He oinked and his eyes flashed. Then, her big eyes lit up and began to sparkle when she discovered a giant lollipop, a Whirly Pop swirling with brilliant shades of red, yellow, blue and green.

Audrey held and admired her lollipop all the way home. Oh, to be a child again, to find such joy in simple things like a $2 lollipop! Maybe life is like a giant Whirly Pop with concentric circles of colorful experiences swirling through the years. Maybe these are the things that we, as writers, as human beings, need to remember. Maybe we need to take the time to really see life through the eyes of a child...

Stay tuned - and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay