(To listen to the audio of this blog post, use the purple play button.)
· Stories Are Everywhere: My Blogging Topics ·
MY PURPOSE in BLOGGING
In 2017, when I sent my final draft of my novel, Taking Back the Bullet, to my editor, Jan Hurst, I started preparing drafts of written blogs for my new website hosted by Rosemary Miller, aka “The Tech Chick.”
My unwritten mission statement was this: “To be in the moment, to enjoy the adventure, and to do my best for me and my readers.”
The website was also designed to promote my books and be a public platform, a reason, an outlet for my creative writing.
The topics of my blogs/podcasts, which are similar to magazine articles, include tips on writing, author interviews, and book reviews, but it’s not only about writing. It is writing. The personal essays show, not tell, what good, even great writing looks like.
FINDING A STORY
Like a restless newspaper reporter, I’m often thinking about the next story. When I’m relaxed, open, and aware, they come to me. Stories are everywhere. And one story often leads to the next.
My favorite quotation is “Wisdom begins when you realize there are other points of view.” If you’re writing a novel, then this advice can really be helpful. If your characters all think exactly alike, good luck.
You’ve probably all been told that if you want to help authors, then purchase their books, read their books, and write book reviews. Those are action steps I take as often as possible.
The real treat for me is using my blog and my Facebook pages to promote the books I enjoy reading. I especially focus on local authors who are members of the Kansas Authors Club (KAC).
Being responsible for a weekly blog/podcast means keeping my eyes open and being curious. Locally, in Hutchinson, KS, we hold KAC meetings every month. Sometimes our guest speakers turn into stories for my next blog. If so, I prominently display their book covers and an author photo.
This past year I promoted the first International Writing Contest run by Sandhenge Publications. A postcard was used as the writing prompt. Many of the full essays, submitted from four countries, were posted and available to read on my website, including the grand prize story by Gloria Zachgo, author of three novels.
Stories are everywhere. The seed of a blog about one-room schoolhouses started from a conversation with an 85-year-old line dancer friend. Another blog was about a WWII U.S. naval veteran who served on a hospital ship in the Pacific. I first approached this 95-year-old at a meeting after seeing him wearing his veteran ball cap. After I posted his adventures, his daughter told me she was known around town as “The Doll Lady” because of her reputation for repairing dolls. An interview soon followed.
My most interesting interview occurred after I asked an 84-year-old friend if he’d be willing to tell me about his father, a Hutchinson police officer during the years 1927-1949. Leland agreed, but I was pleasantly surprised when I showed up at his house. Joining us at the dining room table were three of his sisters, all older!
My novel, Taking Back the Bullet, required a lot of research. Research is one of the writing topics I discuss in my blogs. The research rabbit hole can cause the writer delays in completing his or her book because it’s so time consuming and fun. “Beware of rabbit holes,” I caution writers.
My police memoir, Cop in the Classroom: Lessons I’ve Learned, Tales I’ve Told, was written because so many elementary students asked me the same questions: “Is your gun loaded?” “Have you ever shot anyone?” “Can I try on your handcuffs?” I’ve shared some of my answers to these inquiries on my blog.
If you ever run out of writing ideas, just examine your old family photographs or open your junk drawer, if you have one. Stories are everywhere.
For example, I married a belly dancer. For several years, Alexandria made a good living delivering dancing bellygrams to surprised recipients. Some locations were memorable, including a salt mine, a dairy barn, and on a pitcher’s mound prior to the baseball game. Besides being the driver and male bodyguard, I operated the boom box since Middle Eastern music was a big part of every bellygram.
FINDING A STORY
Whenever I need an idea for a story, I simply look through my postcard collection. The exaggeration postcards and the reward postcards are gems of Americana. They lead me to stories in various genres, including historical non-fiction, historical fiction, and even sci-fi.
I look forward to the blogs ahead. I have several books to read and review, a postcard story about an Oklahoma bank robber to research, a novella to revisit, and a belly dancer to interview.
Until next time, happy writing and reading!
The Kansas Authors Club www.kansasauthors.org is a statewide organization that encourages and supports great writing. It’s divided into seven districts. In Hutchinson, Reno County (part of District 6), we have monthly meetings at Hutchinson Community College. http://www.hutchcc.edu You’re invited. Questions? Contact Jim Potter, email@example.com