Deby Adair on Imagination, Writing, and the Importance of Finding your Voice

Today Ancient Children is honored with a guest post by Deby Adair, creator of the WISH trilogy, beautifully illustrated books for children that adults will also love. The third volume of the trilogy, The Third Wish — Dreams Honour, was nominated for the 2011 Aurealis Awards — Australia’s Premier Award for Speculative Fiction written by an Australian Citizen.

Imagination is our Greatest Tool

by Deby Adair

 

Imagination is our greatest tool. When you create something meaningful, you share it with the world, even if no one ever sees your final effort. When we imagine, and then create, we are stating by our thoughts and actions who we are, and that person follows us around day and night for everyone else to see, interact and share with.

If we have music in us, then we strum, sing or write our lyrics. If we have art in us then we sketch, draw or paint. And if we write, we are usually sharing our deepest thoughts and projections.

Writing is a tool that can captivate an audience in a way that no other art does. A book presents an opportunity to immerse ourselves, sometimes completely, into the lives of others, and in the process, it changes us forever . . . we have now walked in another’s shoes and we will never be the same again. Although it may be argued that a movie will do a similar thing, the difference between reading a story and watching a story, is that a reader must go that extra mile and play the movie in their head, their way, with only the writer’s word to prompt the screen inside the mind.

As writers, we hold the world in the palms of our hands and, like all projections, how we do it is what counts.

Remember that what you write will reach inside the minds and hearts of others and, by the power of your words, resonate. How do you choose to create what resonates in others?

Writing is something that comes from within a writer; a deep need to share a story, a theme, experience or something which the writer themselves chooses to explore.

When writers ask me how to deal with writer’s block, I have one response: Writer’s block comes to you because you are trying to write what isn’t you. When a writer ‘blocks’ they are experiencing these key things: fear, self doubt and a desire to please others.

When writers ask me how they should fix their writers block, or indeed, why is it such extremely hard work to write, then my responses are simplistic, based on the need to change something that they’re doing.

At first, my answers can be met with some resistance. ie: Often, a writer has a preconceived idea of what kind of writer they are, or want to be, and that may be the problem… in not knowing what you truly should be writing as opposed to what you think you should be writing. ‘Writers block’ will always begin there.

Do you love writing? Does the written word in and of itself give you incredible joy? Does the thought of composing a sentence and describing a moment, a scene, a sensation, a palette of colour, transport you with inspiration and excitement? What entices you, the writer, to capture an audience and transport them?

I’ll ask a question: Can you effectively captivate with something you don’t know, or don’t understand or have never come close to experiencing? Perhaps, or perhaps not.

During the process of writing, part of the joy is for us as writers to explore how a scene, projection, moment or situation may occur, creating that rush of creativity, the adrenalin and thrill that actually makes us want to write!

If you have decided that writing is in fact for you, that you have the guts, determination and the hard-driven discipline required to master your much loved skill, but you sit down to write and falter, then you must ask yourself why.

A highly skilled young University student asked me to read a piece of their work and to offer a critique. It was an evocative piece. Very dramatic, very intense, extremely wordy, descriptive, exciting… but it lacked something. It didn’t ring true. It was a good piece of writing but I was left unmoved. I thought carefully about the piece before I gave her my critique.

Finally, this was my response: When you write, the most important thing to remember is not to try to impress the reader but to find your own individual style. Don’t try to write with someone else’s style. Don’t copy the sort of writing that will outwardly impress you but feel to the reader as if they’ve read your book at least a hundred times everywhere else!

Write what you know. Write what you feel. By all means, use the power of your imagination, but don’t try to construct what isn’t innately a part of you because it will read cleverly, but not reach hearts and, as writers, our job is to reach hearts, otherwise we have just added to a high pile of pulp.

When a writer writes from deep inside themselves, reaching into what they know, how they’ve grown, the insights, the hurts, the joys, the depths of their being, then they lose writer’s block. They may have decided to sit down and write that great money-spinner and instead, written a poignant or meaningful story of something that jogs a memory of a day in their schoolyard. The piece they actually may end up writing may seem totally un-commercial, however, it may leave the writer, and ultimately the reader, deeply satisfied. I assure you that when you write from your inner truth you will always become a better writer and that is what really matters in the long run. You want to reach the hearts and minds of your readers.

When people read, no matter what the genre, they unconsciously go there to learn something, even if they feel they only want to be entertained. When they read, they want to leave your book/short story/poem, prose or paragraph, and feel that it was a moment in time that you loaned them and which they have captured; that borrowing from your ‘knowing’ it will leave them stronger, better able to face the world. Write what you own . . . share with us, the reader, what you know and feel.

Writers often ask me why they can’t seem to get the discipline of the thing. My response, based on experiencing the roller coaster of life, is this: No matter what is happening in your life, and I mean no matter what, write something every single day; every single day go to your work and at least sit with pen in hand, with computer open and ready; if you find nothing there, then edit something you have previously written; look at your writing and be ruthless with it; teach yourself to know if that flowery sentence is valid or just satisfying an itch to be vocal; train yourself in excellent sentence structure and that often, less is more.

Readers these days want to get to the point . . . so learn the skill of writing brilliantly with a sentence well built, rather than a paragraph that repeats itself.

Take the pain from losing loved ones, your illness, a job you hate, the spiteful neighbour and use it to write! Don’t wait for when life will get good, for when you live in the right house, have the right amount of money, have the perfect relationship, have wonderful heath… all or some of those things may never happen, so write! Be your own best creator!

Write something, even if it’s for two minutes a day, every single day until the hardship of the discipline becomes your addiction and your high . . . then you have learned the true love affair of writing and have built a solid relationship that will let you call yourself a writer, a marriage where you have learned to merge words with the love of making it happen.

Remember, the entire fantastic residue of living, is stored within all of us. Don’t write about things you don’t know just because you think that’s what readers want, and worse, because someone else got rich from it . . . write what YOU know and, if you do it thoroughly, seriously and with real craft and commitment, readers will love your tale about the day you dropped your lunch at school and ten kids laughed at you but one stepped forward to help . . . because when it’s genuine, we, the readers, will know it and cheer you on!

Deby Adair © 27.08.2012

 

Deby Adair is an author, artist, graphic artist, environmentalist and past equestrian. An avid follower of the mystical and mysterious, Deby Adair has always loved the purity and truth of unicorns and their archetypal majesty. Deby loves all animals and champions animal rights, the environment and human rights. She believes we must take care of our natural world.

An avid reader all her life, Deby began writing stories, poetry and prose from a very young age and the WISH trilogy is based on many works of writing and art which she produced as a girl but later embelished and created into her three novels.

To learn more about Deby and her work and to purchase her books, visit her Web site, Unicorn Kisses.

 


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Michaela Rhua says:

    What wise words. This is one post I will certainly bookmark and reread when things don’t flow as well.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. Dreambeast7 says:

      Thanks for dropping by and reading, Michaela. I was inspired by Deby’s post, too.

      Like

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