Unorthodox Writing Tips 14: Look Up

I’ve always been fascinated with things over my head. The sky is a wondrous place. When I look into the night sky and see stars, I can easily understand how you could see images in the patterns and come up with stories to help them relay what you saw. I’m not sure what drives my desire to always look and see what’s in the sky, but it’s always filled with wonder for me.

As a kid, my brother and I (sometimes my mom) would lie on the grass in the front yard and just stare up at clouds. We would try and describe what we saw to help each other identify what we were looking at. The clouds would change shape and move by and we’d come up with something else. Sure we have TV, but where I grew up we had four or five stations and when you changed the station on the television you had to turn the antenna to get better reception. My imagination flourished looking at clouds and coming up with stories about them.

Even before these days when I was maybe three my mom didn’t have much money. Times were tight and we’d go to the airport. We’d sit for hours and watch planes take off and my mom would tell us stories of who was on each plane and where they were going and who they were with. We’d watch the planes take off and wave to each one. Sitting outside on the opposite side of the fence it was a great feeling to know where they were going and my mom always assured us they would get there safely.

Even though we used to watch planes and clouds, my mom was terrified with flying and with any animal or insect that flew.

*note: My mother wasn’t scared of much. One time a couple kids at a picnic found a grass snake and were scaring the ladies. They took it  to my mom and showed it to her. She grabbed it from them, chopped it up into pieces and put the pieces into a coffee can and handed it back to the kids and said “Now you’ve got bait to go fishing.” Needless to say the kids freaked out and I got the bait to go fishing with.

I never knew my mom was scared of flying things until the day a bat got in the house. Not only did she freak out and run screaming from the house, she refused to come back inside until it was gone. This fear didn’t just go for bats and birds, but also with butterflies, dragon flies, you name it. It if had wings, she was afraid of it.

This includes flying. Yes, she has flown, but it does scare her to no end.

Now that I’ve written this, I think I had my mother to thank for always looking up into the sky to see what’s there. I love to see clouds and shapes in the clouds. I can never see enough sunsets. Planes flying through the sky hold a special passion for me. And don’t even get me started with birds. Even my grandma nicknamed my Jay Bird as a kid. I may not be able to identify many birds, but I love to watch them as they fly through the sky. I’ve also tried to get my daughter to look up from her phone when I see a neat cloud formation or a hawk sitting on the light pole.

It so easy to get your head down and focus on what’s at hand and ignore the fact that we live in a world that isn’t flat. There are many things over your head that should come into play when you’re writing. Yes you should focus on your characters and your plot, but when you find yourself struggling for motivation, look up, and tell me what you see.

Until Next Time


Posted on February 4, 2012, in Unorthodox Writing Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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