One true sentence at a time
In nearly four decades, I’ve written well over a million words … in this column, news and feature stories, personal letters, advertising copy, press releases, etc. I have dozens of notebooks and hundreds of Post-it Notes with ideas or turns of phrase that pleased me, and I’ve always loved to read, long before I began to write.
Prolific writer Stephen King explains, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Another kindred soul, Robert Louis Stevenson, said, “I kept always two books in my pocket: one to read, one to write in.”
The two passions are so connected in my being.
In January, I began a manuscript that’s proving to be a challenge, primarily because it’s not fiction, it’s real life, my life. Five years in the making, to revisit memories and details of a traumatic ordeal takes an emotional toll. But several chapters in, I’m motivated by the desire to put it all in the past once and for all, with the inspiration of successful writers who’ve persevered … one day, one sentence at a time.
I have a number of favorite quotes on the topic of putting pen to paper, as I did in the literal sense when I first began as a writer. I still like to see words on the pages of a legal pad, which is easier to transport to a sandy beach or next to a mountain stream.
“And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” — J.K. Rowling
The angst and the agony always expressed well by Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” And the truest observation, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
“I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.” — Tom Clancy
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” — Richard Bach
I’ll let the ladies have the final word.
“Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.” — Amy Joy
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” — Gloria Steinem
“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.” — Erica Jong
The most beautiful teller of truth sums it up, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou
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Happy Birthday today to Bob Koep, Mary Hawkins and Bo Gerzina. Tomorrow Gloria Weidner, Tabetha Brisbin, Bren Grace and Kathleen Perez take another trip around the sun. On the last day of March, Priscilla Baker, Rick Vernon, Annika Baltzell, Chris Jones, Joey Nowoj, Patrick Reagan, Shirley Christie, Crystal LaFountain, David Holloway and Chris Clayton will have their cake and eat it, too. April Fools birthday wishes to Ed Frazey, Keri Schwenke (50!), Kim Haddock, Candi Applegate, Chris Thompson and Payton Peugh (18!). On Sunday, Jonathan Owens, Judi Jackson (60!), Dallan Pope, Taylor Huber, Kathy Willy, Beth Barclay, Nell Gordon and Lee Periman are blowing out the birthday candles. Liz Montgomery, Doreen Porter, Cameron Dominquez and Cindy Jordan celebrate April 3. Chrissy Wortman, Laura Keck, Marshall Meeks, Nancy Gurno, Keith Hanlon, Duffy Taylor, Ann Fox, Nicholas Kane, Pappy Butler and Toni Hackwith celebrate Tuesday.
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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.