Each of us are born with God-given gifts. Some of our gifts are visible--we can paint, or sing, or build, or teach, or run, or write. Some of our gifts are not visible to the physical eye, but they can be "seen" by those who take the time, and care enough to notice--traits such as compassion, the hunger to learn, the ability to see the good in others, to love and receive love, and a host more come to mind.
Some gifts we recognize easily. Some we have to develop. I think we all have far more gifts than we believe we do, but whether stifled through fear, or lack of encouragement, we never get around to nurturing them. Writing is often one of these. I've hardly met a person who hasn't said they have a story they want to write. I wish they would. I wish everyone would, even if just to see where that inspiration leads. And if the finished product is shared only with their family, what an inspiration it can be to them, encouraging children and grandchildren to pursue a dream of their own.
Inspiration plays a big part in writing, not only in finding the courage to begin, but in the small details of plotting, character development, dialogue, etc. What will the primary conflict be? Who will my hero or heroine be? What will they do in this situation or that? Even a child can fill in the blanks and create a story. Higher levels of artistic accomplishment require good tools and skills as well, learned from study and sometimes through painful editorial experience. But the highest level of literary achievement occurs when a writer knows the answer to a few critical questions--What do I want to say? Why does it matter to my readers?
Lately, these questions have been tugging at my heart like a four-hundred pound bulldog. I've always known exactly where this last book in the Free Men and Dreamers series was heading, and I have wrestled with the voices trying to send it off on another path. But not any more.
I'm following the inner voice of inspiration. The wrestle is past. I passed on some other opportunities because this path is going to take some more research, muscle, and time, and I now feel incredibly peaceful. It's coming along well, and I'm writing happily again. This is exciting. This is energizing.
I hope you'll enjoy the last leg of the journey with me.