Writing Tips: Mother’s Day & Childhood Inspiration

12 May

Now, I have to admit that I’m unsure if this qualifies as “writing tips” or not, but I can’t seem to think of another way to explain it other than to explain recent events in my life and how I got to this decision to post about this.

On Friday night, I was driving home when I was hit by a drunk driver. Everyone was physically fine, but these moments often make you take a step back and wonder “what if?” or simply reflect on life. It’s also Mother’s Day, and, as many of you know, my mother passed away in 2003, so there’s been a lot of personal reflection happening for me over the past few days, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how reflecting can help your passionate spark if you feel as if it’s about to die.

Happy Mother's Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

Happy Mother’s Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

But, first, If you want something short and sweet, I posted this on my Twitter, and many followers found it comforting. “Do you sometimes feel like chasing your artistic dream is hard? This will cheer you up: click here.” 

Now–the bigger reflection: I’ve had more experiences in this sort of stuff than I’d like to admit to myself, but they always cause me to look back, and my childhood is often where I end up. I cannot say why this is other than it’s caused by a “flashback” sort of a thing. I begin thinking about what I’m grateful for, who I love, what I love, and everything that moves me from one day to another. But I’m going to concentrate on writing, because I want to stay in the “writing tips” as much as I possibly can.

So what in my childhood moved me forward into writing? (And many of you already know about my mother’s death being the biggest moment when I was pushed forward into taking it seriously, so, again, I’m going to talk about something else, although that is essential.)

Favorite Books:

I think this can be very important to remember, but, even more so, to return to every piece once in a while and read. Include first books, middle school reads, and beyond. On days where you’re feeling down, especially about writing, returning to these texts can spark your passion again, easily and without any strenuous effort. All you have to do is read, and you might be amazed at how quickly you’ll return to your timeless love for language, even if the original texts are simple and/or wouldn’t spark interest today if you hadn’t read it before.

Mine, as an example, includes childhood novels about Nancy Drew and Scooby Doo, young-adult series by Meg Cabot or Lynne Ewing (specifically Daughters of the Moon), and adult novels, generally memoirs like Mop Men, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or A Long Way Gone. I can even return to literature I loved in school, my favorite being The Stranger.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

Favorite Writing Experiences: 

These moments can bring back the original moments that brought you the utmost happiness before other moments brought you down. You can return yourself, especially to childhood, when you first started writing and you didn’t have the stresses of publication or critiques. These memories, although little, are very powerful.

My personal example? In second grade, my short story about my two dogs, Milo and Max, won the class writing competition, and I got to read it to the class. I still have it, and the drawings and wording often makes me giggle, but it also lightens my writing soul. I go right back to that podium, when I was fearless, and I feel it transition to today’s time.

Others who inspired:

Think beyond the top five people who inspire you today. Try to recall the first few who you may not remember on a regular basis but know that they linger somewhere in your artistic past (meaning they’re also in your artistic self today.) Most of the time, you might remember one, but then you’ll remember more and more, and you’ll soon have a list of small instances that led to your wonderful path you’re on today.

My personal example here is my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Metcalf. She was the first teacher to pull me aside and encourage my writing. When I was first writing back then, I was started my stories off with “Hi. I’m Henry, and this is my story…” and she taught me to start in the middle of action. I wrote her a story for Thanksgiving Break, and it started with a turkey running wild through a grocery store. Looking back on it, it was cheesy and poorly written, but she returned, having read the entire twenty pages, and encouraged me more and more, teaching me what else I could do in order to enhance my words. I was nine at the time, yet her teaching lingers today, and I’m grateful to have had such a wonderful teacher in my life at such a young age.

My hope is that you may take a moment today (or any day) to reflect on the moments that have brought you here today and remember never to give up on your dreams! It may seem cheesy, but it is, ultimately, very true, and I’m sure many of you know this, but many also have fleeting moments of doubt, and we can prevent these by reminding ourselves of what matters: life, love, and passionate dreams.

I always tell myself to write with passion; succeed with self-discipline. 

This is my personal philosophy, but I’d love to hear yours as well. Share below and spread the dream to others who may be struggling at this very moment in time (whether they read this today or two years from now.) Words are timeless. Let’s use that to embrace the love of art.

Have a great and meaningful day :D

~SAT

P.S. Goodreads Quote of the day:

I leaned against the desk, ran my hand over my father’s paperwork, and picked up a pen. Turning around, I shoved it into my father’s hand.
“What’s this?” he asked, raising a brow.
“You’ll need it to sign my death certificate,” I said, pain vibrating my veins against my muscles and bones. “Are we done now?”

Eric, Minutes Before Sunset

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12 Responses to “Writing Tips: Mother’s Day & Childhood Inspiration”

  1. Jilanne Hoffmann May 12, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Tonight, I’m just going to focus on my mom. She died in 2008, and she inspires me to write every day. I miss her.

    • Shannon Thompson May 12, 2013 at 12:39 am #

      Jilanne,
      Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you’re thinking of her and her inspiration. I am, also, thinking of my mother and her inspiration, and it’s nice to think that “strangers” can be connected on such an important day through love & inspiration of others.
      ~SAT

  2. feltenk May 12, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    So glad that you’re okay! I’ve been in two scary car accidents, one with my mother. My car spun several times and my hands never left the steering wheel, but according to my mom, I put my arm across her to protect her. Times like those make you realize, if just for a moment, how precious and fleeting life is.
    On a lighter note, I’m getting ready to read your novel :)

  3. Charles Yallowitz May 12, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere and commented:
    A post from Shannon Thompson on Mother’s Day.

  4. Charles Yallowitz May 12, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Happy to hear that you’re okay. That’s a really good philosophy. I should look into that self-discipline thing. Probably works better than maniacal determination.

  5. pi314chron May 12, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    Shannon (my daughter’s name, too!) — You write with such ease and joy! Thank God you weren’t injured, or worse, by the drunk’s disregard for human life. Your writing tips were/are sooo inspirational! What a way to start my day and the day of so many others. Happy Mother’s Day!
    -R-

  6. 1WriteWay May 12, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    So glad you’re ok, Shannon, and thank you so much for the inspirational post.

  7. MarcelleLiemant May 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    This is a beautiful post. You certainly know how to turn adversity into something very positive and touching. I read it and recalled many writing and reading moments from my past, it was a delicious ride. We can tend to take ourselves very seriously as writers, it’s nice to visit childhood and remember where it all began. Thanks.

  8. kayuk May 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Wow! I’m so glad you’re OK, and I love this post. I lost my mother about 18 months ago and it was strange taking a pot of flowers and a card to my Dad’s new wife–my new step-mother. We looked through old photos together. She really is a very nice lady, and I’m happy for Dad, but I miss Mom.

  9. WyndyDee May 13, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Reblogged this on Wyndy Dee and commented:
    I’m so glad you’re ok!!

  10. L. Marie May 13, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I’m glad you’re safe. That’s so frightening! Thanks for taking the time to inspire us and to share what inspired you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How Anxiety Influenced my Trilogy | Shannon A Thompson - January 14, 2014

    […] In my 22 years of life, I’ve been in six car wrecks. Now, before you judge my driving record, I was only driving in two of them, one was caused by black ice on a bridge and my most recent one happened when I was hit by a drunk driver, which I actually wrote about here. […]

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