A while back my sister asked me if I wanted to go see author Diana Gabaldon. Sara and I get the same library emails so I knew about the “Outlandish Event with Diana Gabaldon” coming to Denver. But I was about eight months pregnant at the time and felt sure I would still be in recovery mode post-pregnancy. About a week ago I started feeling sad that I hadn’t signed up. Now that I feel like a normal human being again, a night out with other readers sounded delightful. So I got on the long waiting list, and lo and behold, I was able to get a ticket two days before!
I was reminded of how fun it is to be in a room filled with readers. Listening to Diana share her story of writing and being published was so inspirational (and she was so funny!). I loved hearing that she didn’t tell her husband right away that she’d started writing a book, then he found like 80 files on their computer, all named “Jamie.” (The name of the leading man in Outlander!) She had some explaining to do! To make that easier, she’d written Jamie as a 6’4″ red-haired man, coincidentally (or not so coincidentally!), so is her husband. 🙂 It was a great night, starting off with a free glass of wine and lots of desserts. Yes, please.
Diana talked about knowing that she was meant to write a novel from a very young age. She went on to do other things, including writing (not novels), but all the while she knew she was meant to write stories. Do you know that feeling? Knowing something is your passion? Having that inward pull to do something–be it write a novel or travel somewhere or start a ministry or record a song or become a mother? My passion for writing stemmed from my love of reading and it’s still part of me today.
You guys know that I just had a baby six weeks ago. My days have been filled with feedings and diaper changes, along with car pool to kindergarten and taking care of my three-year-old. I’ve realized something recently: Being a mom is a lot like being a waitress. This occurred to me as I refilled Linc’s cup of chocolate milk the other day (for the millionth time) after I’d served him his umpteenth snack. And I don’t mind. It’s the season of life I’m in and it’s what I want. I hold baby Lillian and feel this surge of love and contentment because I wanted her so much. Being a mother is huge to me. It was a desire of my heart and it’s fulfilling to me.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have other passions. Reading and writing are two of those passions, and to neglect them entirely would make me less than who I am. Sometimes we need a little jump-start to our dreams and goals. Last night was a good jump-start for me. To hear Diana talk about how she creates scenes in her books was very cool. She places the characters in a room, for example, then she asks herself questions. Is there warmth from a fire? Oh, right. There’s a fire blazing in the corner. What does the room smell like? Oh, there’s the remnants of dinner on the table. Crumbs and empty wine glasses.
Building scenes and weaving together description and storytelling–those things are vital when you want to write words that come alive for the reader. Whether you’re writing under a deadline or just blogging at your own pace, writers need to write. Being in community with like-minded people helps. After spending the evening in what felt like a book club of hundreds of women who were excited about the same book series–I realized how much I need to be back with readers–sharing stories and ideas. For a reader, even just chatting on forums at Goodreads.com can be great! Readers, we need each other!
So, what are you reading these days? 😉