All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Writing Cheat Codes

Admittedly, I am still not back to 100% health. As noted in my previous post, I have been trying to bounce back from some walking pneumonia, and it takes a lot of energy to do things. Even though I might look like my "bounce" is fine, in fact, those things are still a struggle. After my writing workshop on Saturday, it took an great amount of energy to just get home and take a two-hour nap. It was truly exhausting! So, needless to say, my writing volume has taken a hit.

As also noted last week, I decided to do some reading to feed my creativity. However, it came to me that I could fall back on a few writing tricks that usually help me produce good, emotionally gripping pieces of work without totally expending myself. These are what I call the cheat codes of writing - the little tricks you can do to create a moving piece without much effort. Now, like most cheat codes, other experienced people can tell right away when you are using these, and they might call you out. However, if your objective is just to get some writing in and really flex your creative and emotional muscles, cheat codes work just fine.

The first cheat code is to write about your earliest good experience with a parent, grandparent, favorite aunt, or other loving family member. Write it from your perspective as a child, or reflect upon it as an adult - whichever the case, it should be a story written from the perspective of love and innocence. I always talk my childhood experience of sitting with my mother, watching her write articles for the newspaper, and plenty of times I sat beside my father's easel and watched him paint. Writing such memories from the perspective of an innocent child will move the reader because they are simple observations from a loving child. The story doesn't have to be more than that and it will still move the reader. More importantly, it will remind your inner writer that you still got it.

This next one's easy: pet stories. Everyone likes a story about a child and their first pet. Regardless of whether the pet was a cat, dog, horse, chicken, or fish, writing about that connection between a person and an animal is a natural draw. Something very primal, very simple, is brought out with those stories, and every reader has some kind of understanding of that connection - even if they hadn't felt it themselves. My father insisted he did not like pets, and we had a bunch of them. And yes, he loved every one of them despite his complaints (there's a great story about me catching him dancing a Kentucky two-step with our cat, but that's for another time). Writing a pet story gets a lot of mileage.

This one's not as easy from a personal perspective, but it's an easy win for a quality story: Death. Write about that moment you realized what death was. It could be as simple as when your family had to put down your dog, or when an uncomfortable first-grade teacher gathered everyone in class together to tell them that one of their friends wouldn't be there anymore. If it's close to the heart, all the better. Those moments have a universal connectivity with most every reader, so writing it will garner a response every time.

And if you want to really hit the trifecta (and you have the right ingredients), write that story about the day your first, most beloved pet died. The Dead Pets story is the master cheat code. Write that story. If you shed a few of your own tears while creating it, every reader will do the same.

For my next trick, I am going to take a two-hour nap in preparation for my next writing workshop tonight. Maybe some day I will write about it...      

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