This is going to be a short post, and not just because I've shopping to do, a house to clean, and food to start preparing, but because those of you who are celebrating festivals probably don’t have writing advice high on their list of priorities for Christmas Eve. So, today, just a few thoughts on writing fiction. 

To start with there's no rule that says you can’t just sit down and write a novel. After all, we use language every day, and most of us have been doing so for a number of years, so using words is a skill we mastered as children. Nonetheless, you can find innumerable courses, books, retreats and groups where you can practice and hone your writing skills, as well as getting (hopefully) constructive feedback.

However, creative endeavours have several aspects. First there is the preliminary phase of incubation/rumination; next the absorbing active productive period; finally the contemplative/reflective stage. A good question is what do we get out of these enterprises, other than the activity itself? Producing work, whether art, music or literature (or even finger puppets) that you view as successful is a challenge. And it may be that wider  public acknowledgement or reciprocation never comes. 

So why do people rack up, for example, eight nano novels? It must be because the enjoyment in doing the activity outweighs anything else, including the effort involved in transcribing and expanding something which can, in the beginning, be no more than a glimpse of an idea. A certain amount of self-belief, which may or may not be justified, investment of your time and a determination to improve are definitely needed. Yet none of these criteria act as a deterrent when a story begins to live in a writer’s imagination and the urge to share it with others takes precedence.

I think we undertake these pursuits because, ultimately, we find them deeply satisfying. For me writing is about emotion, with the character, plot and setting aimed at eliciting a particular response from the reader. Each writer starts and ends their writing journey in a separate place, and although we share certain commonalities, each journey, just like each individual, is unique.

Today’s Haiku
snow lies on the ground
one red apple left hanging –
blackbird finds a feast

Useful links:

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who has a kindle, check out these two links:   Roads Taken (5 great short stories) by M. Joaquim  Gold Dragon Haiku  - my first attempt at publishing poetry!       
Check out these two links if you’re feeling down – laughter’s a great medicine.

I would like to wish everyone, especially the six people who clicked the follow button on this page, my friends on Twitter and in the Google + communities, and anyone who reads this blog, a great Christmas - may you all be merry and bright -  and a brilliant 2014!

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

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