Last week, over winter break, I visited my old high school and spent two periods teaching column writing to some journalism students. My journalism teacher still makes them read a piece I wrote back in my senior year about how much country music on the radio sucks. Apparently it’s supposed to be an example of good column writing, but by my standards today, I think it totally sucks. Maybe one day I’ll post it on here and just go to town talking about how bad it is. That’d be fun.
ANYWHO, one of the things we talked about was the importance of knowing yourself as a writer. Like, where do your strengths lie? Who do you want to write for? What do you know best that you can provide a unique perspective on? Specifically, I told them to sit down and actually try to put into words how they’d describe their writing style. So, I thought I’d do the same – examine Lora the writer, both past, present, and future.
5 Things That Were Early Indicators of My Future as a Writer
1.) One of my first words was “actually.”
2.) I used to have this basketball night-light in my room, and I’d sit next to it late at night and read. This was in the days before book-lights.
3.) I wrote a story in the first grade about two of my then-favorite topics: the Olympics and marine animals. It was about a young fish who competes in the Underwater Olympics. Someone (a person who was not me, because I refused) read it at a school assembly once. (Side note: marine animals terrify me now. Don’t know what happened.)
4.) I once gifted my Aunt Stacie with a story about her being a crime fighter when she wasn’t working at the hospital. She kept it on her refrigerator for a really long time.
5.) I placed in the Young Authors competition two times: Once in first grade, with a story about two detectives solving a case about missing books (which was probably my worst nightmare at the time – that my books would go missing). The second time was in the sixth grade, and it was a story about a seeing-eye dog who could talk to his blind owner (the owner got hit by a car and it all got very sad because the dog had no one to talk to). Clearly it’s all been downhill since then.
3 Places I Prefer to Write
1.) Sitting up in my bed.
2.) Laying on my stomach in my bed.
3.) In the shower (I come up with all my best ideas in the shower, and often I’ll start writing things in my head in there. I’m so glad we don’t pay the water bill in my apartment).
2 Things I Will Write In
1.) On my computer, in Word documents that I give ambiguous titles, like “Quiche Recipes.”
2.) In a black Moleskine notebook. #allwritershavetosaythat
5 Words I (Or Others) Might Use to Describe My Writing
1.) Humorous (I try, at least).
2.) Vulnerable (Ashley Ford told me that once, and it was awesome).
4.) Depressing (I can be a total downer).
5.) Simple (this isn’t necessarily a good thing, but I think my writing, while sometimes lengthy, can have a no-frills quality about it).
6 Things That Inspire Me
1.) Stupid stuff that happens to me.
2.) Pictures (crap I find on the Internet, or personal pictures).
3.) Found objects (I haven’t really done this yet, but I have this idea to create flash fictions based on other people’s grocery lists that I find).
4.) Music (specifically Joni Mitchell – the first serious, college student poem I ever wrote was based on “River.” It sucked, but Joni’s been like my spirit animal ever since).
5.) The news/politics (I’m obsessed with this idea of writing persona pieces from Sarah Palin’s POV. I’m sickened and intrigued by her, so I should explore that).
6.) Your mom (not really, I just wanted a sixth thing).
So, what made you a writer? What are your specific writerly traits and how would you describe your writing? What inspires you? Where and how do you write? LET ME KNOW. It’s a great way to get to know other writers. Also, I need more inspiration so whatever you say inspires you, I’m probably going to try it myself (unless it’s “sex with strangers and/or hookers,” or “shooting heroin into my toes” because I’m not trying that).