THE WRITER’S TOOLBOX
This past weekend I received the most marvelous news! My very dear friend and mentor (now in her 101st year of advanced youth) will be receiving a prestigious award from the Colorado Author’s League this coming May. Her name is Lois BeeBe Hayna. She is a self-published author of delightful and thought-provoking poetry (and I’m still trying to pry her fingers loose from the novel she’s written that should already be published for her readers). A few of her titles are: A Book of Charms (1983), View from Behind the Mirror (1998), and The Praying Mantis (2012).
There really are no words that allow me to fully express my appreciation of her wisdom, insights and expertise. So, in honor of Lois and all that she has sown into my life I am sharing just a few of the essential writing “tools” she’s given me.
“You must have a good sense about words and their definitions, in order to be a good writer,” Lois instructed during one of her early Creative Writing Classes. “But you must be in love with words in order to be an excellent writer.” Truer words were never spoken! If I’ve learned nothing else from her it is this: know the definitions of the words! Of course, there is the dictionary definitions, the slang definitions and the social/cultural definitions. That is where true creativity comes in play—knowing which definition fits best in the specific spot you’re placing it, or the “play” of multiple definitions that allow the reader a variety of ways to interpret what is on the page.
Write about the things that interest you: what you care about, what you know about and/or what you might be considered an expert in. There is no substitute for being passionate about your subject matter. If you are bored with the topic, your readers will also be bored.
Don’t be afraid to research! Even though you are comfortable with what you know about a subject, there is always more to learn. In this day of instant information, what was accepted as fact yesterday may be totally inaccurate today. Readers will catch authors in misstatements very quickly and that is not the desired reputation to build.
THERE IS a Library Room at Regis University (Denver, Colorado) named for this marvelous lady: The Lois Beebe Hayna Creative Writing Center. In it you will find several binders of her published and unpublished writings and, of course, copies of her books. Her “bio” is also there encouraging every person who dreams of “being a writer” to step out and DO IT! “I grew up in a village in central Wisconsin,” Lois tells us. People there “regarded my attention to writing as a waste of time.” She had a few pieces of poetry “published” when in college, but when family came along her focus changed. She thought her writing dreams were in the past. Then, when Lois was in her early sixties a remark from a college classmate sent her back to writing. “I had to see if I still had anything to say, or any skill in saying it. I was that close to never writing anything,” again.
WHAT A LOSS that would have been! These last forty years have given us a priceless legacy, indeed, and we are expecting more from Lois. So, if you are a writer who is holding back because of life’s circumstances—it is time to “let go” and find out what has been hiding within. As Lois did, take the plunge to write what is on your heart and get it published! Awards are waiting!
||ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.