Friday, July 20, 2012

How I Write

by guest blogger Sheila S. Hudson

The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.  ~Agatha Christie

Writers are a rare and wonderful breed. As Ms. Christie observes: writers loyal to their craft are always writing. Writers don’t take days off, observe holidays, or rest on the weekend.

On Wednesday mornings when I shop at Publix, I am writing.  I wonder to myself: Wouldn’t an icicle make the ideal murder weapon? What about poison slipped into a victim’s contact lens solution? Could that person in front of me in the checkout line be a serial killer?

When working a crossword puzzle, I store away unique words for future manuscripts and make notes of interesting phrases. I jot down scraps of dialogue overheard in Wal-Mart. I eavesdrop on families in the mall. It is fascinating to observe humans in their natural habitat especially children. Children are humor, unpretentious, but most of all painfully honest.

I am blessed to be a writer in the 21st century. With access to the internet via my netbook, I can work anytime and anywhere. I have no reason for not writing. Opportunities abound with free Wi-Fi in Starbucks, McDonalds, the local library, even in the gynecologist’s office. With the click of a few keys, I can blog, Tweet, or locate my peeps on Facebook. Even writers with a modest budget for books can amass lots of titles via Kindle or Nook, electronic treasure troves!

When I am not keyboarding, I am trolling for markets, researching for an article, sifting through submission guidelines, or searching files for ideas. Forgotten pieces can be resurrected and polished with a little computer magic.

Through email, I share call-out information with my writer buddies, swap manuscripts for critique, and keep current in my writing circles. Social media affords me the privilege of having the information highway at my fingertips.

Because the internet is so popular, everyone fancies themselves a writer. Publishing on demand is big business. Private publishing is on the rise. Good writing is good writing no matter the mode of publication.

Twenty-five plus years of freelance writing has taught me that I am fortunate to be a writer in the 21st Century. Writing has opened doors that otherwise would have been sealed. I have met unforgettable people and been afforded tremendous opportunities. Freelancing has enhanced my life. Because of it, I possess treasured friendships and networking contacts. Travel writing, humor writing, essays, personal experience, and inspirational writing have given me an appreciation for other forms of prose all the while furnishing an outlet for my manuscripts. And as icing on the cake was when Tim, my husband, retired he joined me with his photography expertise.

As an only child for many years, I spent a lot of time alone. So when I chose to write, it wasn’t that much different. I still need discipline and create deadlines to keep myself on track. Writing has helped me break through shyness and open portals that I wouldn’t have dared before. I have been allowed to peek into other worlds and I am anxious to share those experiences with my readers.  

Writing is a passion that’s always with me and I suspect that’s true for all of us. So my parting advice is: Never ask a writer what he/she is doing.  Not even if they are staring out the window or knitting a scarf.  They are mentally composing a setting, writing a character description, or figuring out a plot point. They are writing. Writers write. Even when we aren’t putting pen to paper.

Sheila S. Hudson is a freelance journalist,
speaker, workshop leader and Co-President
of Southeastern Writers Association. Sheila
is also the founder of Bright Ideas. Visit her
website at

Have you gotten your free online copy of Southern Writers' anniversary issue yet? Get it now!  


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