During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight to link up your God Story by clicking here.)
And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to a great writer and very dear friend, Lyla Lindquist.
I suppose I could just start by lying on the floor.
I’ve done that, you know. Left the desk, got down flat on my back on the floor in my office, and stared at the ceiling. I went back to my chair and wrote the words, “Lying on the floor is no way to write an article.”
For many of us, the thing that often puts us flat on our writing backs is simply beginning. We stare at the blank page or blinking cursor, immobilized for lack of the first word, when oftentimes if we would just write the first word — any first word — it would be like the little Dutch boy pulling his finger out of the dike. The words will trickle out, maybe even begin to rush.
An editor I work with is known to say, “Just begin.” Take hold of an action or image and just begin to put words on the page. For me, sometimes that’s beginning with 20 pushups, a roller skate, or a blue marble. Or, yes, lying on the floor.
Deadline looming and past my bedtime, I felt pretty foolish that night. But then I looked up and saw cobwebs and shadows playing the corner of the ceiling, sculpted from the harsh light of a single naked lightbulb. The cobwebs gave way to an old woman’s wispy white hair, the light sockets to her hollow eyes, and before long I had what I’d gone to the floor over: a few pages worth of words on the page and an article ready to publish.
Look around you. Do a few pushups. Lie on the floor. What do you see? Where will you begin?
Lyla Willingham Lindquist is a claims adjuster, helping people and insurance companies make sense of loss. When she’s not crunching numbers or scaling small buildings, you can find her at Tweetspeak Poetry, where she is an editor, or designing websites at The Willingham Enterprise.
YOUR TURN: So, let’s try it. Lyla instructs us: “Look around you. Do a few pushups. Lie on the floor. What do you see? Where will you begin?”