“Being in the company of writers Is one of the biggest tools you have to motivate you.”
The road from the page and publication is always a winding one, and hearing how another writer has found the way forward always inspires me. And when the author is someone like Ethel Lee-Miller, who brings joyful passion to her work, well you’re bound to learn a lot. Ethel’s a teacher, after all!
After thirty years of teaching and counseling experience — and a lifetime as a twin — Ethel has a deep well of stories to draw from. She shared some of them in her first book, Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort, which she wrote and revised with support from the Write Group, as one of its co-founders. And now, she shares more wisdom in her newest labor of love, Seedlings: Stories of Relationships — an inspiring mix of fiction and real life. I love the energy and enthusiasm that Ethel brings to the page and to her talks on writing. Here’s some advice she shared:
Carry a notepad: Ethel always has one handy so she can jot down impressions, snippets of dialogue, intriguing ideas, quick scenarios. Just the act of carrying it with her helps spark her creativity>
Frame your story: Seedlings is a mix of memoir and fiction, so Ethel came up with a 3-part structure to tie together all the stories she wanted to tell. Part 1, Seeds, grew from snippets of conversation, words or ideas. Part 2, Shoots, are encounters and musings that grew into essays and relationships stories. Part 3, Blossoms, are full stories that needed only a bit of pruning.
Fuel passion with discipline: “You have to have passion for what you’re writing about and the discipline to sustain that passion.”
Have a sacred space: Create a place for yourself that yours alone — and guard it from disturbances and the outside world.
Give yourself goals: Some people are dabbling vs. writing to publish. If you want to make it to the publishing category, then set goals for yourself and meet them.
Embrace social media: If this is challenging, get help! Ethel fund pros to design her author’s Facebook page and ramp up her online presence and skills.
Build a team: Find a critique group, interact with other writers, stay connected.
For more on Ethel and her inspiring new book, visit http://www.etheleemiller.com. Bravo, Ethel — write on!