Week Thirteen - Writing for Children and Teens

From Inspiration to Publication

How Writing is Like Climbing a Mountain


August 30, 2016

I don’t dream of rock climbing. I never want to skydive either. I watch marathons with bewilderment. Why would anyone want to expend that much energy, I think, only to end up in the same place at the end? Up and down Mount Everest? Not me. This writing course is changing that feeling. I still don’t want to rock climb, but I see how writing changes me because of the process not the ending. Writing assignment after assignment is changing me inside in ways I hadn’t expected. I think about my writing differently. Writing is like climbing a mountain ... but in a good way.

I’m in training; each assignment I complete is like a mountain to be climbed, a race to be run. Just as a new runner must practice for a while and then seek out ways to test their new skill, so must I. So instead of finding a 5K to run, I look for a magazine to which I can submit my article. I might not succeed in placing the article the first time, just as my first 5K might take me an hour to run. If I were a runner, I would not give up after my first 5K. I would want to see how I fare in the next race. Does my time improve even by a few seconds? Does a revision make my article more acceptable? Does a new magazine want my previously rejected article?

When I started writing, I thought generating stories was going to be the easy part. I’ll stop here for a moment to let you laugh.

I have no trouble at all coming up with characters and detailing what they look like, how they act, and how they talk and think. But the plot, you should excuse the expression, is another story.

Why is the plot of the story so much more difficult for me? In assignment six, I must write a story using the character I developed in assignment five. I sit down to work on a first draft of this story and ... nothing ... blank.

Come on Kimberley, I say to myself, but I know when I’m pushing something too hard. So I move away from my laptop and look for inspiration. If I am to make my daily thirty minutes of work on ICL assignments useful to me, I cannot quit. I re-read the assignment and fall deeply into its words. I love the text of this course. It is so practical and helpful for a writer who needs to find purchase on story mountain. “What is the next step?” I ask myself and find the answer within the text. It’s kind of like the I Ching. Do you know about this ancient Chinese book? Supposedly when you have a deep question, you can ask it and then open the I Ching to any page and the answer lies within. I swear the ICL text is like this. I’m not kidding.

The section I’m reviewing reminds me to try “What if?” ideas with my character. As in, what if my character can’t ever go outside because he is scared of trees? Or what if my character sees a robot in his backyard? This doesn’t immediately give me new ideas, but it does
give me a plan. I take out my notebook and write several what if questions. I even head outside since my character is based on my neighbor’s son. I look at his backyard and think about what he thinks about his backyard. What does he wish it looked like? What does he wish happened back there? It is in entering his world, that I begin to gather new ideas. I walk all the way around his house (hoping his parents don’t think I’m stalking them) in an effort to see the majority of this child’s worldview. I notice a couple of small houses far behind his house that I’ve never investigated before. What if he finds someone living back there who wasn’t there before? What if he needs to help that person?

My thirty minutes is up and I need to stop working on this story because my children need a mother today. Instead of feeling relieved, I wish I could plot out my story, which proves that the recommendations from the ICL course work. I can’t say that enough. I’m a better writer who wants to write more. I honestly can’t wait to read each assignment chapter because I know it will help me.

To get back to my rock climbing––in comparison to writing, that is––I Google: why do people rock climb? I find a bunch of articles titled “ten reasons why people rock climb.” The suggestions are remarkably accurate for “ten reasons why people should take this writing course.”

1.     It’s affordable to get started.

2.     It doesn’t feel like a punishment.

3.     It’s different from your regular routine.

4.     You can improve quickly.

5.     It will feed your craving.

6.     It’s a full workout (for your mind in this case).

7.     It’s a great way to connect with new people.

8.     It gives you something to work toward.

9.     Anyone can excel at it with time and practice.

10.  It teaches your mind and body to work together (or at least your fingers!)

Kimberley Moran's site

Kimberley Moran is a gifted and talented teacher and freelance writer who lives in Hampden, Maine. She has two children and one very nice husband. Kimberley would like her bio to make her sound brilliant, witty, and kind because she knows that when you write and read you get to be anyone you want to be.




August 30, 2016

Thanks for the reminder of the powerful two words, "what if..." This institute you are taking sounds wonderful.

August 30, 2016

Such fun to read about your journey, the way you write it. You are developing and stretching those writing muscles...which connects to your rock climbing idea. You always make me laugh, and think.

Margaret Simon
August 30, 2016

I've met people who say they would never write. I think they just don't get it. On the other hand, would I climb a mountain. Nope. Especially after meeting some guys who climb Kilimanjaro and didn't think it was worth it. But then I might work for years on a book that never gets published. Is that worth it? Obviously you have my mind wandering around thinking about this stuff. That's the skill of a good writer.

Linda Baie
August 30, 2016

I have rock climbed, and it does have a connection, thinking mind and body, moving the body so that the mind can choose the next step, & you did that by going outside, moving around that boy's home-so cool, Kimberley.

August 30, 2016

Incredible writing. I wish I could bottle your words and drink a bit when needed!

The Purple Lady
August 30, 2016

I like your connections here. I will never rock climb because I can make my way up, but the going down part scares me to death. Now writing, that's a whole other ballgame to me, yet I can see how they are similar. I also like how you put that your children need a mother today. An excellent reminder.

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