Spring has Sprung!

thJRZL9AXPSpring is a time to celebrate renewal—the flora begins to come alive, the animals that migrated or hibernated for the winter are seen again, the sun seems to shine brighter, and the breezes carry the promise of new beginnings. And these changes can affect the creative spirit as well. We will finally plant that garden, paint that picture, write that novel or poem—the possibilities are endless.

To celebrate the renewal of the spirit, and push that creativity along, I recently attended the annual Free Conference for Writers in Northwest Arkansas. This is a one-day conference held every year in mid-March, and in my mind marks the beginning of the conference season.

Although the conference lasts for just eight hours, the organizers always manage to pack the day full. The conference speakers this year were Linda Apple and Velda Brotherton, and the theme was using your own experiences to shape your writing. The final portion of the conference was devoted to sharing stories and remembering our good friend and local author Dusty Richards. Published authors from around the area were present as well, with books to sign and advice for new writers. bee

Linda Apple is known for her inspirational writing and teaching, and has been a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup books. Linda spoke about the importance of writing your own story to share with others. You may want to write your memoirs to leave for your family, or write about specific experiences to share with others. Sharing your experiences can help you to come to terms with events, as well as inspire and encourage others. It is very true that we can never know what is happening in another person’s life, and you can never know how sharing your story can help others.

Velda Brotherton is an experienced writer of fiction, from romances to westerns to mysteries. Velda taught us to use our own experiences to help shape and improve our fiction writing. Basing your characters on real people can help to cement their traits in your mind, and provide a more believable character. Using the name of a friend or family member can be your way of giving a nod to someone dear to you (although you might want to check with them first, to avoid potential embarrassment). And don’t forget the everyday touches that make your scenes realistic—the scent of a pie baking, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of traffic outside the window. Taking time to smell the roses can really pay off when you are trying to create a scene in your next book.

thWWWQLNM3So to celebrate the first day of Spring, go ahead—write that story. Share your inspiration with others, whether you choose nonfiction or fiction for your platform doesn’t matter. We all have stories to tell, and as I’m fond of telling my friends—it’s your story, tell it how you want to. The important point is that you DO tell it.