How We Write: The Soul of the Matter

My Soul of the Matter posts are usually about my life and the life I see going on around me, and how I try to change daily the things I let prevent me from actually living. Because surviving isn’t enough. Thriving should be the goal. How We Write is usually a motivational rant about finding the soul of your writing, and not just worshiping craft rules. Today, I hope to accomplish both.


How we write isn’t always about process and technique. Because we’re creating story. And story is a powerful mechanism for changing minds, and through them our world. Always has been. We write because something drives us to touch readers’ imaginations and hearts and emotions. Their souls. That’s a powerful motivation that should never be completely obscured by our how.

My point?

Every story has a beginning. No matter how beautifully you’re capable of stringing words together, your story begins and ends with your character and your reader’s experience of that character’s journey. Your story must resonate with the heart. It helps if you connect with a theme (even in comedy) that reaches deep inside for a universal truth that can’t be denied. Then, if your gift is writing and you can master the toolbox of techniques that we must learn to bring that vision to life, your reader’s world will most definitely be touched by whatever inspired you to reach them.

How do we write ?

We focus first on the story, for as long as it takes to discover what we most want to say. And only then do we sit down to write.


For me, I’m an angsty writer who wishes my gift was making folks laugh until they cry. My work is cathartic at more of the other end of the spectrum. Darker-themed, challenging emotional journeys come to me. Always have. Like this morning, when it only took the first five minutes of my news program for my entire day (my life) to shift as I listened to this.   

A mother who wrapped her children in blankets and laid on top of them in the basement of her house, while 175 mile-an-hour tornado winds ripped everything else away, and in the process lost parts of both her legs below the knees.

tornado mom

This is a story worth telling. This is a life worth studying. That is a soul who deserves to live on in words that will never do this mother justice, but we should try to come close with every fiber of our creative beings. Because others need to feel what loving someone this much can possibly be like. Because I need to feel it.

I would never never trivialize this mother’s sacrifice by making her a fictional character in a book, or writing about that day anywhere but here. But I will write about love like this. Love for family and the future of lives that are too young and precious to be lost so young. I will write about the rescue workers’ reactions, when they came upon the scene and heard what had happened. The father, when he held his wife after the disaster, and saw the video she made in the rubble to say goodbye, meanwhile her unscathed son had run for help, to save his mommy. I will write about the amazing, limitless, powerful lives children lead if they’re given the gift of knowing they’re loved unconditionally by people who value them more than themselves.

After today’s news, I will write in my current WIP that you–

  1. Can do anything you have to do.
  2. Should live today like you would your last.

Whatever you write, however you write, won’t you join me?

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One Response to “How We Write: The Soul of the Matter”

  1. I always love it when someone shares their conclusions and how they got there in this way.
    Love your 1 & 2 and enjoyed following your journey to reach them.

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