Simple thoughts on writing

I felt the winter sun on my face for four minutes today, and it felt glorious. I returned home just before it began snowing again for the eighth, maybe tenth, day in a row. My back aches from shoveling the mounds of snow pushed onto our driveway by the plows making their occasional sweep. I came inside after shoveling and brewed a cup of vanilla tea. I lit cone after cone of incense, picked from the white paper bag labeled Weihnachtsduft, the scent of Nรถel, and I sipped my steaming tea while I watched the curls of smoke rise from the cones. After I emptied my cup, I helped myself to a dried apple ring covered in dark chocolate. The flavors mingled, the bitter and the sweet.

I don’t know much about writing–you could fit my talent and skill set in the palm of your hand–but I know why I write. I write because for me, it is like having second sight. Writing allows me to live more fully through the senses. To taste the bitter and the sweet of life. I take it all in through my skin, and breathe it back out again on paper. On paper the story begins to make sense.

Years ago, I saw a commercial in which memories, captured in photographs, fluttered in the air around an artist while she talked about creativity. She likened creativity to capturing our memories and then waiting for that “magic” moment when they all come together to form a work of art. When I first saw the commercial I felt jealous. Really? It’s that easy? Collect, sift, wave the wand and poof! Instant art. I am incapable of such works of genius. The idea that art is talent with a hefty dose of magic held me back from writing for a very long time. I have since discovered that writing, or creating of any kind, requires a little bit of natural ability and a whole lot of hard work. There is no magic, unless you consider sitting in a chair for hours on end, while staring outside the window, only to scratch down a few sentences, an act worthy of Merlin.

I also discovered the commercial got a few things right. The quality of what comes out on the page is directly related to the quality of the experiences I put in. The music, the conversations, the movies, the food, the books, the poetry, the people, the change, the outdoor runs, the arguments,the scenery–everything I absorb through my senses settles into the deep. In the deep, they roll over one another, they duke it out, they lie down together and make love. And by marrying these experiences together, by drawing from the deep, and waiting in the chair and watching the smoke from the incense swirl–comes the art. It’s not magic, but it is mystery. Hard won, well fed, mystery.


I’m taking a few days this week to write about writing. I’ll be honest, it feels presumptuous. Kind of like I’m a little man standing behind a green curtain with a booming microphone, pretending to be something I’m not. The truth is, I write. I love writing, and sometimes you need to talk about the things you love. And also, I think we all need a break from posts in which I complain about my ridiculous seasonal schedule.

I want, and feel quite desperate for, your input on writing, creativity, and art this week. If you’d like to guest post, please let me know. I’d love to have you and your creative thoughts. If you have links to a post of your own, or someone else’s for that matter, please share it in the comments. Let’s have a conversation.



  • cindyj77

    Enjoyed this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ooo. Here we go…an invitation. I accept. (Quite gratefully) ๐Ÿ™‚ Come play with words with me… I am a sometimes blogger too. By the way, are you “Kimberly” or do you go by another handle in life? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • KimberlyCoyle

      I go by Kimberly, although my husband likes to call my alter ego Babs;) Thanks so much for stopping by, Kris. I’m off to visit your blog…

  • Hello, Kimberly – I am thankful that you mentioned this post on the [in]design group! I just read it and am moved to tears (I cry easily at beauty…) with your precious words… You put what I feel often so succinctly and sincerely… I peeked around your blog and now remember visiting here earlier this year from the ‘5MF’! ;-} I’m envious of the beautiful place in which you live! My cousins live In Switzerland, my son did a week of hiking there last year just before his 3rd deployment (that one to Afghanistan) and I was fortunate to have had a few days there back in 1972! Trivia. I’ve ‘subscribed’ to your blog and look forward to reading more from you. Lovely family, btw – ;-} My blog is geared more toward my paper-crafting (with a lot of writing about it), but I do have a couple sections of ‘writings’ included there and writing has been one of my passions since I was very young, back in the Neolithic era… ;-} Life got in the way of it for a long time, and now that I am Alone, I try to work it in more. I encourage You to continue and record about your children… They grow up and are gone sooo fast… Blessings to You and Yours –

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! So glad you popped in, and I’ll be sure to stop by your blog and see what creativity is stirring there too:)

  • I loved this and I too am SO glad you mentioned it on our {in}design group! I have two blogs… one for scrapbooking/photography/all things crafty… and one more geared toward writing – well, me writing – whatever it is that HE is showing me or saying to me… I so relate to your words here… your heart! I’d love to guest post – that is something I have yet to do but have been wanting to as I dive a bit deeper into ‘owning’ that title of a Writer! I write – always… but to say I am a writer… well – that is new for me!

  • I think in order to write material worthy of reading then the author has to draw on their life experiences. It seems not genuine if the author writes of that they have not known or experienced. I know imagination is great but to write about how something effects someone then you must have went through it. I think one that writes becomes a better writer the more they write. Being a good writer sometimes is better when you let the raw emotion out and not necessary in pretty prose. It is the rawness that often resonates with people.

    You write very well. You draw great pictures with your words too.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Raw definitely resonates, great point.

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  • You seem to me more like Dorothy (with your little dog, too).

    I just picked up a copy of “The Courage to Write,” by Ralph Keyes. I could use a dose of courage in my writing life – to let go of thinking that I need to know where I’m going (or think I do) before I set out, or it’s time wasted. I want to regain the joy of wandering and wondering. Thanks for the space to think out loud. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • KimberlyCoyle

      The wandering is the part of writing I worried about the most, but the more I write, the more I realize it’s nearly impossible to know where the piece is going until I sit with it and see where it takes me. I do feel a little bit like Dorothy, wandering an unknown path until I eventually arrive home. Her journey is a great metaphor for the act of writing:)

  • I wrote about writing today:
    Really, though, sitting for minutes upon hours just to get something small down is hard work.
    The other night, I’d been praying all day about writing and my blog. I felt God tell me to go clean the kitchen, but my mind reminded me that I had time for that later. And then I felt like I really really needed to clean the kitchen. Every time I wanted to sit down and stop, I felt prompted to do more. Wash every dish. Clean out the dishwasher. Put everything right in its place. And I felt God whisper to my soul, Sarah, this is like what I’m asking you to do with writing. Some of it just work for now. But you must finish fully, and settle in for the work that it takes. It’s weird, but so true. It can be work to flesh out even something we feel is a gift or a calling.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Thanks for your thoughts. You remind me how much worth there is in simply sitting down and doing the work. Regardless of the outcome.
      Heading over to read your post…

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  • I find here some important tips for writing well. I also discovered the commercial got a few things right. The quality of what comes out on the page is directly related to the quality of the experiences skills. ..

  • Carol D. Angeles

    Writing sometimes is quite difficult to do, I got used to write huge fanfics but for an half a year ago I just can`t write something interesting. I was trying over and over, but no result at all. All I write was just something “uninteresting” at all. I know one lifehack to help me from time to time – music. Music helps a lot. Few month ago I was writing about small stories (fantasy of some sort) so if you interested you could check it out here:

    • Hi Carol! I’m so glad you’ve found a muse that works for you! I wish I could listen to music when I write–I get all mixed up with the lyrics and my own words. Sometimes instrumental works for me:)