What to Write

Riding on a train many years ago, I glanced at a woman with a Mona Lisa smile. She gazed at me, but I did not engage with her. I continued scanning the passengers. A young couple, very much in love, was deeply involved in a conversation. An older man stared out the window.

Contained on that one passenger car was a microcosm of humanity. Lives were playing out before my eyes. Did I write about any of the people I saw? I did – in a college theme.

I wrote about the woman with the Mona Lisa smile, who wore a nun’s habit and looked very self-possessed. Inventing her entire persona, I used my imagination to provide her with a vibrant life.

My point?

Many people ask me what to write about. They may have an idea, but they don’t know where to start.

What I’m suggesting is that you begin with a character, someone you’ve seen or know or remember. This can work for non-fiction writing, too. Unless you’re writing a list of items, using a character’s story always enhances the point you’re making.

So begin with someone memorable. But, just begin.

This is a fitting way to start the New Year. Begin.

Happy New Year – and every year!



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