Real Writing Stories returns for its second installment. This week, with the help of writer Forest Wells, I’m launching a new weekly feature called My Writing Day. Readers of The Guardian newspaper may have seen this before. A writer shares their average writing day—the process, the distractions, the strife, the achievements. The Guardian however looks at the writing days of more well-known writers only. They’re very insightful and inspirational pieces, but I think the stories of other writers at different stages in their journeys can be more interesting and relatable.
So without further a-do, here’s the writing day of Forest Wells.
My Writing Day: Forest Wells
The hardest part of writing for me is developing the discipline. I wish I was able to just sit and write, but more often than not, I have to work up to it. I’d love to blame my learning disability, but if I’m honest, that’s not all of it.
When I’m not working or going somewhere, I’ll often start by eating something, then running around the internet. E-mail, Facebook, Fantasy football team and/or professional League of Legends matches (during the respective seasons anyway). You can already see where I need some work at discipline.
However, often those same rounds are what I need to sort of centre myself. I have to get my thoughts running in a line, or I end up forcing it, and unlike the many who say “write something every day”, doing so has historically led to making it harder for me to write. I do think that’s because of my disability.
Once I am able to get things centred, it’s all about getting fully into the world I’m working with. More than just reloading details in my head, I need to slip into someone within the world. Be it a heavy-fighter pilot, a lonely dragon, or a wild wolf, I need to get myself into that world. I need to understand what it’s like to live there, so I can make life happen there.
This is relatively easy and instant. Often I can just go to where I left off, read a paragraph or two before, and I’m there. At the same time, I’m logging into the point of view character’s mind. What are they seeing, feeling, doing? I like to say I’m a method writer, because I try to imagine myself truly in the situation as if I were the character. I think that’s why I feel like I’m so good at emotion, because when I’m writing, I’m feeling what the character is feeling. When they’re fighting a war, helping a friend, or mourning the loss of a loved one, I’m there, in the moment, feeling those feelings. I’ve started using music tracks to help me get into the required emotion.
If I’m stuck, I’ll check my notes to see if the answer is there, which may include an image—found or commissioned—to help me picture the moment. If that fails, I’ll get up and just walk. I’ll pace back and forth in my living room, letting my mind chew through whatever it is that’s got me stuck. If that’s a bit of research, I hit the internet in search of it, which does sometimes lead to a rabbit hole, but I almost always come out with a better understanding of what I was looking for.
Because my writing is driven by emotion, I often get mentally drained by a section I’m working on. It’s then I let myself get lost in playing a game, or watching TV, anything to get my mind out of that moment, so I can recharge.
Forest Wells was first inspired by the events of 9/11. Though he didn’t know anyone involved, the day lit his passion for writing, beginning with poems of emotion, transitioning to works of fiction. Wolves, and really all wild canines, are his second passion, which Forest put into his first published short story The Line, as well as a longer young adult novel currently seeking publication.
When he’s not writing, you can find Forest cheering for the Los Angeles Chargers, the Arizona Coyotes, and either playing League of Legends, or watching the professional matches online. Forest currently lives in his hometown of Thermal California. For more information about Forest Wells, check out his website at www.forestwells.com, or on Facebook by clicking here.
If you’d like to share your writing day, please fill in the form below! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had a story published or whatever, the only important thing is that you’re a writer!