The Writer’s Honey

“Like bees who by instinct go from flower to flower gathering honey, writers, merely by being alive, are constantly gathering ideas and impressions—their honey—which eventually will lodge somewhere in some book….”

——Eleanor Estes

I really like this quote. Why? Because it’s so true. Writers are constantly gathering ideas and impressions that eventually will make it into their writing in one form or another.

Reading this quote I was reminded of the morning many years ago when I awoke to hear a chorus of cedar waxwings in the apple tree outside my bedroom window. I looked out to see them frantically eating the apple blossoms, something I’d never seen before. It shouldn’t come as any surprise then, that a similar scene showed up in Bitter, Sweet as I was writing it. It wasn’t anything earth shattering but it fit in well with the story and helped set up for the scene where Jesse shoots the porcupine and they eat it for their supper.

One of the secrets in writing (and there are many) comes from breathing new life into everyday happenings. Look for something new in the familiar. When I wrote that scene about the apple blossoms, by adding the cedar waxwings it gave the scene a whole new look. I wasn’t simply describing the pretty apple blossoms. There was actually something happening.

Some people might think they haven’t experienced enough throughout their lifetime and therefore have nothing to write about that would be of interest to others. In fact I’ve heard that complaint before. “I want to write but I have no idea what” or “My life is boring, who would want to publish anything I wrote?”

But we all have unique life experiences that make up who we are and what’s important to us. We have all experienced, happiness, sorrow and joy. But we experience life through our own eyes. And no two sets of eyes see the same thing, nor do we feel our emotions in the same way as someone else.

When we write, or create in any way, a part of each one of us goes into that creation.  I like the thought that my ideas and impressions will eventually lodge somewhere in a book. How about you? Do you agree with what Eleanor Estes says? Does your honey make it into your writing?

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8 Comments

  1. Oh, I do like that quote, Laura! It is like that for us, isn’t it? We take all these little details in, then drop them in here and there as we write, sometimes by design, sometimes subconsciously.

    Reply
    • It really says so much, doesn’t it, Linda? And you made a good point. Sometimes we do drop in these little details without realizing it.

      Reply
  2. It’s inevitable that life will spill over into our writing. Even if our experiences seem mundane their details will still bring realism into it and enrich the words, as you found with the birds and blossoms.

    Reply
    • I think too, this helps answer the question that many non writers ask, “Where do you get your ideas?” Each piece of writing is made up of many small ideas. Adding these small tastes of honey really helps to sweeten our writing!

      Reply
  3. Sometimes I think I’m missing out on real life because I’m so busy re-writing the current one. Seems I can’t even go to the park without mentally writing a story that happened while there — which nothing did happen, but the way I tell it much happened.

    Reply
    • I guess that means you have a wild and vivid imagination, Tricia, and that’s a good thing for a writer to have. :) You’ve been getting a lot of your work out there.. I’m so happy for you! Loving your stories…

      Reply
  4. Cedar waxwings???? Sounds like something from Wilbur & Orville Wright – befor Kitty Hawk. (Ever been there? The Outer Banks of North Carolina are beautiful.)

    My honey was very upset when I included her in my first book (the character Nan) but yes, I have to say, my “honey” made it into my writing.

    Seriously – way too much of my real life goes into my writing. (I walked through the snake infested grasses of Rattlesnake Island before writing about it. What can I say – I’m crazy.)

    Will Q Tips take care of cedar waxwings???

    Reply
    • Yes Dave, a Q-tip will take care of cedar waxwings—a very big Q-tip, might I add…This is something to keep in mind…lol

      So you actually put your “honey” into your first book…Wow, brave man..

      I think I’d rather watch some waxwings from my bedroom window then walk through snake infested grasses…You really are BRAVE. And I’m totally impressed!

      Reply

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