I found the following in an old journal, written during a trip to Fort Robinson, Nebraska. It reminded me of why I love writing. Just a few words – but ones that captured my thoughts and feelings.
The birds are always singing. As I gaze out at the bluffs, I can imagine how this rolling pine hill country must have looked a century ago. Today, Elms line Officer’s Row, but in the time of Crazy Horse it was Cottonwoods that provided the cool shade. Now, the leaves seem to have a reflective surface, catching the look of the wind. Not far down the road is the Old Red Cloud Agency where I wanted to walk to see a sky that was blacker than black.
I lost myself in the streaming band of the Milky Way, starting far in the south, flowing through Sagittarius then flinging itself across the broad expanse of the sky as if a stargazer waved her hand and magic poured from her fingertips. Staying in place, perfectly, since the night she placed it there. Like the Indians who once walked this ground, I found myself creating my own constellations and legends – as would anyone who had access to this sky. This perfect sky on this perfect night.
The majority of the magazine articles and web content I used to write weren’t about topics I love. In fact, most were on topics that I had no hand in choosing. As a fulltime freelance writer, this was my business model and it worked just fine.
But now, 29 books and countless articles later, I’m at a place in my life – and my business – that I’m being challenged to take a hard look at the work I produce. Do I want to wrap up my career writing what I’ve always written? Or do I want to go out on a very skinny limb and try something totally new? I opt for the latter.
Starting September 2 (coincidentally, my birthday) I’m jumping feet-first into a novella that’s been whirling around my mind for a couple of years. My goal is to tweet my progress daily, so please hold my feet to the fire on this one. Be looking for #nancywritesanovella. I’m @nhendrickson1 over on Twitter.
But returning to the question of writing what we love. I can honestly say that when I wrote magazine articles for which I had a passion, they were some of the best work I ever produced. However, I have no idea if I’ll love writing fiction. Honestly, I could reach September 7 or 8, and say “this is for the birds”.
In case you missed it, Tom Hanks’ app – the HanxWriter – topped the iTunes charts last week. What does it do? It emulates the look and sound of a typewriter. It even chimes when you reach the end of a line. Fortunately, unlike a real typewriter, it also features a delete key.
The app is free, with in-app purchases ranging from $2.99 to $4.99. The purchases will get you another 2 models (the Hanx 707 and the Hanx Golden Touch) along with a different font style.
If you’re of a generation that misses the clickety-clack of typewriter keys, you’ll love this app. I do, but (alas) I only gave it a 3-star rating in the app store. That’s because it only allows saving in a PDF format. . . . keep reading