Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Use It, Don't Lose It!

I once read in a book about a character who refused to use pain killers. He said he liked to store his pain away, claiming that he “had a use for it.”  Disappointingly, he never actually elaborated on what this “use” was.  Still, nonetheless, it got me thinking.

Was there something that I should have been storing away?

Oftentimes, when I am beginning to create a new character, I turn to my friends.  I look to their strengths and their quirks and the things that they say to find inspiration. I find that the best way to craft believable “breathing” characters is to borrow a little life from the people I love most. Not that any one character is based on any one person, but there will always be certain people close to my heart, and my heart will hopefully always be what shines in my writing.

Furthermore, there are times when I find myself running dry of inspiration and there are days when I get discouraged. There always seasons in my life where I can use a fond memory, a stashed-away smile, to help me find a fresh dose of creativity or to keep moving forward.

Because of this, I began to write down some of the things that I want to remember most.  It’s kind of like a journal, but it’s devoted solely to the things that my loved ones say and do.  That way, I will always have them stored away in the case that I need a smile or fresh dose of inspiration.  My writing can always use a fresh splash of color or a new dash of life and warmth, and most often, the most colorful, lively, and warm people I know are my friends.

Christmas is a special time of the year.  My friends are all home from college; I get to see the people I love that I don’t get to see throughout the rest of the year. So I write it all down and store it all away—all the conversations and adventures and laughs—because I do have a use for it, because I don’t ever want to forget.

So don’t let it be lost on you! Christmas only comes once a year.  I have found that the best way to write is from your heart—or else, it just sounds dry and mechanical and fake and empty.  And when you find yourself in need of a little inspiration, it’s often best to turn to the things that fill you heart.  For me, it’s people and the things that they do.  If it’s the same way for you, then make sure you don’t forget.  Store it all away—all the memories and the smiles—because one day, you may very well have need of it.

Merry Christmas!


Hannah Lokos is an author and exhausted sophomore in college.  Her book, Labyrinth of Lies, was released earlier this month and is currently available on Amazon.  It is an exciting new twist on a classic Greek myth. You can learn more about Hannah and her book at


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I've kept my special friends immortlized in an ongoing memoir since 1988.

We moved 17 times and then landed here in FL for 27 years now. I worked among the elderly. They told me their stories: veterans from WW I and WW II, Korea, Vietnam; housewives on the brink of early, strife-ridden careers. I've written memoirs for their families as well as for them, and kept every reference and conversation. They imparted hard won wisdom.

These loving friends will forever live in my memory and on the pages of my books.

Big Mike said...

The author accomplished his purpose. By not telling you everything, you had to imagine the possibilities.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Liz Fountain said...

That's another thing stories do for us - keep history, relationships, and memories alive.