Up at 5:00 AM to go fishing. (I love fishing and I've got my Angler Management and my Fishouflage t-shirts to prove it!)
Just after sunrise, I'm dangling my feet off the edge of the boat so that the soles of my boots are just above the water. (This was before hubby mentioned the Gator. More on that to follow.) As I enjoyed a slight breeze and early morning sun on my face, I casted cast after cast and considered how similar fishing and writing are.
You don't just GO FISHING. You have to get a lot of things in place to be able to go fishing. Boat, trolling motor, trolling motor battery (man, that sucker's heavy), fishing rods, lures, catch basket, etc.
Hubby got most everything ready the night before, so all I, still sleepy-eyed and groggy, had to do this morning was fumble into my clothes and waterproof hiking boots.
Still, I'd even gotten the clothes and boots ready the night before.
So, I'm thinking to myself, You wouldn't go fishing without at least a fishing pole and a lure or some kind of bait.
SO -- this is where the writing part comes in -- why would you expect to just "write." Most writer's have heard the saying, "Writer's write," and of course writer's do write, but for me, just like for fishing, I need to do a few things to be prepared to write.
Like sketching out a bit of what the stories about, perhaps using Jennifer Crusie's the Not-Really-An Outline for Plots, filling out index cards using a few words to description of each possible scene, and writing a brief paragraph about what I will be writing about for the day. These three things have given me a direction that I've been missing in my writing life.
So today, just like when I'm going fishing, I'm prepared to write.
As I was considering these outstanding -- at least in my sleep-deprived early morning state it seemed to be -- comparisons of fishing and writing, hubby begins to talk about a previous visit to the lake.
"We were coming over the dam," Hubby said. "And we saw the gator just over there."
"Gator?" I lifted my feet and rested my boot heels on the edge of the boat.
"Maybe seven or eight feet long."
"There's an alligator in here? In this lake?" I asked, tucking my boots under my seat.
"I doubt he'll even come out during the day."
A few minutes later, from another boat, my hubby's friend called out, "Did you see him?"
"See what?" Hubby asked.
"You didn't see him? You just floated right past where the gator was."
Needless to say, BEFORE the gator sighting, we caught several fish. AFTER, not so much.
During our fishing, hubby caught a couple of Goggle Eyes, which is a fish that's body looks like a brim and its head and mouth look like more like a bass. It looks as if it's all put together wrong and is considered by most folks to be an "ugly" fish.
Hubby also almost caught a Gar. Gar's have a long snout and their mouths are filled with needle-like teeth. Yeah, fish with teeth, in the lake where I'm fishing.
"Why don't you tell me these things before we get on the water?"
"I know you like fishing so much." Hubby grinned that boyish grin of his. "I just wanted you to be able enjoy your fishing."
Well, all righty then.
As I write over the next few months, I may encounter oddities and uglies like those Goggle Eyes or get stuck in a scene or tangent off course, and, of course, that bites just like a Gar, and something unknown may surface from my imagination or come up during the process, like that Gator lurking in a hideaway along the bank or in the water. Hungry. Waiting. Stalking. (Enough of that! Shudder.)
One thing's for sure, as I go along, I WILL be on the lookout for and prepared for, as best I can, those Google Eyes, Gars, and Gators, Oh My!