Recently I was asked, "If you could define your writing career in terms of one of the stages of fire, which would it be and why?"
The short answer is "Embers".
Here is the long answer ...
- A small piece of burning or glowing coal.
- An ember is a glowing, hot coal made of greatly heated wood, coal, or other carbon-based material that remain after, or sometimes precede, a fire. Embers can glow very hot, sometimes as hot as the fire which created them.
In order to properly answer the question I think it is important to take a deeper look at the science of fire.
In order to make fire you need 3 elemental ingredients; fuel, air and heat. Take a single one away and the fire will automatically extinguish or not come into fruition in the first place.In my own way, my writing mimics this science.
To me, "fuel" equals the idea, "air" is the same as motivation, and "heat" is kin to passion.
Let me further explain.
Should you ever find yourself in a primitive survival situation in a position where you'd need to light a fire the steps would be as follows:
- Step one would be to find fuel. This would normally be wood or some combination of flammable material. As a writer, fuel is the kindling of an idea—the inspiration that hits which makes you want to tell a story.
- Step two would be to find a dry place and create heat. This would usually come in the form of friction. Every survivalist has his/her preferred methods: the bow drill, the hand drill, the two man friction method and few others. The main goal is to heat the "fuel" sufficiently enough to make the fire. In my writing writing life, passion is heat. The desire to tell the story burns inside me.
- Step three is to feed the fire with air. Once the first kindling—known as creating the ember—has started, it is the fire-maker's job to blow a stead flow of oxygen into the ember so that the fire catches. My oxygen is motivation. My motivation is to tell the best story I can.
Like fire, if any one of those three ingredients is missing then the fire will inevitably die.
Now, I will use the aforementioned science to explain why I see my writing career in terms of one of the stages of fire as ember.
You see, an ember can be a steady, long-lasting heat that pulses and throbs but never really dies out.
As will all things, it can be doused, if an element outside of the cycle is injected. Water, for example. For me, as a writer, an example of the the dousing mechanism would be something like writer's block.
There are moments when those embers turn into full blazes but even when those flames have died down, the continuous oscillation of the heat remains. Whether fully ignited, or sleepy but ready, my writing career and methodology is fixed and durable so long as the elementals are a mainstay.
I am embers.