A Writer’s Tool – Water

Slough on the prairies

A slough on the prairies.

I  never feel so many emotions inside as when I watch the water.  From the time I was young galloping across the prairies I have marvelled at the varying thoughts when I see water.  Yes – our farm had copious amounts of sloughs (insect infested waters, full of grasses and often drying up by fall in the dips and crannies).  But to see them on a clear day was to see the bluest of blue waters with sparkling fairies dancing on the rippling surface – a mystical dream.  To see them on a windy day – large enough to see ‘white-caps’ – a tiny power somewhat like the power of a child.  On a hot day – not wanting to get the itch (somewhat like measles if you dared swim in these waters) – I would ride my horse into a slough at a gallop.  The splashing water was a welcome relief from relentless heat.

As I grew older I visited the Great Lakes.  One of the most fascinating things I  watched was the huge ships climb the waters in the locks man has created.

Ship in Locks #2 Cornwall, Ontario

Ships climbing on the St. Lawrence River outside Cornwall, Ontario.

Then I saw the ocean and realized this was what water could teach me. The lazy, rolling waves giving me a feeling of peace, tranquility and calmness.

Thanks for books by Lori Lee

My niece’s ‘back door’. Calm and a special thank-you message she sent me.


The tide coming in – Tofino, Vancouver Island.

The roaring power of huge waves reveal a power and I feel an anger inside. Water has the ability to summon many emotions I require to write. I find watching water is a great method to summon those emotions.


Resources – Procrastination

Set goals (for example you are going to write one chapter a day in rough every day until the book is completed in rough draft).  Stick to that format once you’ve set your goal.  One of my favourite ways of procrastinating?  I set a goal of writing one hour each day, then decide I don’t feel like writing today so I will write two hours tomorrow.  Sometimes it might work but often tomorrow brings other reasons not to write.

george strait

Not just a singer – a real cowboy, George Strait.


I listen to music – the type that pertains to my stories.  In One Dance with A Stranger it was easy to listen to George Strait or Alan Jackson CD’s and be inspired.  If I was really stuck, I slipped on the movie – Pure Country and watched a gorgeous George for a while and my hero became clear in my mind.

Tofino - House on the beach

It is easy to visualize a house on a cliff by the ocean after watching the tide come in at Tofino.


If possible – visit the area of the setting for your story.  Summon up the area in your mind when ‘setting the scene’. I was going to place part of my story Seraphim in Princeton on the Sea, near San Francisco.  For various reasons I never seemed to go there. As I have visited Tofino, on Vancouver Island, it wasn’t a stretch to change the location to Tofino if I wanted a segment of my story beside the ocean.  The inspiration of crashing waves and spraying water helps my procrastination problems.

Sometimes a change is all that is needed.

If you are serious about writing a manuscript it is important to find tools and methods that inspire you.  If you suffer writer’s block (often an excellent reason to procrastinate) at some stage in your story, take a different direction if it goes on for days.  Sometimes a different direction is all that is needed.

I find researching something you really enjoy is also an excellent way to prevent procrastination.  My fault is too much research sometimes.  Especially when writing a historical, my imagination is unstoppable when researching.  It falls into my interests of cowboys, Indians and vast, untamed, beautiful western North America.  Researching my ancestors falls into that time of struggles, problems and building from emptiness and isolation.

The tools I use are research, visiting places I like, nature, music and researching. Everyone should discover what inspires them to write – not have excuses why you can’t.

 Good luck.

It Starts with You: – Nature

There are some who never take the time to connect with nature and there are some that are obsessed with nature.  Some believe humans are different and not a part of nature.  They believe people are only here to destroy nature.

Deer in the winter – grazing with no fear beside a residential house.


I believe we are a part of nature as surely as any other plants/animals are.  Some of my beliefs are not popular today.  God provides for humans just as he provides for other animals. If He provides rabbits for a wolf to eat, then so He provides plants and animals for a person to use.

My grandson and the waves of Tofino behind. Soon he will have to leave the beach as the tide comes in. It happens every day and has since the beginning of time.

This is a picture of trucks, including my husband’s truck waiting to load/unload in a man-made mine.  Some might see destruction..  I see the beauty as the sun reflects on man-made ridges.  I see man utilizing the offerings God provides.

When or if we believe that we can more easily connect with nature.  One of the best methods I use for relieving stress is to wander around in nature.  A flower growing from a crack in the concrete can give me a feeling of connection.

These are pictures of Deerfoot Trail and other roads when the Bow River showed it’s might in Calgary.   Respect it – or don’t.  In a short time the water will recede.

Even in a city, nature can be a part of your life.   You can work with nature or feel you can conquer it.

To feel: – Anger/Waves

Take a narrow, winding road through isolated mountains full of waterfalls, tall fir trees, moss and tough granite to a tiny town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The town of Tofino is unique in its stubborn ability to ignore modern progress. There is no Walmart, McDonald’s or even Tim Horton’s.  It a long stretch of lonely road to find those too. Tofino is a town most artists would love.

My first sighting of the ocean, in the off-season, was awe, followed immediately by a feeling of their rage.

I was shocked.  Normally I do not consider the sound of rolling waves lapping against the shore – anger. These waves neither rolled or lapped.  These were definitely waves fueled by anger.

The waves that crashed against  granite, wearing rocks away to pulverized sand made me feel they were pure, unbridled anger.  There is no way to stop their relentless destruction.  I was both fascinated and uneasy.  The towering waves smashing with a boom against the rocks with a hissing splash of water, flooding them were an absolute surety there are forces that can’t be stopped.  I realized the sands I walked on as the tide moved out and the holes and chips in the crags and rocks were caused by the power of the waves.  The longer I watched the more I felt their anger.

As a writer, when I need to summon the fury and power of anger, I close my eyes and see the waves of Tofino.  I feel it, I see it.  It is a sight once seen, that can never be forgotten.

The tide starting to come in.  Soon we must leave the beach or be swallowed by the rising waves.