There’s a scene in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women where Dr. Bhaer gives Jo feedback on one of her stories. He says, “Jo, there is more to you than this, if you have the courage to write it…You must write from life, from the depths of your soul!”
Every now and then when my hands begin to twitch and my jaw clenches from trying to force something into writing I think of this scene. And then I ask myself, am I writing from life? Am I writing from what I know to be true and good and real?
If the answer is no, I scrap it.
There’s too much in the depths of my soul to be wasting time writing what I don’t know. There’s too much beauty in the bay forest and the creek beyond my back door and the redwood outside my window. There’s too much wonder behind the stars that light my path at night. These are the things that I know. These are the things that are good. And these are the things I will write.