It’s no secret that everyday experiences are fodder for writers. Readers relate to everyday experiences. Often, though, we writers think we’ve exhausted all our everyman material, and have nothing to write. Such thinking is nonsense. Right off the cliched top of my head, I can think of a well-known example where writing success has been the result of making something out of nothing: Seinfeld (the “show about nothing”).
Perspective is the key for us writers. Contemplating the minutia of our lives, through perspective, we realize there is no minutia in life. We simply need to appreciate the Butterfly Effect, and examine the various facets of each seeming nothing. Consider tying your shoes. Minutia? Nothing? I think not. Tying shoelaces is a learned skill, an intellectual endeavor. Unwittingly, by teaching my children the “bunny ear” technique of tying, I had taught them incorrectly according to my husband who, of course, does it the “correct” way. Other aspects of this nothing that a writer might address include untying knotted laces and, conversely, knotting broken laces together as a means of repair. What about the option of Velcro-fastened shoes and slip-ons? The innumerable times we have tied shoes in our lives constitutes a further facet of this nothing (as an Early Childhood educator, I have tied more than the average person).
Having perspective where a nothing is concerned can be profitable. As I sat in church, my attention was diverted by my three-year-old daughter entertaining herself with a pair of children’s scissors and some paper that I had provided. She stood in front of the folding chair next to mine, and entertained herself quietly during the service. Noticing that simple activity, and writing about it later, resulted in my article, “God’s More Capable Hand,” selling to three publications…so far.
Yes, writing something out of nothing is similar to making a mountain out of a molehill. I’ve been able to do that effortlessly all my life. Move over, Seinfeld!
A freelance author based in Wisconsin, Rebecca MacKenzie’s work has been purchased by dozens of publications, including writing, parenting, teaching and Christian magazines. An award winning essayist, she also writes short stories and poetry, which have been included in anthologies and literary journals. Herwriting also includes religious studies curriculum.