What Did You do Today, Writers? Tell Us About It

Jordan Dane


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Lately I’ve had a lot of personal things happening that have been a distraction from my writing. Some are good distractions, while others are more of a black hole, as if I’m walking in a fog some days.

Today I will be at a home inspection. Yes, I am buying a new home. Home buying can be a scary prospect, as well as a spark of hope for a new beginning. It can be especially scary when it comes to looking at mortgages, I was lucky that my friend told me about something like Money Expert so at least I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m getting the right mortgage. But I have been thinking about other things. I haven’t been able to sleep much lately with thoughts of “nesting” in my head. I’m not one to second guess my decisions, but I can see how taking this step could spiral a person into self-doubt.

Buying my home might represent leaving the past behind or it could be taking a metaphorical leap off a cliff that I may or may not be ready for. It could mean putting down roots that I wasn’t sure I could do on my own, or it might be a way of setting a firmer foundation for the rest of my life, or my new home can be a gathering place for my friends and family (meaning that I am opening my life to others).

I’m buying what I hope will be my last home, a place where I can retire comfortably. Another thing on my list today is meeting with my parents. I’ll show them the house then take them for breakfast. A facet of this day’s adventure is that my folks are considering selling the family home and looking into their options going forward. They are still teaching me life lessons as they age and I may be showing them how to let go by my home adventure. I expect today will be life changing in a quiet meaningful way for the three of us.

So you see? As a writer, I can read into so many things. I can write this scenario any number of ways for a story. How much do I give a glimpse into my personal life if I were to thread this reality into a character of mine? That’s the fun part of writing for me. Is it for you? How much of your life experiences do you weave into your stories? Or do you purposefully stay away from anything too close?

Another aspect to this story could be that I’m buying a home from a previous tenant. Who were they? Is there a mystery that surrounds their life? What clues could they leave behind for me to find? This property has an amazing terraced garden. I can feel the love of the gardener in every rare plant grown with such care. It makes me want to plant my own contributions with as much thought and diligence, so that I can pass the love on to the next “gardener.” I have a plan to create a beautiful garden storage space when I thought “garden site sells timber storage” spot on.

The point to sharing this tidbit with my TKZ family is that it can be important to remember how even the mundane aspects of your life can hold a story. This is one thing I am doing today that can turn into a story in books ahead.

So I’ll give you a homework assignment. I’d like you to jot down what you did today, right down to what you ate for lunch and where you ate it. Then pick something from your list to share what might make a good story, similar to how my home inspection launched a range of emotions in me.

Go on, TKZers. Share your day with me.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

42 thoughts on “What Did You do Today, Writers? Tell Us About It

  1. A simple favor, a trip to the bank to help my sister navigate in Spanish. She needed to deposit a check and change the name on her bank account because her husband died in November.

    Something she says to the bank manager makes me wonder: did she kill her husband?

    Not my sister. Not the girl I grew up with. No.

    • Wow, Sheryl. You are definitely a writer. We let our minds drift into dark places, all for the sake of a good story. I think the writer brain is like a muscle that you have to keep stretched and limber.

  2. Great “prompt” idea~! Reminds me of something my recently late dad told me when I was 13 or so, about to go under the knife for an appendectomy ~ “Pay attention~ you never know where an idea may be hiding.” (Not that an appendectomy is an everyday thing, especially for a 13 year old – unless you’re a [much older] surgeon).
    It seems to have stuck, as many bits and pie es get jotted down through the day for use later… (and it seems to be the way some songwriters work~ Jimmy Buffett for example- what “mundane” thing holds a secret story… )
    I’ll be back… (fair warning…)

    • Go enjoy your day, G, and report back. Your comment reminded me of Stephen King, how he takes mundane items and makes then scary. That turkey carving knife in Misery came to mind. Eek.

      Looking forward to hearing from you later.

    • Well, as warned (or threatened?), I’m back…

      The day was “another in a series at the day-job”, but two pieces, one in passing, stand out as nuggets around which something might be wrapped: a guy on the street whp appeared to be selling newspapers, when in fact he was using the headline to ” street preach” about I the injustice of the events described. Like Mr. Bell (below), this guy may remain in the wings, waitin g for his cue…
      Number 2 was picking the youngest up at the airport as he came in from college for Easter~ the mayhem that is passenger pick-up at ATL could be a story in and of itself, but the other things, the air traffic,, the waiting, the reunion ~ set ups for back story and symbolism, if not the main event itself.
      I could (and have been known to) go on, but a new day’s bits-n-pieces await ~

  3. Wonderful, thought-provoking post, Jordan! My most five hours of the last eight were spent on the red-eye from Los Angeles to Boston. I was trying to sleep, but it was extremely turbulent (to Yours Truly, the Nervous Flyer). I had just fallen into a fitful sleep when I heard an odd thump coming from the right side of the plane. In a very calm voice, captain announced, “Well folks, you may have noticed that we’ve lost the starboard engine. No worries, this bird can fly all night on one.” A pause. Then, “There we go. Got it goin’ again.” Then I went back to sleep, and dreamed I was in California and we were having a 7 point earthquake that swallowed much of my house.

    As we arrived in Boston, I awoke and actually couldn’t tell if the engine part of the “adventure” had happened. I asked the flight attendant if we’d lost one of the engines briefly during the flight. She looked appalled, brought another flight attendant over to reassure me everything was fine, and said, “Please don’t manifest that happening in real life,” like I’d put a curse on the plane.

    I think there’s a story in there somewhere, like the one I saw on Night Gallery, where a nervous flyer is the only one who can see the gremlin monster lurking outside on the wing, tearing up the engine. The nervous passenger gets hauled away to the psych ward, but not before shooting the monster and saving everyone on the plane.

    Yes, I’m a drama queen. ⭐️

    • P.s., in describing the earthquake swallowing my house, I am not casting an evil spell on your new house, lol! Congratulations on putting down roots–grow a beautiful, thriving new garden and life in your new nest, Jordan!

    • Sounds like the pilot might have attempted an April Fools joke, with a sick sense of humor. Weird tale, Kathryn.

      It’s odd where our minds go in that twilight sleep thing we all seem to share. That tween place definitely holds stories.

      I remember taking a nap and could’ve sworn I was awake when I felt someone in the room with me. They sat on the bed. I felt it move. My heart hammered as I held my breathe, unable to open my eyes, not wanting to. There was no one else in the house. To this day I call on that experience to describe fear and how it manifests in a person. Very odd, yet it felt so real.

    • I remember that Night Gallery episode of the gremlin on the wing. It still gives me shivers.

      • That was actually a Twilight Zone, Julie, one of the most famous episodes. It starred William Shatner, and was based on a short story by Richard Matheson, who also did many TZ scripts. I remember the first time I saw it as a kid. The part where Shatner whips open the curtain….ahhhhh!

        • My all time favourite shiver-producer, though, has to be the one where the obsessive, poor-sighted reader is so desperate to get time alone to read that he locks himself inside a vault, but when he comes out the city has been destroyed and so have his glasses. He now has all the time to read alone but can’t.

  4. Congratulations on your new home, Jordan! That is so exciting.

    My day, today, consists of buying eggs to paint for Easter tomorrow, followed by a Celebration of Life for the mother of a friend. They have an interesting story, as they came over from Scotland together, just the two of them, to start a new life in Canada. How brave and scary was that for a young woman to bring her child to a different country, to live amongst strangers and start from scratch? It turned out well for them…but what if it didn’t? A whole story could arise from the trials of finding a place to live, finding work, being vulnerable to exploitation, perhaps being stalked because she is alone with only a young son to protect her…possibilities! Life is endless possibilities.

    • Thanks for the good wishes, Julie.

      Omg, a celebration of life. What a gift to participate in. And yes, imagine the courage. Wow. I love your story spinoff. Great idea. It could be a period piece or contemporary. Love it. Very relatable.

  5. Great post, Jordan. Everything in life is material, if we make it so. I simply can’t help it. Yesterday I went to a Subway for a sandwich and there was a tall kid who looked fresh out of high school, kind of befuddled, being trained. The trainer looked like a drill sergeant. I couldn’t help slipping inside the kid’s head. I remembered my own befuddled self and my first job when I was in high school, ushering at a movie theater. I could have written a scene then, but my Veggie Delite was ready and I was hungry. But that kid is now on my “bench” for casting purposes, should I ever need him!

    • I bet you really have a fluid mind that easily slips into stories, Jim. I bet your fun at cocktail parties too.

      Your story reminded me of a guy on twitter who happened to sit at a table next to another poor guy on a first date in a restaurant. The twitter guy sent countless tweets on this epic fail of a date, every awkward conversation tidbit was immortalized. Not very sensitive, but it makes a social commentary, doesn’t it…and a potential story idea?

  6. “Home buying can be a scary prospect, as well as a spark of hope for a new beginning.”

    So true. My wife and I found out the hard way that when you sign with an agent, they represent the seller, not you. Yes, the seller has an agent, but unless you hire an exclusive buyer’s agent, you risk dual agency.

    • Good advice. Mike. Here in Texas, the realtor have documents that make it clear who is being represented…and it can definitely be scary.

  7. Good luck with the home buying and may the inspection go well, Jordan. My full-time job is running an inspection company and it was writing a book on inspection for home sellers that got me writing in the first place. That I just got that book done says something about the seductiveness of fiction, though.
    Today will be a light day – one inspection for a male nurse buying a home for a daughter going to school at the University of Idaho. Then, a phone call with a running coach, followed by a conference call with the State Home Inspector Advisory Board that I was appointed to a few years back. A run for myself, which is where a lot of ideas pop for me, then home alone as my sweetie heads up to help a daughter who’s juggling family, two kids under three, and her junior year in electrical engineering. I’ll be babysitting a dog who’s slowly fading and typesetting the home inspection book that hit #1 in it’s Kindle category last week.

    Will there be any stories in all that? Maybe, but probably not. Lots of characters though, each with a subtle nuance that makes them unique. For the home buyers, it’s a stressful environment and I’ll see facets of their personalities they normally keep hidden. My job in inspection isn’t just the forensics of the home, but a little cultural anthropology figuring out why changes were made, and a lot of counseling to help my clients stay on an even keel, at least regarding decisions about the house.

    Can you tell I’m more character-driven than plot-driven?

    • I love your character driven view. I connect with stories that way too.

      I chuckled at your first book being centered on your occupation. Mine was accounting/finance and I couldn’t imagine “write what you know” there. But I can envision a house inspector finding all sorts of stories.

      The other day I watched a renovation show where the people found a message in a pop bottle buried behind a wall. Imagine what that message could be if you’re a writer.

  8. Just got back from spending two hours at the DMV. My son is getting his permit. To say I am of mixed emotions on that doesn’t begin to describe it.
    We sat there in the waiting area, and I have to admit they handle the crowd about as well as it could be handled. Time still dragged on. I had brought a book and a notebook, and spent a little time on my WIP. The room was full of people either checking their phones for texts or staring into space. There’s very little talking, just a lot of sitting and staring.
    Finally they called my son’s number. “C214 on window 11.” I stood up and shouted, “Bingo!” Some people looked at me like I was crazy, some as if I’d just committed a terrible social faux pas, but most just ignored me. Nobody laughed.
    We went up to the counter and gave the bored, balding bureaucrat Max’s birth certificate. His Social Security card. My license. His certificate of completing driver’s training.
    “His certificate of high school enrollment?” the guy asked.
    “I’m sorry, what?” I said.
    Max said, “Oh, I forgot that.”
    Well, the schools are all closed until Tuesday, so we’re out of luck for now. The guy filled out the rest of the forms and said to come back next week. The paperwork isn’t going anywhere.
    And neither is Max, at least for another week.

    • I would’ve laughed, John. Ha!

      Son getting DL for first time is chocked full of storylines, serious and funny. You have a good eye for stories.

  9. It’s a busy day here. On top of the trip to the DMV, we have a overnight guest, my wife’s best friend who we haven’t seen in two years. She is driving cross country from L.A. to her new home in Tennessee and rerouted slightly to pay us a call.
    We hadn’t expected her until later in the day, but it seems around midnight last night she got thrown out of her motel in east Texas for complaining about the loud noises and people banging on her door. Somehow or other the night clerk decided it was all her fault. Police were called. She was given five minutes to pack up and get off the property. So she rolled into town, pulled into our driveway and fell asleep. I noticed her truck when I got up at 6 a.m. and tapped on the window, causing her to jump as high as you can jump in the cab of a pickup.
    That may seem unusual. But you’d understand if you knew that this is the same woman who several years ago got detained by TSA and missed her plane flight because of a box with tutus for my two daughters.
    Surround yourself with interesting people, and interesting things happen.

    • The thing is, John, you can say all your friends are the odd ones, but when the common denominator is YOU, you gotta look in the mirror. #Truth

  10. Hey! It’s my birthday! I’m 73 and still rockin’. So I made pancakes with raspberries and huckleberry syrup. It snowed this morning. Now the sun is out and it’s time for a cigar on the deck with a glass of El Jimador. Whoo-hoo! Then it’s back to editing.

  11. My day so far:
    I was awakened earlier than usual this morning by my feral cat turned pet peeing on my head. Let me clarify. I was dreaming, when suddenly I felt the flow of warm urine hitting my head, my (long) hair, my new down pillow, my sheets, and, as I stood up, the added treat of it dripping through my hair and down onto my body and nightgown. I was in the shower in 30 seconds flat. I didn’t even stop to turn on the heat. I will be doing laundry all day. Oh, and changing out all the bedding. Please, someone feel free to use this as a comic scene somewhere.

    Now I am sitting at my computer, planning the trip to Turkey in June I booked yesterday. Yes, I got a ticket to Europe during the high season with frequent flyer miles. I intend to use part of this trip for research for a writing project I am currently conceiving/planning/outlining.

    Breakfast was leftover pizza (yum!!). Since it’s not even noon yet I haven’t had lunch.

    • Hard to top a cat pee rain shower, Catfriend. Given your blog name, it makes me appreciate your tolerance.

      Have fun on your turkey trip. I definitely want to hear about that, with pictures, after you get back. Wow.

  12. Just now checking my email, and enjoyed your post, Jordan. A couple of weeks ago I had my hearing tested and discovered that I have severe hearing loss. So this morning at 9 a.m. I was fitted with new hearing aids for both ears. The rest of the day has been a shock.

    It is like I have super hearing now. I can hear things I never thought about before, like my own breathing, my shoes squeaking on floors, all the rattles in my car, and for that matter, all the rattles in me.

    I ate lunch at a café where I have been a regular for years, and it was a totally new experience. Usually, if I dine alone, I just read my Kindle as I eat. Today I couldn’t read to save my soul. All I could hear were the conversations in the booths all around me. Easter plans, talk about how a job interview went, talk about kids in school, And one couple trying to make up for an argument last night.

    The conversations were mostly a confusing mess, with distinct tidbits breaking through. I could hear what people were ordering, The workers in the kitchen talking back and forth, and the traffic outside. It was like I had microphones wired at each table piped into headphones.

    I go back next week to have these things adjusted. I don’t know if they are too loud or I just have missed hearing all this normally. But what if I overheard conversations that wouldn’t want to be overheard? My writer’s imagination went wild today. Either that or I was beating back the overwhelming urge to go hide in a cave.

    Next month I’ll get cataract surgery on both eyes. Talk about stimulus overload.

    • You’re bionic, Dave. Loved your writerly description of the hearing aid experience. I’d never heard it described so well. Hang in there and keep your writer hat on as you go through this. The things you’re experienc ing may end up in a book.

  13. Tears, phone calls, and making arrangements for my husband’s funeral filled my day. Some day I may be able to work gut-wrenching heartache into my writing, but not now.

    • Oh, Vivian. I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you. I went through the same experience last year with my husband. Broke my heart. I understand the kind of heavy pain that’s too personal to write about. Take things a day at a time. It will get more tolerable with time, even though it doesn’t seem that way now. You’re in my prayers.

  14. I was stuck home most of yesterday since our house is being painted and all the doors and windows were covered over in plastic. It’s a weird feeling to be shut in like this. So I worked most of the day, with a brief excursion to boring places like the supermarket and post office. Not much fodder there for a story, unless when the plastic comes off, there’s a different world out there…..

    • Your story reminded me of a scary tale I’d seen, maybe a Twilight Zone, where someone was stuck in a house as vines wrapped tighter & tighter around the house. Yeah, writers can conjure anything.

  15. Good luck with your decision and turning this page in your life, Jordan! I’ll be thinking of you as I, too, move to a new city and new apartment. Change is rejuvenating, I think – once we get over the exhaustion of actually making the decision, then packing up, moving, and unpacking! I hope you love your new digs and have family and friends over for a house-warming! 🙂

    • Thanks, Jodie. I connected with this home immediately. It says family & friends to me. The inspection went really well. The inspector said the property has many upgrades and thinks I got it for a steal. I’m very excited and can’t wait for the next phase of moving in and laying claim. Thank you.

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