"The people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on that black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates. Takes root. Produces shoots, until one fine day I have a story or a novel." ~Diane Setterfield in The Thirteenth Tale.
I absolutely love this analogy. I have actually heard it before from a writing teacher. She told us that all the hurt, heartache, misery and difficulty we go through is really pure gold. It's what we use to create story. It's what we dig through to make our readers laugh, cry, or feel any other emotion we want to illicit.
Use your compost pile every chance you get. Let it live up to its potential. I used to feel like I was getting too old to be starting a new career, a new hobby, a new love, but writing fulfills me. Sometimes I think I should have started this venture a long time ago. Just think how good I'd be if I had. But then I remember one thing. It takes time for a compost pile to ferment. It takes days, weeks, and yes, even years to write the good stuff. Let it roll, folks. Don't be in such a hurry. Your day is coming. Let those yeasty, smelly, moldy goodies grow until you really need them. Then take them out, mold them, shape them, and watch them multiply!