On this date, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday participated in the Gunfight At The O.K. Corral in 1881. What does that have to do with your writing journey, quite a bit actually. Did you know it only lasted for thirty seconds? Did you know Wyatt Earp wasn’t the main figure of the gunfight? He was there, but his brother Virgil was Town Marshall. Plus, it wasn’t actually at the O.K. Corral, but on Fremont street six doors away.
Again, what does all this have to do with writing? Because it became famous, not due to the reports of the Earp family, or the Clantons, but a writer named Stuart Lake. The book he wrote was used as the inspiration for John Ford’s movie My Darling Clementine, and the 1957 film Gunfight At The O.K. Corral. Lake would also write for movies starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, and Jimmy Stewart.
One writer’s version of the story is the one that we all know. You may or may not be a fan of westerns, but I’m sure you see the impact words can have. By now in your writing journey, a little of the excitement may run the risk of wearing thin. If you’re asking yourself why you’re writing, or how you are going to complete it all, or why keep writing 500 words a day, think of this.
While your words may not spawn movies and television, it will affect both your loved ones, and the people you write for. What you have to share is important enough to keep writing, even on difficult days. Your story can make such a difference in other’s lives.
There is also another lesson to learn from Stuart Lake’s writing. While he did write some fictional works, what he is most famous for whether loosely or not, was based on a real event. He took a 30 second occurrence into the definition of the old west for generations.
It shows that there is power in our words. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. What you say and write does matter. It also shows that your story doesn’t have to be one that has never been told, but your version. I don’t mean you should take the liberties of some western tales, but that you can tell your version of something that matters to you.
Another example is the western movies we all remember. Many were based on some small event that sparked an idea. All you need to turn a spark into a story, is to steadily fan the flames of your writing. You do this by consistently continuing to write. It won’t be as exciting as A Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, but it could end up just as timeless.