How To Get Out of Your Own Way
A post in Terrible Minds last month had me green with envy. For those of you who are not familiar with Chuck Wendig and his most excellent writing advice, be forewarned – he does not mince words. He doesn’t sugar coat and he doesn’t wrap you up in warm fuzzy bunny slippers and a cloud blanket and tell you it will be okay. But what he does do is give it to you straight, and most of the time, say the thing you know deep down to be true.
In the post last month, someone wrote in and said that he didn’t have a problem with the idea for a story, or the spewing out of tens of thousands of words. His problem was more in the unfolding of the story. He would get ten thousand words in and realize he had no idea where to go with it.
First, let me say… I am jealous! I seem to get stuck with the initial ideas and finding time to get the words down. At least that is what I tell myself. After reading Chuck’s response and giving the whole idea/problem a lot of thought, I am realizing that maybe I do have ideas, I just dismiss them as bad ones before ever putting pen to paper.
Am I alone in this?
For some reason, I have led myself to believe that “real writers” have ideas that spring from their minds fully formed and that ergo, I am not a real writer. My ideas come to me in hazy blips and fizzles. I don’t bother writing them down because I don’t see their potential. If they do not come to me all fleshed out in three acts and tied in a pretty bow, I haven’t been giving them the time of day.
So maybe, I shouldn’t be jealous of this random writer’s ability to spit out idea after idea, but rather I should envy his belief in each germ of an idea. Here is a writer who takes a little baby idea and kicks out ten thousand words before proclaiming it to be a non-story. Maybe if I could give myself that kind of space and leeway, I could find that my non-story ideas can be cultivated, watered and allowed to rest in the sunshine, and maybe given enough time and energy they will sprout into full-fledged stories…
This might be a game-changer. This might be my way through to the “tangle of thorns in which we find ourselves happily ensnared!”
Mr. Wendig’s post went on to address the writer’s issue – story idea vs. plot. And happily – I learned at the end that there is a new book on the horizon to address this very thing. Coming next year – Damned Good Story by Chuck Wendig!