I hope March is finding all you insecure writers well. This month, I want to talk about the need to get out of my own damn way. I have been working on my “House” project for about a year and, essentially, getting nowhere fast. I have written two partial drafts of the story and restarted from the beginning more times than I’d care to admit. I have rewritten the outline. I’ve played with points of view. I’ve put it aside and come back to it. Nothing was working.
Then – I both listened to The Girl On The Train (if you haven’t read this book yet, it is awesome) and recommended Olive Kitteridge to a friend last week. A light bulb flickered on in my tiny brain. I was looking at the “House” from the wrong angle. It is not a linear narrative. It is a series of inter-related short stories. Once I saw that, the story is falling into place and blossoming. The words are flowing again.
Why am I telling you this? Because, I could have saved myself a ton of time if I stopped banging my head against the wall and trying to shoehorn the story into the shape I originally planned. I let the “should”s and “has to”‘s in my ego fueled brain win speak louder than the characters voices. I tried to dictate what the characters were saying and doing, and they essentially sat down and refused to budge. I needed to get out of the way and let the story tell itself. This is a lesson I have to learn over and over again with each project.
Do you get in your own way? Do you stick to your original plans long after they are no longer useful? Are you able to let a story grow organically from a seed of an idea? How can you tell when you need to change your plan?
I look forward to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts every month. I love how honest and supportive this community of writers are. I encourage you to visit the other participating bloggers and see what is going on in their writing rooms.
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly blog hop to lend support to a growing community of writers. I encourage you to go to Alex Cavanaugh’s excellent blog and join in. if you click on the logo above, it will take you to the list of participating blogs.