I’ve always thought of March as a blustery month. If you’ve ever read the book Winnie to Pooh or have had it read to you, you probably remember one of the first scenes where Winnie the Pooh was describing the day as being blustery, full the whirlwinds dancing on the ground. This March has been filled with winds, both the literal kind and the figurative ones. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so skittish.
My writing has come to a standstill, or at least almost. Even thinking about the story sometimes puts me on edge these days. Still, on days when my digestive system isn’t playing havoc with me, I sit down at the computer and try to get some writing out on the screen. I might get down one hundred to two hundred words in an hour’s time and quit. It’s pathetic.
A little more than halfway into March, I read a post by Lauren Sapala at A Writer’s Path. Lauren explained that many writers write with full control over the entire project, which, for some writers, leaves no room for creativity, making that total first draft flat, including the characters. She suggested writing in response to the story instead. What I got from this post was that I wasn’t allowing the story or the characters to have a life of their own. Me being a realist, I knew right away that Lauren was talking to me. As a realist, I, of course, knew I had dreamed up the characters of my story and, therefore, had full authority over them. I had total control over the entire project because it was all in my head; none of it was real. However, this domination wasn’t giving any wiggle room for conflicts, action, or emotions of my characters. In other words, I’ve been trying to write with my hand around the throat of each one of my characters, pulling and tugging at them to do as I command.
None of the above means I have to start from scratch, saints be praised. I still like what I’ve written so far. I just have to let up on the reins and let the characters do whatever they want as long as they don’t fall into retched snake pits or hanging on to a cliff without any climbing gear. That’s what the reins are for.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”