I am a victim of my own good advice it seems. Maybe that makes it bad advice? Those of you who have read some of my previous posts know that I think a story must, at least in part, write itself. How can a story write itself? Because if we are in tune, and listen closely, there are times when a story will whisper what comes next. Call it inspiration, if you will. Perhaps there is even a touch of madness in thinking that our stories talk to us, but I swear, I’m not crazy (says every crazy person). That’s okay. It takes a certain sort of madness to sit in front of a keyboard day after day and still believe we are getting somewhere.
I started book four of a series with a specific direction I wanted to head, and a certain way it should end. Half way through I noticed I was beginning to veer off course. A problem? Not really. That’s why we have the revision process. Even though my head was telling me to push on and avoid the detours, the story was telling me something quite different. No biggie. I can fix that later. Or, at least that was the plan. It seems that I’ve went off course enough that I’m writing an entirely different book than I first imagined. Since I’m hardly through with the first draft, it is way too soon to start second guessing myself and start the revision process to get back on track.
There is no room for self-doubt in creative writing. I have decided to listen to the story and let it take me down whichever path it chooses. I am now just along for the ride. Will it be a good ride? No way to tell yet. Will I end up where I wanted too? Possibly. The important thing, is that I am taking the journey. If you want to be a good writer, you must trust your instincts. Your rational brain has all the necessary tools to write a story. It’s your irrational brain that brings the story to life. Creative writing is thinking outside the box, trusting yourself that however your story turns out, is the way it was meant to be. Trust your gut, follow your instincts, you know what the story needs, it whispers it to you. You may be surprised where you find yourself at the end, but at least you will know how, and why, you got there.
Keep writing friends. Have faith in your ability.