"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is." –H. Jackson Browne
Last weekend, hubby and I were jamming on guitars. It's something we love to do, sip a little wine and play our favorite songs. He paused and looked over at me, saying, "Don't hold back. Hit those strings like you mean it."
I needed the reminder. His next comment though struck home. "You need to let go of that tendency to ride the brakes all the time."
Bam. Wow. The thought reeled in my mind. The visual image meshed beautifully with the startling realization of my own tentative nature. You can bet I did play more aggressively for the remainder of the evening and loved it. Woo-hoo!
"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." –Anais Nin
The next day I studied those words I'd scribbled down with such haste. Riding the Brakes. Being a writer is all about risk. Sure, just about anyone can string words together into the semblance of a sentence. Writing a story can be as simplistic as See Jane Run. Yet as readers, we know the difference between a story that merely connects the dots and one that sweeps us into an enchanted world. No matter the genre, whether commercial or literary, the writer who pushes past the boundaries makes us gasp with delight or sit stunned as a revelation resonates within our hearts.
I want to be that writer. *smile* Don't you?
"Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that's why we decide we're done. It's getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out." --Natalie Goldberg
Taking Risks vs. Riding the Brakes. Writing isn't an easy task. Which is why we heave a sigh of relief when finished and often eye revisions with the same enthusiasm with which we might face a cluttered, spider-infested garage. Ewwwwww…. But… I'm all done! WAH!
Part of why the task can feel so onerous is simple. If our story isn't touching our soul, rattling our bones, clenching our fists, touching our heart, we may simply be bored. *gulp* We need to dig deeper. Take our foot of the brake. Take A Chance.
If you're feeling stuck with a passage, pull up a separate document and write the three WILDEST, most preposterous ways to take your scene. Then write three more. Feel that tingle of excitement knowing You Can Write Anything. Anything at all! Anything you damn well please! That's right. It's YOUR STORY. If you're bored or beleaguered, feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, why not twist into a direction you absolutely would never consider? Take a chance. Whether or not you continue in that direction is irrelevant to your process of writing. Shaking up the map will often reveal roads you never would have seen otherwise.
"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." –Andre Gide
Writing is a voyage of discovery. We must take risks in order to find not only an incredible story, but also our self within each page. Those amazing revelations that leave you gasping will strike your readers too.
"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart... Write from the soul, not from some notion what you think the marketplace wants. The market is fickle; the soul is eternal." --William Wordsworth
Write the story you've always dreamt of. Write a paragraph without worrying how it will fit in (remember our mantra—It's Only A First Draft!). Write from your heart and soul. Let the words flow from you like a burst of spontaneous laughter. *grin*
We all have goals and deadlines. We are Writers. We write. By page count and word count. Yet let's make another goal. To dig a little deeper and remember WHY we write. To experience that tingle of delight, that shiver of excitement, that gasp of awe.
You know what? YOU can do it. YOU are a writer. Feeling a little fear at pushing yourself? Trust me, it's natural. That, my friend, is adrenalin coursing through you. YOU Are An Adventurer! About to leap off a cliff into the unknown, you can trust your wings to carry you off to new lands. You Are A Writer…
So… let's set some goals!
I'm shaking things up this week. *smile*
15-25 pages on WIP.
Weekly Essay to post on blog.
Expand outline on NF idea.
PUSH myself to "close my eyes and leap" into my story.
How's about you? Ready to take some risks? Ready to Write??
Let's hear those goals!!