I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. ~Douglas Adams
For many of us, writing is a happy accident. Whether we meticulously plot out every scene in advance or jump into the fray with a vague idea (knowing our future self will be in charge of editing out the dreck), we often find that our best writing is a surprise to ourselves. Hopefully, to our readers as well.
That's where faith comes into the picture. We need to trust that somewhere in the caverns of our unconscious the story resides in full. Like the proverbial block of marble, the completed book already exists—we need to carve away what Isn't the story to find it.
"Like an old gold-panning prospector, you must resign yourself to digging up a lot of sand from which you will later patiently wash out a few minute particles of gold ore." ~Dorothy Bryant
Outlining, editing, revising, querying… Work-work-work, where's the fun? Yup, being a writer isn't the happy-go-lucky traipse through springtime flowers we imagine when we first begin tapping those keys. *sigh* Ah, but the rewards are indescribable. As our unique tale emerges, we delight in how smooth the story feels, how solid the sculpture appears, how grand and glorious it is to be a writer! There's no denying the effort involved yet... what an amazing triumph.
Whether the story snaps in at eleven pages or stretches for three hundred and fifty, You Have Created A New World.
A world where characters gasp and giggle, struggle and strive, kiss and snuggle, and dare to prevail against dire odds. You Create Magic. Which is why writers more than anyone understand the element of surprise. Hah! When we re-read a particularly good day's work, we might find ourselves sucking in a startled breath when the words drop off. But… but… but… we sputter… where's the rest? For one amazing instant, we *feel* the complete book and our linear consciousness wonders why the heck we stopped!
Relish the shiver of excitement, my friend, because YOU are a writer!
That's the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they've been all along. ~Madeleine L'Engle
Those bursts of illumination aren't constant. Like fireflies, they flit in and out providing flashes of inspiration when our inner sky grows dark. Yet every writer experiences a similar rush—a combination of exhilaration and anticipation. We Are Magic. Ideas dancing in the air. Words transforming into stories before our astonished eyes.
How freaking cool is that?
This week, let's celebrate the magic. Recognize how the process of writing takes us places we never imagined we could go.
"I think that wherever your journey takes you, there are new gods waiting there, with divine patience - and laughter." ~Susan M. Watkins
Let's recognize writing isn't about playing it safe. Jump into the deep water! Walk the tightrope without a net!
"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can." — Og Mandino
Writing is a grand and glorious adventure. An opportunity not only for self-exploration, an opportunity to be daring and freely take risks. We're not actually skydiving here. We're free to leap out of the airplane a dozen different ways, knowing we can back up and jump again and again and again. Why play it safe? Have faith and tell Your Story Your Way…
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. —Mark Twain
Let's have a fabulous and productive week!
"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible." --Arthur C. Clarke
Now, do you have any tales of magic to share? Any times when your writing took you by surprise?
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between The Lines.