The best day of my writing life was when I decided that I wasn’t going to do what the experts said I should do. That day? It’s today. I don’t know why I didn’t free myself from these restrictive bonds before. Today, I am free. Today, I realized that the reason I have never started writing until now wasn’t because I was embarrassed, or afraid. It was because I felt like I was already a complete failure before I even finished my first draft.
Let me be real for a moment: I work. I have a full time job that I need to keep in order to survive. A 40+ hour a week job that takes up most of my time. Therefore, it is impossible for me to lock myself away for six hours a day to do nothing but write. I have learned to accept that, should this story take five years to finish, then that’s how long it’s going to have to take. (Hopefully it won’t, but I digress.) I am no less of a writer because I can’t do it all day, every day.
I’ve read countless blog entries, listened to many podcasts, all written (and spoken) by people who absolutely know more about this craft and business than I do, but they don’t know me. They give wonderful advice, but they don’t know me. You know who knows me? I do. I also know how I was sitting at this computer for an hour, bothered because I didn’t know how exactly I was supposed to fill out this plot worksheet, because writing (to me) really isn’t that deep. I’m certain these things work for other people, but they don’t work for me.
So I threw it away.
And I told myself that I’m going to write this story of mine the way I want to write it. And the level of relaxation that came over my entire soul cannot be measured.
To the plot worksheet that I found while in the midst of a Pinterest rabbit hole I went down when I was looking for inspiration and advice: I’m sorry. I see you sitting next to me in my garbage can, a balled up piece of paper that I can hear beckoning me, but I am ignoring you. “I’m only trying to help you!” you’re crying out in agony. Sorry, bud. You’re staying there. I know you’re trying to help, but I don’t need you. It seems the hour I spent eight days ago letting this stream of consciousness pour out from my fingers upon my keyboard did for me what you never could.
Maybe I want to use an adverb, Stephen King.
Maybe my character’s eyes are green, not chartreuse.
Maybe I want my inciting event to happen immediately. I don’t, but what if I did?
Maybe I don’t want to have a beautiful, organized writer’s notebook like I keep reading I should. Maybe I am doing just fine with my traveler’s notebook inserts. Maybe it is quite possible to have everything I need to write this book confined to small, A6-sized notebooks I order from a shop on Etsy.
Maybe I think I can do this without prearranged plot points and scene cards or whatever else people keep saying I’m supposed to be doing right now. Maybe I can’t. Maybe in a month or so I’m going to write out a blog post about how wrong I was and how much of a struggle it is to get this story worked out. Maybe.
There’s only one way to find out.