I should write about my authorly discouragement more often. I believe in prayer, I believe prayer works, and I believe that last week a few people prayed for me when they saw my post about the dead characters. (I believe that because they told me they had.) Between the prayers and the wise council, my creative side saw some spiritual drain-o hit it and now the pipes are flowing.
If you’re worried that this is just going to be a post about writing, don’t be. Because while it is about writing in this instance, it’s also about Life In General. My life just happens to be about writing. Yours may be about building tables or designing spreadsheets or rearing a child.
For years–decades, even–I’ve had certain assumptions about myself. I’ve believed that I can’t do a thing or I can’t do a thing a certain way. When it came to this book I approached it the same way. I believed that I couldn’t write a particular type of story. I thought I wasn’t good at it and that it wouldn’t be something people wanted to read.
I told my husband last night on the way to dinner that this novel has become a jigsaw puzzle for me. I’ve had all the edge pieces nicely stuck together, and I’ve built in from a couple of the corners. But lately I’ve found myself staring at the blank table in the center of the puzzle and pawing confusedly through the scattered inner pieces. There was just no way to make them fit together.
Last week after I spoke aloud the words “I’m tired of writing and I don’t think I can do it” I think somehow that voice that told me that I could only write the book one way got shouted down by all the other voices saying “no. This is the story she needs to tell and it happens like THIS.”
So I’ve changed the direction of the book. I’ve changed my writing habits–I no longer write only at my desk. I’ve been sketching and jotting ideas on my iPad whenever and wherever they hit me. The regimented process was put to death. In that I realised that I was trying to make every piece an edge. I wasn’t leaving any room for the completely random cuts of the middle shapes. Now that I figured that out, the puzzle is coming together beautifully.
How does this relate to Life? Only insofar as I think it’s a good thing to occasionally look at your presumptions about the way things should or ought to be. Many times they’re just rooted in the ingrained habits of your world and have no real significance beyond the degree of comfortable reassurance they provide. Looking at the thing from a different point of view may actually make the stuff fit together a lot better.