The hardest thing in this process pathway from getting what is in your head to and in the world outside of it, is converting thought into image. Since the onus of what is in your head, hiding in your imagination, is up to you.
IT IS UP TO YOU.
As a minority writer, you control the narrative, the story that you want to tell. No one else. Do not allow the world around you to adjust your lens. Let no one distract for what it is you want to show! What you have to tell, what is on the inside of you, can only be told by you. As James Baldwin said: “Fire the imaginary White man that sits on your shoulder!”
Don’t fall into troupes—they are only formulas! In the hand of any good scientist or alchemist, a formula is a tool. It is meant to be used, reconstructed and re-evaluated to suit the needs to those who have the wherewithal to change what they see in front of them.
Do not be discouraged by those who can’t see what you are creating. Do not be dismayed by those who cannot support what you are creating! They are not your concern! What you must be concerned with is what you want to show the world! What is on the inside of your head? What part of that do you want to share with the world? Is there more you to come? If so, keep going.
There are no shortcuts to writing, and no such things exist. You will only get better at this by doing it. There can be no other way, dear writer. There just isn’t. With this wisdom in your pocket, let me give you this other deposit.
All you seek to write, you can write. At this point, it’s a matter of if you believe you can.
I try and make a habit of looking through my Draft-Drawer once a season, normally this happens with the speed of Fall and Winter. Then, I have time–I think–to sit and reflect on what I didn’t do when it was warmer and life was more demanding. From that vantage point, I always think such explorations are fun, not traumatic.
However, it is rare I come across an idea that shocks me–I mean it did come from my own imagination…how crazy could the idea be? But there have been times (quite recently here) where I will come across a work I abandoned–because I was simply too scared to finish it.
Yes–scared to finish it. There was a wall. I was scared, and the thought of finishing that work felt like jumping out of a plane. With that acknowledgement, I dissected that feeling. Consider this your wrecking ball.
The Wall. Oh my! How familiar is this feeling? When you find a work you once poured yourself into–and lose it, only to find it again? It is like finding a lost child. You are relieved, you are happy and you are irritated (read: angry) if was ever lost!
Yet, you want to put it back. You want to unsee what you saw. You don’t want to remind yourself of what you gave up on. There is a mental wall erected! You can feel it more than you can see it. Do not run from this feeling. This is the start of breaking the wall. Baldwin himself said that nothing can be changed unless it is faced. Face the wall. No flinching. Flinching leads to fear.
The Fear. What is the thing (there is always a thing!) that is stopping you from picking it back up? This is the feeling you get when you think about finishing that project. That procrastination. That hesitation and excuses. That feeling of ‘I would rather clean toilets than write this’. That fear is a paralytic rather than a rocket fuel. Once you identify what it is–write through it. This means –yes!–write scared. Once you work the fear, it goes away. The more you right, the less it will scare you. But you have to write.
Jumping Out The Plane. Simply put? Finish it. What you have found, what drew your eye and attention, finish it! Let the characters find their exit, their punishment, reward or happily ever after. Writing is an extreme sport sometimes–so get to it! The free fall is crazy, because you don’t know where you will land. Your imagination is the rip cord and parachute. You can do it! You can finish it! Jump!
There is a power to breaking that wall, fellow Oracles. There is a power in confronting the fear, dear ones. Get your parachute (your work in progress or incomplete draft), and jump out the plane.
Writers are readers, inquisitive about the world around them so they can create another. If you’re stuck in process of creating an WIP and become discouraged, take a break. Fill up that blank time with a book.
I want you to stop talking about your idea. I want you to stop ‘rolling it around in your head.’ I want you to stop talking about ‘what you will do when you get time.’ Today, begin.
Trust yourself enough, if just today, give yourself permission to start. Give yourself the freedom to express what is in your head. Give yourself the respect of your own thoughts–and write them down.
Start, dear ones.
If you can think it up, you can write it down.
With Love & Ink,
Shameless plug: If you need more help and encouragement, make sure you follow The Writer’s Block wherever you get your podcasts (Anchor, Spotify, Google Play, Apple Podcast). Start from the beginning, and then start your own. -JBH
I have been a strong believer in the power of ink and paper.
And for that cause, twice a week I will be doing an Encouragement Page. These pages will be posted here with a corresponding link, to the video. And of course on the official Facebook page. Follow that space by clicking here.
These pages will be handwritten, and meant to be a support on your writing journey! You will be able to share these video and save them. Posting days for these pages will be Mondays and Thursdays.
Every writer needs a tribe, and encouragement to keep going. Consider this your oasis in your writing journey.