Is my writing good enough? Will my readers understand what I’m trying to convey? Am I engaging? These are all parts of my own internal monologue when I’m trying to write something I remotely care about.
Sleepless nights filled with the silence from playlists that have long played out as I grumble with my head in my hands, frustrated with my current inability to put pen to paper are common. With so many thoughts running through my head, I find it difficult to focus on creating a linear story, so what do I do? I write everything down.
When it comes to writing, I take some notes from songwriter, rapper, and author Tablo. He’s stated that carrying something to write down sparks of inspiration helps him when he has to sit down and write music. This, too, has helped me in my own writing. I write down any little thought that remotely piques my interest. I may or may not use it, but it’s a spark of inspiration. It’s an idea that’s worth exploring, maybe not now, maybe later. The important thing to remember is that anything that sparks inspiration is worth exploring at some point.
Applying this to writing full-fledged stories is where the fun and frustration begins. Writing one off scenes or dialogues based on ideas you had is fun, but what if you’re writing a story? Well, now you have to fill in the gaps. Filling in the gaps is a little bit harder because now you have point A and point B, but how do you get there?
Well, here’s where the sleepless nights and empty playlists enter. Spending time exploring different avenues, be it character motivations, setting up plot points that will come into play much later in your story, even setting up red herrings are elements that can be explored. While there’s definitely a limit to what can be done from one point to another, there’s no limit to where your mind can take you, even if it doesn’t really align with what you’re trying to write. It can always be used to spark an idea down the road.
Writing is a fluid process, and there’s no one correct way to do so. Anything that’s written can be removed, edited, or switched around. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is a story you’re telling, and you get to have fun with it.