By Alissa Johnson
I once did a consultation with a writer who wanted to write short stories. She was full of ideas—deciding what to write was never a problem because she picked one and ran with it.
But she had this problem. Part way through the story, the characters that she so vividly imagined refused to behave. They simply wouldn’t do the things she wanted them to do. She described it as being in a fight with her characters, and finally at an impasse, she would walk away from the page.
I asked her what would happen if she let the characters have their way—just give in, let go of control, and see what happens.
She thought that it might give her some freedom, so she agreed to try. And a week later, she emailed to let me know that she’d let the characters do what they wanted to do, and she had finally written a story from start to finish.
Sometimes we get stuck on this idea that we know what’s going to happen.
Or, even if we’re not sure what happens next, we convince ourselves that whatever it is needs to accomplish a certain objective.
Yet have you ever sat down to write one thing, only to write something else and really like it?
I believe that as writers, we get to embrace that. The power of an idea is to get a writer to sit down and write. To motivate. To inspire. After that, the idea can morph and change, and the writer’s task is to be brave enough to let go of control. To let the story evolve.
Next time you’re feeling stuck, give it a shot. Sit down and write whatever comes to mind. No judging. No critiquing. See what happens.