Okay I had to do that at least once (meaning I’m not promising I won’t do it again). I had to do it because I wrote tonight for the first time in 8 or 9 days and it was strong and it was fun. Well as much fun as it can be when my MC’s (main character’s) grandmother is telling her that one of her friends might be dead… Still the writing of it was, while painful in the emotions and memories I had to dredge up to write it, fun, and that’s something I haven’t had for awhile.
Part of it was the relief from a stress I’ve been carrying around recently. The other part was finally watching Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech given this year at The University of the Arts.
I’m not sure what I expected when I set up to watch his speech. More humor perhaps. I did expect to hear some great writerly/creative gems, and I sure as hell wasn’t disappointed there. But I did not expect to be completely reassured and inspired.
He said a lot of good things, and I’ll definitely be watching his speech again since I can’t remember them all because one thing he said really sang out and eclipsed everything else: he said that looking back, some of his biggest successes were books that he thought wouldn’t work when he was writing them.
So you know how I’ve been saying that there’s a plot problem with my YA dystopian? And I’ve probably said that with one of my picture books, I got caught up in how it should end, and so haven’t found an ending yet? Well I’m not worrying about that anymore because a well-respected, established author said that some of his biggest successes were projects he thought wouldn’t work. But as he also said, Where would be the fun in making something you knew was going to work? Yes, yes, yes.
Knowing where you’re headed with your story is all well and good, but it shouldn’t mean that you’re hemming yourself in to some pre-determined, expected path just because of the genre it lives in, or the audience it might reach, or what other people think won’t work. I know this, I know this, I know this, of course I do, but I need to hear it over and over again in all different ways. So, thank you, Neil Gaiman. Thank you for letting me put the key back into the lock of my writing and open the door.
Now, enough of the poetic. Got 266 words done today. Broke the ice. Hooray!