25 May 2012

Giving Yourself Permission to Write

After successfully self-publishing a memoir made up of short stories, the writer gives in to the pull to write a novel. Everyone in her writing group and the majority of those in the writing club she joined when writing her memoir are writing novels.

A hysterical title brings her enthusiastic support to go for it. She starts out strong but before long the story coasts to a stop. No matter which way into the project she pushes, passion and the muse refuse their help.

An always journal writer, she has won awards and publication for her short non-fiction writing. Slowly, even the passion for journalling disappears.

Giving herself the gift of a month alone in the woods by a lake, she commits to spending the precious quiet time purging her journals. She tears out the passages that move her and toss the rest. Her plan is to put the best of the best in one journal, shelve it beside her other beloved books and be done with writing, perhaps forever.

Instead, the moving passages invigorate her. Suddenly, words are tumbling out of her about life and spirit and joy. Rather than surrender to the familiar pull to write, however, she stiffens. The words clunk to the page and lie there like a board. The idea of making anything worthwhile, publishable, meaningful stops her cold.

This writer thrives when writing and falters when silenced. In the pursuit of publication and writing for others, she lost what means most to her -- her writing.

I give her permission to simply show up and allow for the words to be imperfect. Forget the end result. Simply write. Nearly instantaneously, her voice changes from lethargic to shiny and full of promise.

Give yourself the permission to write for writing sake. Stay in the moment of the words. Forget what comes next, if anything comes next. For now, simply write and marvel at the miracle of writing words that come from you as if from nowhere.

To familiarize yourself with the Universal Story and basic plot tips and tricks:

1) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master (The companion workbook is coming this summer and available for pre-order now ~~ The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories)

2) Watch the Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. A directory of all the steps to the series is to the right of this post. 27-step tutorial on Youtube
3 Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. A directory the book examples and plot elements discussed is to the left of this post.

For additional tips and information about the Universal Story and plotting a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook Plot Whisperer on Twitter