Not everything works the first time through.
I find myself thinking that a lot as I write. I tend to be a messy writer, more seat of the pants than anything else. On occasion I’ve been known to outline, but usually I only have a somewhat vague idea where I’m going and how I’m going to get there.
Of course both methods can lead to stumbles and outright falls. We write a scene and it’s not working. Obviously it’s not working. So we stare at it a bit and suddenly wonder something along the lines of, “I wonder what would happen if I….”
These are the moments that make us cringe when someone else is reading our work. The idea might have been a little off the wall. Maybe the point of view is completely different. Or you’ve tried something you never have before, like present tense instead of past tense, or first person over third person storytelling. To us, it’s the great experiment, and it’s one of those moments that (in our minds) is really going to work or fail in a really big way. Mostly it’s that failing thing that sets our teeth on edge.
The thing is, we’re forgetting the shades of gray (no, not that stupid novel). It might have worked…somewhat. Maybe we need a little more practice. A little more polish. Maybe it something that needs to be explored a little more (another fantastic E word). The thing is, TRYING is the important part.
It’s hard to let go and try new things. But the payoff is amazing, especially when it all starts to come together. Today, experiment a little. Take that wild and crazy idea and run with it. And then play with it some more until you MAKE it work. Maybe it won’t be in the final product, but I guarantee you’re going to learn something new from it.
And that is something you can take with you to that next project…and the one after that.
Have you ever experimented with a new technique in your writing? How did it work out? What did you learn from it?