down the chute

Down the Chute

Even though I’m not doing it this year–just too much going on–I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, and boy am I glad I did. I learned a lot about the writing process and about myself. One of the more significant lessons I learned is embodied in the quote above.

Sometimes when I have a story idea I think the thing to death. I sift through all the possible flaws in it, trying to construct every conceivable aspect of a fictional world in my mind before committing any of it to paper. It sounds like a terribly thoughtful, deep approach to writing, but it’s not. You know why? Because when I do that, I don’t get around to actually writing anything.

A voice in my head tries to convince me I’m not quite ready–that the details aren’t ironed out enough. And they probably aren’t, but if I wait until I have every element of a story defined before writing anything, I’ll never write another story. That’s a horrible approach to writing. I mean, it’s fine if you have a plan for where the story’s going to go, but if there are a lot of questions still in your head, that’s fine, too.

During NaNoWriMo, I didn’t have the option of waiting until I had everything solidified. I had to get my words in. Every day. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t meet the 50K goal by the end of the month. So a lot of things that would have given me pause before…didn’t. I just wrote, and some of the pell-mell stuff that came out of it was shit, while some of it was gold. The story took twists and turns I would have never planned, but it’s stronger for them. More organic.

Writing can (and in my opinion, should) be a fluid thing. Don’t over-think it. Dive in. Go down the chute. Write.

You can sort through what worked and what didn’t during the editing process.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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