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.


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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