Friday, August 21, 2009

Think Outside of the Box

There are times as a writer that we sit down at the computer, stare at the computer screen and want to scream. Not that the words aren't flowing, but the simple fact that what is showing up on the screen is garbage. Sure the writing is good, the plot is fine but in the end, the story is just not what you want. When things like this happen, I strongly encourage you to begin again. But this time, go in a direction with your writing that is completely opposite from what you write.

I am currently working with an author that is previously published but due to various reasons, has been, sort of, out of circulation. During that time, when she was struggling with sitting down and bring that creative side out, she realized she needed a change. The end product is the story I am reading now of hers. This story is INCREDIBLE! I don't say that often but it is one of those stories that defies gravity. I am constantly screaming down the hall to my wife, or telling anyone who will listen the thing I just read. Now why is this occurring with this story? All of her other writing is equally amazing, why this one?

The simple truth is she was finally relaxed enough to just write. The pressure of "needing to produce" wasn't there and the creative side and the joy of writing took over. That was all it took.

When I work on my poetry, the same thing happens. I just can't stop writing. A colleague of mine was talking about how it took her a week to really work through a poem she was drafting. I would talk to her daily and she would constantly be struggling with it. She asked me if I had that problem and the answer was no. When the creative side hits me, my fingers can't write fast enough and I produce several poems in a single sitting. The key? I am in the mood and the pressure is gone.

I should note that not always will that story be worthy of being published. It may be completely unmarketable, but that is not a reason to not work on it.

So, your homework today! Get creative. Put aside that project you are working on (unless it is for a deadline) and just be creative. Have fun with your writing today.


P.S. And just to let that one writer no, this story is marketable. The William Blake reference had me in stitches!


  1. The question for me is always how do I let go of the pressure and just write?

    Great post, another thing to keep in mind as I write. Thank you, Scott!

  2. But what about genre? Seriously, Scott! How many stories have you rejected after just one page because it doesn't seem to fit the genre it's "supposed" to be in?

    And how should writers approach this in their queries? Just say it's "general fiction" because it doesn't fit anywhere else, or has mixed elements, or starts like sci-fi but is actually historical?

    I'm discouraged with the whole box thing at this point. Be different and be damned, it seems.

    Still, though, another great post. Thanks!!