Whenever one writes a story, script or even an opinion piece, there will come a time when one gets stuck. Sure, they have their outline and it may even be a detailed one, but when one actually writes the piece, a point of uncertainty may surface.
The uncertainty may come at a time when you know what you want to say but don’t quite know how to deliver the point. It may also come up when you aren’t sure where to go next at all. It may still come up when you’re trying to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to go next.
The way that I’ve been able to find solutions is to simply know that one exists. I was brainstorming an outline last week and I was damn near certain that what I was seeking wouldn’t be found in the concept I had. But because I persisted with patience, the answer came to me.
That’s another thing. You can rack your brain and maybe you’ll get something you can work with. Or you can wait by the fountain of inspiration for the answer to be uploaded into your mind.
I know inspiration (like motivation) sometimes gets a bad reputation, but it is hard to argue with the results — especially when you try to use effort and it gets you nothing but a headache.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” — Ray Bradbury
But how exactly does one wait by the fountain of inspiration? By committing to telling the story you’ve come up with and being patient.
If you find that there’s something about the concept that is off, you will find that out by committing to the story. If you don’t commit and you try something new, you’ll always feel that there’s something about the concept you put aside. It’s the one that got away.
But by committing, you will see what does and does not work. You will see what needs to be added, amended or deleted. You may even see that you don’t want to do the piece because what it would take to make it work, you’re not interested in. That’s okay too. If you didn’t commit, you wouldn’t know for sure.
It’s almost like a relationship. There’s a reason there’s mutual interest. You might not know why but if you at least go out a few times, you will find out. Whether it leads to a lifelong partnership or not, you’ll be getting some intel and that’s always good. We learn who we are based on our relations with others.
You have a relationship with your writing piece too. If you stick with it, you will see what it is. At the genesis, you have an idea. At the outlining, you have a much better idea. At the execution, you have a damn good idea. At the finished product, when you press save for the final time and walk away from the keyboard, you know it inside and out.
When you commit to the story, you often find yourself getting unstuck by something by some piece of genius. Whether it was something you knew that you forgot or something you never considered, you will be impressed.
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ― Octavia E. Butler
There’s a reason you’re stuck. You’re trying to be original. One can never be stuck when writing cliche stuff because the path was already laid out before you. It’s easy. But when you’re trying to express yourself and something new, it’s a path you have to trailblaze yourself and that takes courage.
So be thankful you’re stuck! And be thankful for the story for reminding you of a point that fits your piece perfectly or leading you to an idea you never thought of before.
Ultimately, one has to admit that to write something that one knows inside and out might not be that much fun. To write something that you know but end up receiving your own moment of surprise and appreciation — the same feeling you’re trying to give to your reader or audience — isn’t that simply amazing?