When discussing the intricate craft of writing, people often ask me, “Where do I start?” I always respond the same way, “Start at the beginning.” It sounds cliché, but in the purest sense, it stands true. A book is never perfect on the first try. Keeping that in mind, a writer’s brain isn’t the only factor that goes into their work. Our heart is our greatest inspiration. When we have writer's block it propels us forward when we can’t think of the perfect word it inspires us, and when we don’t know where to start it engages us. Our book is like our baby, as it grows our emotional attachment grows with it.
Though it’s not always the simplest concept to explain, a story comes from within. It flows from us onto the page until we look down and realize what began as one word has suddenly bloomed into a full chapter. We connect with our characters on a personal level, sharing their hardships and reveling in their accomplishments. This is what makes the best books so wonderful - that deep connection shared between those characters and their creator. If ever you feel lost in the midst of your creation, and it’s not an uncommon occurrence for writers, don’t try to force the words from your mind, instead, pause for a moment and allow your intuition and emotions to guide you. I’ve often found this particular aspect of my inspiration to be far more helpful than the straightforward path of trying to think out a plot line. The pieces often appear a little more scattered but they never fail to come together in a far more pleasing pattern. Not to mention the fact I find myself suffering mental exhaustion far less frequently than if I attempted to force my ideas into precise order.
The result may not be perfect on the first try, but then again it never is. This is the purpose of editing. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Whether from parents, teachers, or friends - at some point in our life, most of us have heard the old adage, “learn from your mistakes”. As true to life as it was to the schoolroom, mistakes aren’t entirely a bad thing. They help us to learn and to grow. So if you ever find yourself in that unnerving position, standing on a precipice of creation, not sure whether to jump or retreat, allow your heart to guide you and understand that no matter what your beginning is, the end result is far more important.
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