I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a document or this dashboard to write flash fiction or a short story. Something just for fun, like I used to. I’m mightily afraid I’ve lost my touch. Funny how it’s almost always fear that tosses a wrench into my writing plans. Sometimes it’s a fear that I can’t do the story I have in my head justice. Sometimes it’s a fear that nobody really wants to read what I write.
This past year, I put my mind to writing for a goal. I had a purpose and I chased that purpose until it translated to words on a page. And I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished. I can’t even tell you how many words I’ve put down. Good ones, too. I didn’t write a bunch of stories, I focused my attention on what I needed to accomplish and got it done. That’s good, but I seem to have lost the ability to write with abandon, like I used to. I have to have a purpose now. I need to get back to the place I was before 2015, the year of big plans, big dreams, and “big” writing. But I need to stay right where I’m at too. I need to do both.
So here I am, just rambling away instead of writing a story (of any length) because I’m stuck and I’m scared. But I’ve been here before, countless times. I know I can do this, I just need to let go. I feel like a monkey reaching into a jar and gripping a cookie, unwilling to let go even though I can’t get my hand out of the jar and come out with that cookie. I know I’ve gotta let that cookie go to get my hand back. But what is that damn cookie? What do I need to let go of so I can have my free-writing spirit back?
Perfection? No, I’m not a perfectionist. I set out to tell the story honestly, as close to how I “experience” it as possible. I’ve always done that, and disregarded everything else until it was time to edit. Maybe that’s the cookie I’m holding on to.
This past year, a good friend of mine trained me to write and edit and write and edit mercilessly. It was thrilling. I could write and edit a first draft simultaneously by the end of the year. Each scene was mapped out ahead of time. Every session was exciting because I could see the story so clearly. I never needed so much beforehand knowledge. I used to could take a prompt and run with it. I want to do that again. But I find myself needing a purpose, a plan.
That’s my cookie.
I’m not afraid to write. I’m afraid to write without a plan. My god, what have I become?
“Well, there’s an eye opener, make no mistake.”
Yep, you’re right Sam. Now what to do about it?
“Do or do not, there is no try.”
Okay, Yoda. I’ll, er, do.
Wish me luck, guys. Or, at least, some words that don’t add up to total suckage.