The act of writing, the art of creating story, is never mastered, yet this simple belief is forgotten every day. Writers create from the skill they have developed, a practice they have established, embraced and made habit. And they race toward answers and the final revision. We want to know how it ends.
But the truth is our process is met every day with actual bewilderment. And that mystery of how to fix things in our scripts is eventually pounded out with our regimen. And we soon produce choices in our stories and people read our work and we accept where our scripts have landed. And that might be good enough in the moment.
But have I allowed myself to continue to learn? What if every day I sought changes in how I write? This might sound impractical or unnecessary. Why change a pattern that works, or at least works well enough? What if my writing has made me rich and famous? What if my work wins awards? It would be crazy to write differently.
Yet we ourselves change and very few argue against our own growth as individuals, as people, as a planet. Progress is generally acceptable. We invite awareness of ourselves and traditionally celebrate how we have become better people. Many people want to be better every day, and most accept we don’t have everything figured out about life.
Pick up some of your writing from a month ago. Read the scene you have written. Say the dialogue out loud. At the time, you thought you wrote something special. Now, it doesn’t feel the same.
Look at something from years ago. Something you were proud of. Why are you cringing? How could something that everyone at that table reading loved now sound so corny and false? What happened?
You grew. You learned about life, through pain and loss and error. Life happened. And because you continue to grow, your writing instrument changed. What you know about the invisible tissue of living has expanded. Your library of existence has added several volumes. And your expertise on what this all means has soared.
Why does rewriting work? Is it because our minds have finally figured out a solution, or have we become better at being a part of life and that gives us the answers to our script issues? Why does spending a week away from our scripts help us? Sometimes a script we could not finish suddenly finishes themselves after years of being shelved. Are we conscious of why this takes place? How did we become better at writing?
Our writing comes from our lives and no one is a master of either. Yet writers take pride in knowing how to write. What if I chose a more humbler approach? Today, I want to learn how to write rather than know how to write. What beauty comes from wanting to be better. If writing is my life, and if it’s inevitable for me to change, my writing needs to come along, too.
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