Writing—or doing anything risky—will always trigger self-doubt. Always. The key is to immerse yourself in the process of writing consistently and allow yourself to watch the story unfold. That way, doubts won’t dominate your mind. This post is about letting your creativity flow.
I’ve been tasked with writing a 20-page story for my Creative Writing workshop class, due Monday, and it’ll be critiqued in class Wednesday. All week, whenever I sat down to write this story, I couldn’t get the class out of my head. I couldn’t forget the critical gaze of “the reader.” So I judged every word. There was no flow. Every word was a drop that dribbled out of a broken faucet.
For me, writing fiction requires presence and relaxation. I have to be able to see the scene, to really be there. When I write, I try to sit across from my characters. I listen to what they say, I watch what they do, I hear their thoughts, and I write it all down. I don’t plan. I don’t outline plot points. I record what’s going on as the scene happens.
That can’t happen if I’m worrying about whether it’s good enough. My week of writing has been painful, until this morning. Today, I was able to calm down. I was gentle with myself. I stopped aiming to impress everybody come Monday. I focused on writing something I would read, writing a story I would enjoy. I reminded myself that it’s all about having fun and getting better.
I made myself think long-term. I don’t expect to sell a word of what I write until years from now. There’s no immediate deadline to meet other than the writing I need to do every day.
Music can be a huge help. If there’s an album, an artist, or a playlist that matches the mood you want to infuse into your story, put that shit on! Today I kept Run the Jewels 2 on loop. It was exactly the vibe I was trying to get at. Write what’s interesting to you. In the moment of writing, don’t think about anything other than transcribing the scene that’s unfolding in your head.
Be kind to yourself. The magic will happen if you chill the fuck out and sit down consistently to do the work. Doing the work consistently is the huge component. I wouldn’t have had the breakthrough today if it wasn’t for my shitty week of writing. If I hadn’t written at all, I would’ve had nothing to build on. It’s not about thinking it out. It’s not waiting for inspiration. Quite the opposite. You can make inspiration happen. This is how I did it today and I hope this post can help you do the same!