Writing stories is both a blessing and a curse for me. When I’ve got a good story on my hands and the words are flowing from my fingertips, it’s a joy to just be able to slip away and live the life of my characters in worlds of my own creation. Most days though, writing is tough and the good stories seem hard to find. My insecurity whispers bad thoughts about every word I write, the words themselves flow like molasses, half way through the plot starts slipping down into a death spiral as it moves from slightly boring to absolute chaos, and the run-on sentences run on and on and on… And then there’s the “easy” story that I just plain didn’t know what to do with.
The “easy” story is the story that scares me the most.
It’s the story that says “Here’s my plot; it’s simple and sweet” and “Here’s my characters; the more you think about them, the more you’ll love them.” and “Here’s where you start; it’s going to be great!”
It’s the story that comes with one small, teeny-tiny little catch: I don’t want to write it.
It just happens. Since I’ve been attempting to write longer forms of fiction, these kind of stories pop into my head day after day. I want to accept them, I want to like them. But at the same time, I see how they reflect other stories on the market already, or I wonder is this really the kind and quality of story I want attached to my name.
I know I ask a lot of my stories. I want perfection, especially when it comes to my first published novel. I want a story that will make people stop and turn back the pages to read it again and again. I want a story that will make people think, that will bring tears to the eyes of a readers everywhere one a minute and put a smile on their faces the next. I want a story that will bring new light to literature, a story that will be remembered for years to come
But legendary stories don’t just happen.
I’m not Harper Lee- I don’t have mainly just one, powerful story building up inside of me.
I have a lot of little stories, lots of little ideas and insights churning and working on becoming something magnificent someday. But they’ll never make it there if I never write.
Like everything, writing that spectacular novel takes practice and time. It takes countless revisions, honest feedback, and adjustments. Perhaps, I’m starting to believe, the process doesn’t even start with that brilliant idea for a novel, but long before then.
The “easy” stories I have been ignoring for so long are really just the beginning of my writing journey. They look easy from the outside, but I’ve never written one. I’ve never completed one, so how I would know? I simply spotted the road they lead me down, and decided I didn’t like the end. But what about the journey? What about getting that experience, what about realizing that not everything is so easy as it may appear, what about growing as a writer?
Well, that’s my next step. As we speak, I’ve started to put aside more and more time in pursuit of one of these “easy” stories. Over 15,000 words in and I haven’t hit any roadblocks yet. Where this story goes, or if another soul will ever read it, I don’t know. But finally, finally, I’ve started to accept that I am in this for the long journey, and I am sure writing this “easy” story has harder lessons in store for me along the way.