Tuesday, September 21, 2010


There was some writer somewhere that I probably creeped a while ago, and while creeping I happened upon a bit of insight:
Writing consists of two parts: Building a story, and tearing it down.

A good story needs several drafts - several dozen, sometimes - and a draft is not just the same words rewritten. Things need to change. Change is risk. Risk is scary. The whole, precarious story you've been constructing is at risk of collapsing. And it will, in a good rewrite. You need to tear it down in order to rebuild something much sturdier and well-executed.

If you're too scared to touch or modify your spindly, fragile first attempt, it will forever remain a spindly, fragile first attempt.

In life, there are lots of points where we need to rebuild. It's an acquired skill to notice these areas, acknowledge them, and then pretend they never existed. After all, if you touch them they might collapse. You would be left with nothing. You would be forced to rebuild from scratch; to take a few jumps backwards; to admit you weren't as far along as you could once pretend.

But in no situation in life ever are you ever truly screwed.

You can't be left with nothing because you ("you" being a noun) are something. You've been building things all your life, and you will always have the ability to rebuild.

So why should you fear the risk of change, or fear a second draft? It's bound to be better than sticking with your spindly, fragile first attempt!

The sweet thing is that everything is temporary anyway. Everything. Things you love; things you hate. Everything passes away. People are kind of like evergreen trees, in that we hardly notice when the dead needles pass away because there are a dozen new ones to take their place. But still, everything is temporary. If we screw up, it's temporary. If we're depressed, or anxious, or bitter, or cynical, it's temporary. No one ever said that the life you live today is guaranteed to reflect your life 5 years in the future. You can always rewrite it for the future.
*Note to self: Make it what you want to be.