Good morning everyone!
Have you ever felt the need to start over?
It could be something as simple as literally starting from scratch or finding a way to regain something we lost. For me, it was the latter.
In a way, it came down to a single piece of advice I always give new writers: Don’t be afraid to do something different as long as you stay true to yourself and your work.
Well, yes and no. You see, over the last few years I’ve adopted a few storytelling techniques I’ve read about or had others share to help improve my stories. I’m one that believes we never stop learning, so it came naturally. The only problem was most of what I was hearing and adopting didn’t work well with my natural style.
Here’s an example:
As many of you know, I prefer writing in Third Person Omniscient. For me, it just flows better and deeper than other styles most of the time. In using that, I also use various points of views from various characters to set up their character and move the story along.
A lot of what I was reading was using Limited and limiting (Pun intended) the POVs to three to five characters at most. I figured that sounded cool since I sometimes write in Limited and I usually don’t use more than a handful of character POVs anyway. Everything seemed to work well until I tried to merge it with my storytelling method.
What happened wasn’t something I expected. My stories lacked a lot of the emotional punch, both positive and negative, I usually have, and my characters seemed a little flat to me. The biggest problem was, I couldn’t figure out how or what I did wrong.
Then a month ago I had the urge to read Stephen King’s On Writing.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever read it or not, but to me, it’s the writing bible and something every writer should read. (If it works for you, great. If not, great. Take what works for you and your story and leave the rest). It’s largely about how he became a writer and is more inspirational than instruction, and it was a major factor to me finding my way when I first started writing.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but reading it again wasn’t as much inspiring as it was grounding. Thirty pages into the book I saw where my story telling style had become stretched thin, too thin, honestly.
In an effort to improve my writing, I submarined it by losing my own voice while incorporating what I’d learned. It was seriously like someone turned on the light in a dark room for me.
As a result, I decided to let go of my determination to crank out books and to take my time. I had started to look at writing as a job instead of something I loved to do, and I felt like I was competing with my previous self productivity-wise. As soon as I realized those issues, it felt like a huge weight fell from my shoulders and the ideas started flowing like the old days.
Now, with Camp NaNo upon us, I’m writing like I used to, and it’s added a whole new level of enojoyment I forgot along the way.
One saying that keeps coming to mind is, “So, this is what creativity looks like.” It’s been a while, and we all have a “AHA!” moment or discover something new about ourselves. Not only is it how we learn and grow, but, I think, it’s a break that we may need.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you restarted a story or even your style after having an “AHA!” moment? What do you think of restarting ourselves?
Until next time, my friends, Let your imaginations fly!