Sunday, October 03, 2021

The Paths We Follow

Each day I sit down to write wondering what I'll discover on the page, not knowing what words will come or where they'll lead me. 

I remember days when I used to sit at my desk in my college dorm room staring at a blank sheet of paper and wanting to write, doubting I could write at all. 

I stared at the typewriter trying to find where the words were hiding, wondering if they'd ever come out to play. It was as if the words were shy mice or rabbits frozen in fear.

I didn't yet know how to let go of fear, how to let my thoughts go free, how to reach in and pull a strand of thought and follow it without knowing where it might lead, without worrying if it would dissolve and leave me stranded on a distant shore with no way of getting back.

Some writers rely on outlines as a way to get past their fear. But outlines inspire a different kind of fear in me--a fear of constraint, of pushing a circle into a square, or a square into a circle. With an outline, I fear that I won't be able to follow my thoughts wherever they might lead. 

I don't want anything to cut me off from the thrill of spontaneous writing, from the joy and magic of seeing my thoughts emerge on the page as they appear in my mind. 

That's why I prefer opening my journal to a blank page and seeing where the words take me. 

There's no path to follow because it doesn't exist. 

I can only see a path after I finish writing and look back to see where I've come from.

Only then can I see the distance I've traveled, and the path I carved to get here.

What about you? 

What paths do you take into your stories?

And what obstacles are standing in your way?

And how do you make your way past them?

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