As I continue to focus on my growth as a writer, I have long found writing advice on its own to be overwhelming and sometimes conflicting. To make things worse, a personal flaw of mine is to want to do things “the right way.” But for me, attempting to do things the right way is like singing a song while strangling myself. I’ve learned that trying to do things the right way leaves me second guessing myself and afraid to experiment – a flaw for any creative venture.
I’m finding the stories I read to be the biggest teachers.
They allow me to distance myself from my fears while observing all that great writing advice in action. With a little distance it’s easy to see that there are many ways to write a successful story, stories of which I enjoy, read to the end, and even buy a sequel. That’s all success. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Reading a friend’s book recently, I saw that a deeper more powerful story might be as simple as how much a character grows by the end of the story. A small amount of character growth makes a story work but a large amount of character growth is satisfying on a higher level. In the end though, the writer and the character must grow, must risk, a little or a lot and that means, for me, stepping away from the paralysis “the right way” to do things creates. It means get messy, make mistakes, and fix them.