Letting Go: How to Write your Truth


Detail from Set In Concrete, a painting I’m currently working on. http://www.carolineallen.com

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” E.M. Forster

You have an idea for a book, and no matter how hard you work, the idea, the fantasy of the creative work is much greater than what’s coming out on paper. Or you have a glorious notion in your head of a screenplay, but you never get around to writing it. The idea is so tremendous, you worry you’ll ruin it by putting it down on paper.

Our fantasies and creative ideas are often greater than the finished product. Once we accept this, once we let go of this, we can finish our books and perhaps even get them published. I work as a writing coach, and I see this as the greatest impediment, the most consistent block in the new writers i meet. They become too enamored with the ideas in their head (and don’t get me wrong, the ideas are glorious), and can’t seem to make the leap from their minds to actually doing anything about it.

I understand the dilemma. I felt that way too before I started writing fiction. I believe that our fantasies are truly often greater than what ends up on the page…but that’s OK. Think of it this way: Our creativity is of the spirit world. Spirit exists outside the parameters we must live by in this “practical” world. When we try to manifest spirit in this world, we by necessity “lose” something. And that’s OK.

Some people get so stuck inside their ideas of what a project should or could be, that they never get around to realizing it. The spirits love seeing a finished book or screenplay. That’s how our creativity gets to “play” in this real world. Our creative souls need to wrestle with feedback, research real-world options for publication, cry over rejections, rejoice over successes. We are spirits who’ve manifested in bodies for just this purpose, to not just fantasize (I’m not knocking fantasies, they’re part of the creative process), but also to take that seed and physically plant it in the dirt so that it faces its own life, so that it soaks in sun and is pummelled by storms.

What will it take to bring the ideas swimming in your psyche to fruition? The first step? Write them down. Let go of the fact that they won’t be perfect. Step-by-step write them down. Let others read them and comment. Read books to hone your craft. Then try to get them published. Live your stories in the real world. You’ll find a happiness in the process you hadn’t expected.

Holding onto our creative stories is like a child refusing to leave his room. At some point, we all have to come out and play.

I’m a writing coach and offer a free initial consultation. http://www.artofstorytellingonline.com

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