Writing Goals: 2013 [Part 9] —The Only Way Out Is Through

December 27th, 2012 by

We pick up from last week with our year-end attempt to help GITS readers set and achieve their writing goals for 2013. To revisit the process of self-reflection from last week, here are the links

Part 1: Looking Back

Part 2: Assessing Where You Are

Part 3: Where Do You Want To Go As A Writer

Part 4: Practical Matters

Part 5: Going Public

This week we shift the focus to a more pragmatic part of the discussion, considering a variety of tips about how to manage time and projects more efficiently. Here is what we have thus far

Part 6: Schedule

Part 7: Time Management

Part 8: First Draft

Today: The Only Way Out Is Through

Imagine the process of writing a story as being a journey. Perhaps as you embark on your adventure, you have a map — an outline or beat sheet. Or maybe you don’t, plunging into your story in order to find it along the way. In either case, it’s almost certain that you will reach points in the writing process where you will feel lost. The plot isn’t working like you thought it would. Your characters feel remote and confusing. Your scenes don’t seem to be working. Your map or instincts become a labyrinth. Basically you are left to ponder, “What the hell was I thinking?”

That’s when you are tempted to give up.

Don’t. Giving up doesn’t get you out, rather it only allows you to avoid story — or so you think. It still exists. And by quitting, you create a shadow, your story as unfulfilled potential looming over you like a ghost.

No, the only way out is through.

You have to push yourself through your feelings of doubt. Push yourself through the ambiguities of your plot. Push yourself through the hard work of pounding out pages.

Rather than quitting, take the opposite approach: Go deeper into your story. To paraphrase “The X-Files,” the truth is in there!

If you go through the process, you will find your way out.

Every journey has its twists and turns. You may not be able to see where you’re heading around the next turn, but the fact is there is a path.

And the only way out is through.

This is one of the two most profound and powerful writing mantras I know. The other one I will reveal tomorrow in the final post in this series.

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