“I think that what I have been truly searching for as a person, as a writer, as a thinker, as a daughter, is freedom. That is my mission. A sense of liberty, the liberty that comes not only from self-awareness but also from letting go of many things. Many things that weigh us down.”—Jhumpa Lahiri
Writing is so personal. Whether you are writing a slightly autobiographical novel, a memoir, a funny, poem or picture book, we are never too far away from our hearts and what we want to say and share with the world.
We write to bring people together. To let the reader stand in your shoes—or someone else’s—creating a most empowering kind of empathy. We write because we are curious, because we have big questions, because we want to make this world better.
It begins with an idea.
It grows into lines and paragraphs and chapter and themes, until finally, we have discovered something. A draft. (That is where I’m at right now, and let me just say, it feels glorious.)
But drafting people and ideas and dialogue and places is just the beginning. Once we have words on the page, it is our job to stand back and let inspiration and intuition find us again. We can help that process along by taking into account what we have—the characters that we have given life to.
Sometimes, it looks good.
Most of the time, we must dig deeper. We cannot be satisfied scratching at the surface. Even the characters we know so well in our hearts don’t reveal their motivations immediately.
In other words, sometimes (well, for me, all the time), we must reimagine all of it. The places. The people. The emotions. The almost everything.
And sometimes that means letting go.
Writing is always hard, but at this time of year, as the days get shorter, it can feel even harder. Being flexible takes more energy. With less daylight, I want things to happen faster. I have fewer hours to fit in all the things I want to do. My gusto needs some assistance.
With that in mind, I thought I would share a bingo card I made a while back. The exercises on this card are meant to help you step away from your manuscripts and shake things up a bit. They are meant to help you see your story in new ways—and go deeper. This writing life is all about taking chances as your truth comes into clear vision. It’s about making changes to help you say—more meaningfully—what you want to say. It’s about having the freedom to be yourself—and let go.
So have some fun!
If you do all the exercises before Thanksgiving, let me know what you discovered! Let them work for you–and give you more daylight–wherever you are in the process.
Have a great writing week!