Writing tips 09

You have an idea for a story, a brilliant idea, and it plays perfectly in your mind. You are encouraged by this wonderful idea and you really want to see it on paper.

You get home and open your laptop. You really believe that you can transfer the magic in your head to paper. You feel good about this. Now it is time to write.

But you can’t write. That brilliant idea is seeming increasingly difficult to put on paper. But you were so sure that the idea was crystal clear, in fact, you saw yourself punching the letters in your mind’s eye. So why is it so difficult for you write the story now that you’re facing your laptop or holding your pen?

I’d tell you why; the idea in your head is very different from what you write on paper. The world of ideas is different from the world of words. Yes, the story plays magically well in your head, crystal clear even, but on trying to write it down you realise that you can’t even write a paragraph.

You have to learn to differentiate ideas from the written form. Yes, you have the idea in your head. Yes, it makes so much sense. Yes, the story will be so interesting. But at the time you want to write this story, you must remember to sideline that fantasy in your head. Writing a story is different from thinking a story.

When writing, try not to think. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it works. Just blank your mind from those incoming thoughts. Because truly, those thoughts are distractions. They are fantasies. They are the shadows of the stories that you write on paper. You must bring yourself to neutrality of mind in order for you to have clear channels to narrate your story.

The words will come if the mind is clear of these fantasies. The idea is a muse, but you must put it aside when it’s time for business. You must empty your mind. Just let the words flow from your tongue. They are at the tip of your tongue. You can do this. Meditate if you have to. But the reason you can’t convert your fantasies to words is because you keep filling the fantasies which stops you from filling the book.

The stories in your head are fantasies. It takes technical skill to convert fantasies to realities.

I have brilliant story ideas too, I’m sure that you do too if you tell stories as well. And many of my ‘fantasies’ have crippled me because I spent too much time admiring them, “Oh, this is going to be a blockbuster.” It is sweet to admire stories in your head. You might even proclaim yourself a genius. But the real test lies in converting these fantasies to words.

So, think less and write more.

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