I’ve been working on this story for about two weeks. The idea for it came to mind and I was excited to do it but I couldn’t see how certain elements would link up. I had my characters, I had my moral, I had my setting but I lacked that really important piece called plot. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t coming to mind right away because I am not afraid of doing some work for a story. I thought if I gave myself time and permission to really work on something, I would have something I would be proud of.
I worked on this story but other stories seemed to spin out of it. I literally laid my head down one night and a story, a complete story popped out of my head. I opened my eyes started cussing. I didn’t have to do anything for the new story, it was done in a fucking instant.
Meanwhile, the other story was still laying there in broken unrelated scenes. I went back to work on it, putting the finished complete story aside cause fuck, it’s finished . The other story is not coming together but damn it, I keep working on it. I keep working on it because I have this American concept that hard work equals good results.
A few days later, I am washing dishes and another story pops in my head, fully formed.
At this point I am just being stubborn. I kept working on the story. Well, the non-story. It is kind of insane. I have these characters and I have their voices. I could handle these characters doing anything, I just don’t have anything cohesive for them to do. I was half tempted to write mini-bursts with them, like write a scene where they argue over pizza. I know them that well. I just don’t have a plot for them to work within.
With this non-story problem in my head, I started Tai chi. It was something I have wanted to do for a while and I finally broke down and did it. Truth be told, I was turned onto Tai chi by the comedy movie, ‘Shaolin Soccer’. Out of all the amazing martial art moves, it was the girl using Tai chi to make sweet rolls that fascinated me. It just seemed like a gentle art and gentility is something I need more of in my life.
I’m doing Tai chi and it is about many things but mostly it uses forms and motions found in nature. It is a surprisingly relaxing exercise. Even though my body is constantly in motion, I find myself slipping into a meditative state. One of the guidelines for Tai chi is to let gravity guide your motion. It is such a simple idea but the first time I heard the instructor say it, a chain reaction of conclusions occurred within me.
I realized that I was equating my difficulties with this story as some sort of challenge that needed to be overcome. I should have realized that the reason I haven’t had a plot for this story yet is that it is just not going to happen. There is no story to be found, or if there is, it is a story that will be forced and put together unnaturally. Especially when you consider how fully formed the other two stories have emerged just recently. I don’t know what force creativity is, but it is obvious that it is better to use it as a guide than something you argue against.
This doesn’t mean that I think all writing should be easy. Second drafts for example is work though it can be fun work. Proofreading and research is work too. But I think there is something to be said for following what your mind wants to write as if you were a sail being pushed by the winds of your own creativity as opposed to someone trying to row up river. I think I am going to try to write what comes easy to me for a month or two and stop trying to write what I find intellectually intriguing.