Monday, April 19, 2010

Trust--A Writer's Best Friend


This word bugs me right now.

First, because writing requires tremendous trust in oneself. Second, because most of us, myself included, don't have much of it.

And yet, once the workshop is over, after the first draft doesn't look that great three months down the road, we're left with our stories, however raw they are. We sit on them for a while, and then we return. I think we're returning to that place, that internal trust that we can change the story, that we can find the "right" way to tell that story, that we are, indeed, the only people who can tell our stories exactly as they're meant to be told.

When students and contributors ask me what I mean exactly when I ask them to revise, I want to (and sometimes do, moreso with students) throw lots of ideas at them for improvement. Some of that is old-fashioned habit, a lot of it is about deadlines, and much of it may or may not be meaningful.

But in the end, what I really want to say is, "Listen to yourself. Trust what you know about this character, this place, this situation. Trust yourself and write."

I think I'll take my own advice.

(Thanks to Justin, one of IR's friendly neighborhood interns.)

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