As writers, we play “what if” all day long. “What if” drives every decision about characters and plot twists. It is probably the tool we use the most.
Sometimes the “what if” tool becomes the bewitched broom of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and winds up terrifying and controlling us instead of the other way around. We turn the “what if” on the quality of our work too early … and make ourselves miserable. What if this actually sucks? What if I never get published? What if everyone secretly thinks I am wasting my time? What if I AM wasting my time?????
I hate it when my brain does that to me.
There is a time and place for taking a giant step backwards and cooling critiquing the quality of your work. When is that? ONE: when you are revising, and TWO: when you are trying to figure out if your story or novel or whatever is good enough to submit.
NOT when you are trying to get into the daily groove of writing, or when you are looking for the door that will open the magic of a story.
When Doubt and Desperation creep into your brain and try to cannibalize your imagination, pick up something handy, like a burning torch or a double-headed axe, and drive them back into the shadows where they belong.
“It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.”
Today’s Prompt: You (or a character) are trapped in a looming disaster. You are given a few minutes to find and carry one thing out of your house. All the of the people and animals that live with you are safe. All of your documentation; insurance paperwork, medical records, etc. have also been accounted for.
What is the first thing you choose and why?
You get to the front door and stop. You put down your first choice and run back and get a second item. Why? What is it?
Be sure to describe both the physical details and the emotional significance of the item.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…