I think this is a common problem, especially with the inexhaustible availability of information on the Internet. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of online classes, authors’ websites, blogs, how-to articles and Yahoo Groups proliferate the Internet—everyone of them talking, teaching, and voicing opinions about the craft of writing. All sorts of rules abound: do this, don’t do that; the hero and heroine must meet on the first page, start a story with action, start a story in the hero’s ordinary world, don’t use flashbacks, don’t use prologues, etc. Many of the rules contradict each other, causing more confusion.
For five years, that was my very own personal problem. Before I “knew” anything, writing was a joy. Every morning, I couldn’t wait to get on the computer to write. I wrote everyday and watched the pages of each manuscript grow until I would come to the end and then start the process all over. Ah, ignorance was bliss.
Then I started attending conferences, workshops, and online seminars; I joined Yahoo Groups and forums; I read countless articles on authors’ websites and books on craft. My brain was in hyper drive, my creativity in dry dock, and my confidence shattered. The more I was learning, the less I seemed to know. This doesn’t mean writers should not hone their craft. Knowledge is power, but don’t let it stop you in your tracks and keep you from writing. The best way to learn the craft of writing is to write.
So there I was— frozen into immobility. What could I do? I had to write; I couldn’t quit. I was miserable not writing. Every once in a while, I would start a project, but stop way before it was finished. I was letting every little thing keep me from writing. Oh yes, I was miserable.
Then something inside of me dramatically changed… or rebelled. I decided to allow my subconscious writer’s brain to have at it. For five years, I’d been inputting data. It was time to “forget” all the rules and write the kinds of stories I like to read, and write them how I want to write them. I put my faith in my subconscious brain to access the required data as needed, and let it flow through my fingertips to the keyboard and onto the page. Writing is magical and mystical anyway. Why not allow it free rein? So far, it’s been working for me. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I have rediscovered the joy. Once again, I look forward to sitting at the computer and immersing myself into the story I’m writing. Why don’t you give it a try? What can you lose?