Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Deep Philosophical Moment: Writing Is Like Life

Writing is like life.

I don't mean that what you write is a reflection of life, or that writing means that you give life to ideas and make-believe people, or even that writing makes you feel alive, although all of that is true.

I mean writing is like life. You start out with goals and plans. Whether you're a planner or a pantser, in writing or in life, you have some idea of what you want to make out of  your story, and you work to achieve it.

And, despite the planning and lists of goals and hard work, as with those best-laid plans of mice and men, no matter how much you work toward your goal, you end up somewhere you didn't completely expect. Stuff happened in the process of making your story. You met a character you didn't expect to meet. You got hurt or frightened and reacted by backing away, or by running blindly down the nearest alley. You took one turn to explore a road that looked interesting, expecting to get back on your path at the next corner. Your intended plot was blocked by some obstacle and so you had no choice but to look in another direction. The bumps and twists and attempts to work around obstacles and respond to conflicts led you in an unexpected direction.

You let go of the rod. You didn't stay on the Yellow Brick Road. Your story forced you to slog down the Muddymuck Swamp Gas Trail, and you probably forgot to roll up your pant legs until it was too late.

And you ended up here. You look back, wondering what would have happened if you had stuck to your plan. Would things be better? Worse? Or just different?

But your story is what it became, intentional or not. Maybe you just hoped for the wrong tale, and got what you got. And chances are, it's a pretty good story the way it ended up, even if it's not what you always wanted.

Yeah, it's kinda like life that way.

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