What is that one scene you’ve thought about adding that could end up throwing the story out of whack? What’s that one conversation that could alter the very core of one of the most important characters in your book? What’s that one chapter where everything breaks apart at the seams? If this reminds you of any moment in your book that has yet to be written, then why haven’t you done it yet?
It’s the very dilemma that confronts all kinds of writers that have stumbled on to a road block of sorts. We often want to decide between being bogged down with our novels, or taking a risk that could potentially send the First Draft swerving in the wrong direction. When you write, it can feel like you’re on one of the most boring road trips in the whole of your existence. It can feel like you’re sitting in a car for hours upon hours while that annoying cousin of yours keeps bugging you to play road trip games with him. It feels like that grating sensation that stabs at your ears when someone tries to get everyone into singing a song inside of the car. All the while, you’re just looking out of the dirty window of your van, as a featureless desert scrolls past you.
But what if you’ve been thinking about it from the wrong perspective all this time?
What if you weren’t taking an extended road trip? What if your cousin wasn’t even riding with you? What if you realize that it’s not even another person that’s in control of the steering wheel–rather the person in control is you. And what if I told you that you weren’t even on a road trip to begin with?
Your eyes are poking out of the tunneled vision of a helmet, and your gloved hands wrap themselves around a decorated steering wheel. You look down at your attire and realize that you’re being sponsored by all kinds of restaurants, drinks, perfumes, colognes, and corporations. Your heart skips a beat when three blurs zoom past you at speeds that you can’t make out upon their exit.
Lowering the window of your car, you gaze out to find that you’re in the middle of a massive race track, and a dozen others cars swing past you at a moment’s notice. You’re a race car driver, and you’re about to lose the Grand Prix.
You had started the race without any qualms and you had no issues with leaving the rest of your rivals to bite the dust. But for some reason, you decided to slow down, and now they’re gaining up on you. You’re on cusp of reaching the finish line, but a choice looms over you. Will you continue at your current speed, hoping that your close distance will account for your lacking velocity? Or will you press your foot against the pedal, risking an accident or two in your attempts to get to the end?
You, and only you, are in control of your story. No one will tell you at what rate you should be writing, and no one will direct your course or tell you which path is safe. It’s your choice alone. Will there be bumps on the way? Don’t even kid yourself–of course there’s going to be. Hell, not even bumps. Fractures and gashes are the least you’ll be getting out of your mistakes. It’s not an easy choice, but one you need to make right now, as you read this post.
Will you play it safe until you hate everything about your novel? Or will you take a risk and venture forth into the unknown?
As always, this has been the QuestingAuthor. Keep writing, my friends.