Have you seen this bit of prose making the rounds?
“The devil whispered in my ear, ‘You’re not strong enough to withstand this storm.’ Tonight I whispered in the devil’s ear, ‘I am the storm.’”
At the risk of sounding like a horned, red-hoofed (unmasked) creature, I’m curious what life is like when you start movin’ your Work.
Is the process smooth sailing and joyful? Or do waves of doubt and perfectionism crash in? Yup, it ain’t easy being a lighthouse, is it?
But, sweetness, you were built for this. (And for times like this but I digress.)
Lighthouses are built on hard, jagged, slippery rock. And we only ever fail by turning off the light, climbing down the ladder and slithering onto the couch and under the covers. (Likely with candy, chips, cheese and chocolate.)
Below is a tip that easily and quickly blows through creative blocks. The process is as sweet, modest and unappreciated as Halloween candied corn.
Ready? Okay, let’s roll.
Storyteller, pretty please PUH-LEEZE…
STOP researching, writing and revising at the same time.
If these three bad boys, Research, Write, Revise, showed up at a Halloween party, they’d start a giant brawl.
All three are divas and want your full attention.
Research demands variety.
Writing wants perfection.
Revision gobbles time.
Please stop putting razors and poison into your creative apple.
Let’s try a tasty treat instead.
Step 1: Do your research. Go online (no pants), to the library (mask up), to the book store (mask up), to a Zoom interview (brush hair). Whatevers. Have fun. Really! Flesh out your big ideas.
Go down the rabbit hole(s) of research and love it. Follow the bread crumbs of
sexy stats, groovy superlatives, nutso trivia, purple prose. You’re not writing – you’re researching. This is a party, baby!
Step 2: When you feel you have enough information (i.e., stuff starts sounding the same), stop researching. Now write a first draft. <gulp> Please accept that all first drafts are <say it with me>, Story Sister and Beacon Brother: “All first drafts are crap.” When you realize content is missing, make a reminder to find that research or “stuff” later. Do NOT open up Google, aka Pandora’s Box of Distraction. Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.
Step 3: Filling in potholes on the first draft (crap) highway is the final leg of your journey. Now is the time to revise, tweak and tinker. Flip back and forth like a house fly on sugar. Research, write, revise, rinse and repeat.
This isn’t mindless distraction leading nowhere – this is revision vision! Your (light?) house is almost built.
You’re putting up the wallpaper not digging out the basement (Step 1: Research). You’re no longer building walls (Step 2: Writing).
You’re almost ready to set the table, answer the door and scream into a kid’s masked face, “TRICK OR TREAT, ghoul! I beat you. I am DONE! I am… <whisper> the storm.”
Happy Halloween, sweet Lighthouse storyteller.
Eat candy, have fun, howl at the moon.
And celebrate your Work.
♥ Shannon ♥