It’s amazing how fast you can go on wheels. Just a few sweeping pushes with the legs and you’re off, spinning around the track at breakneck speed. Not many things come easily to me, but being on skates is one of them. That’s not to say I don’t work at it. I do. Very hard. But, it feels natural. Safe, even. I know that sounds ridiculous when I am on the track for the sole purpose of bashing into people, but there it is. I feel safe on skates.
It’s the same with writing. Even when I had barely mastered the basics of reading, when I was just learning the foundation elements of what comprised a story, I found I could not only immerse myself in a world created by another, but forge one of my own. My stories were simple, of course, but they came to me easily. I have since learned that there is also a hell of a lot to learn about storytelling, and have had to hone my skills a hundred times over, but still the basics, the “what if” comes with little effort.
In skating I allow myself to hit walls. Not literally, of course; that would hurt. I’m talking about physical limitations. I know I am still learning after ten months, that I can’t possibly jump on a pair of skates and know everything about derby in one, two, five years. It takes time, and it takes time for my muscles to accept the fact I’m now expecting them to do more than just help me sit at a desk. I can accept my failures, set goals to improve from those pitfalls, and understand with complete objectivity that the whole thing will take time. So, my question really is:
Why the hell can’t I do that with my writing?
When I write, I want it perfect from sentence one. I want the whole story laid out before me, shining and whole, no plot tangles, no ugly surprises somewhere around page one-fifty. To have a day, week, or month with little output is so unacceptable that I would rather not do anything than face the fact that I might fall short of my own stupid expectations. Like a fresh meat skater terrified of picking up her feet, I am barely rolling along, locking wheels with myself, hindering my own growth, and almost guaranteeing I’m going nowhere except onto my face.
I know where the problem lies. Adventure. I don’t have a sense of it when writing. I’m so bogged down with my need to have order that I’ve forgotten (so soon after Junket City, even) how to be spontaneous in storytelling. To be organic.
I’m trying it today. No outline, no starting from page one. Just jumping into a random scene and writing until I’m done. I’m unlocking my wheels and picking up my feet. Let’s see how fast I can go.