I won’t leave you hanging. The secret to creating the best possible piece of writing is the ability to believe in yourself.
Before you click your browser’s “back” button and recoil in disgust, let me clarify that I’m not just spewing rainbows, lollipops, and unicorns at you. “Think positive” and “do your best” may seem like empty proclamations, but you can turn those optimistic assertions into an actual writing tool, as pertinent as a word processor, a keyboard, and your phalanges.
There’s no shortcut to brilliant writing. A flawless final product emerges from talent, creativity, and meticulous editing. Believing in your abilities without action will not yield results. The practice of optimism helps ignite a passion that transforms your intentions into an artistic arrangement of words. It’s the beginning of your story as a writer.
Optimism as a writing instrument is a two-part strategy that consists of theory and mechanics.
Here’s an exercise. Think of all the films that you’ve never heard of or seen. I’ll throw a title out there as a starting point: "The Room." It is arguably one of the worst movies ever made -- horrible acting, inconsistencies galore, and nonsensical plot. However, the DVD features a Q&A with writer, director, producer, and star of the film, Tommy Wiseau, and he states one thing that makes sense.
Wiseau explains that he had an idea for a screenplay he wanted to write and writing it wasn’t enough for him -- he wanted to actually turn the screenplay into a film. Wiseau wasn’t concerned with what critics would say. He didn’t care if anyone “got” his idea. He made his own reality. The result? "The Room" doesn’t have to be known as one of the best movies ever made, but it is known. It has a nationwide cult following who attend midnight screenings of the cinematic disaster and excitedly venture to sold-out talks featuring Wiseau and his cast.
What would have happened if Wiseau kept the film's plot, as incoherent as it may be, in his thoughts? Nothing. Instead, he believed in himself and executed his plan accordingly.
You have to make yourself invincible. There’s no amount of hand-holding, high fives, or pats on the back that can achieve that for you.
No matter what you do, someone is going to disagree with your viewpoint or simply not like it. Don’t write for those individuals. Write because you’re passionate about a subject. That’s all you need. Wiseau may not have envisioned that those who enjoy bad movies would appreciate his film, but nonetheless his vision found an audience.
Everyone has avoided a task that he or she wants to accomplish. Feeling guilty about this lack of action is pointless. When you’re ready and looking for inspiration, focus on the possibilities that lie ahead once you take the initiative to reach your goal, rather than the excuses (it will be difficult, it will take a long time, it will require too much energy, etc.) that keep you in procrastination mode.
What project have you been putting off?