The Purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
To join IWSG visit Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh here.
The only journey is the one within.
― Rainer Maria Rilke
On Monday I discussed the importance of story (your protagonist’s internal transformative arc), and how it differs from plot (the external ‘what happens’). Plot alone is nothing more than a string of events. Void of emotional resonance, plot is not a substitute for story. Story is your character’s emotional pursuit of a hard won (or hard lost) goal, and the internal transformation that results.
That post got me thinking about our own stories as writers and how hesitant many of us are to appreciate our personal transformative arcs. We often discuss the plot of our writerly lives: word counts, querying, NaNo, indie or legacy publishing, reviews, etc., but we pay little attention to our stories.
The obvious reason for this is that our path is a difficult one, and it is less painful to mark milestones by plot points (I finished my first draft! I received a request for a full!) than focus our attention on the emotional journey which is often fraught with rejection and can be, let’s face it, damned scary.
IWSG provides us with a unique opportunity to to turn things around and shine a light on ourselves and our personal stories. To get in touch with shared emotions and recognize both the unspoken battles we all face, and how those conflicts change us as we work toward our goals.
Publishing is a business, so it’s natural to be dispassionate, but don’t hide from your own story. Dig for those emotions, and not just on IWSG Wednesday. Use them in your work. Follow Hemingway’s advice, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”
Frighting? You bet, but this is your personal journey. It deserves to be more than plot. Make it a story worth telling.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
― Maya Angelou