As soon as I walk in the door, the begging starts. A blur of white fuzz and wagging tail, Walter flitters from my feet to wherever he thinks I’m headed and back again. I linger too long by the entry, or connect my earphones to my phone, and the jumping starts.
After a slight wrestling match to attach a leash, we head to the great outdoors. At the end of the street we used to live on is a large park, consisting of walking trails and tons of green. Breaking the rules (Shh! Don’t tell!), I let Walter roam free. He adores it. He explores everywhere with excitement; a newborn experiencing sensations for the first time, despite the countless visits we’ve made.
And everywhere he goes, he pees.
It struck me on our last walk that this is how writing should be. With each new story, every time we touch our fingers to our laptops (or take pen to paper), we should approach as a newborn. Our imaginations are made to be explored and we should never approach the world of our stories expecting. If we expect something to happen, we will force it, contrive it. If we go in with a game plan, without the leniency to change and explore possibilities, our words will become trite.
We go to the same park, but Walter sees it afresh. This trip had me thinking maybe we would craft better stories if we do the same. Go to the worlds we created, but see them with new eyes.
And then pee everywhere.
Explore worlds, but then leave our mark. Make it ours. It is an old adage that no story is new. Everything there is to tell has been told a million times. But not by you. Not by me. We create something new when we make it ours. We pee all over the plot lines and character motivations, the subtext and dialogue, and suddenly we have something unique.
We have a compelling story.
As you are sitting at your laptop (or with your pen and paper) this week, try looking with fresh eyes on your writing. Throw out all the preconceived notions, attitudes, and beliefs. Find something afresh that thrills you, moves you, floors you.
Create with the wonder and excitement of the newly born and leave your mark all over it.