Falling In Love With Our Writing

“Writing is like steering a ship: one will inevitably–and constantly–fall of course on the way to one’s destination. Did you ever sit down to write a letter and end up saying something totally different from what you’d set out to?

It is so easy when writing to fall in love with yourself, to let words, sentences, and characters carry you away, to indulge yourself. ‘Self-indulgent’ is an epithet writers cringe at, but in actuality not such a horrible label–writers often have to allow a certain amount of indulgence in order to let their writing go where it ‘wants’ to, let their characters do what they ‘want’ to do–in other words, to let the work evolve out of itself. The alternative would be for the writer to impose his original plan onto the work no matter what, even if no longer suitable , and this would inevitably lead to a contrived text. More advanced writers can mask it, but an element of lifelessness, a lack of spontaneity, will linger at its core. Still, when the indulgence is done, the writer must, eventually, focus.”

–Noah Lukeman, The First Five Pages, P. 170

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