Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writing is like driving a truck a little too big for me

My husband and I used to own an old red, full-size Dodge truck. I drove it quite a bit, and being a small woman, it always made me feel as though I was doing something unusual.  I would see my petite hands wrapped around the over-sized steering wheel, surprisingly slender, the flat bench seat seeming to push back at my hundred pounds of weight.  The steering had a constant jiggle from side to side in my hands. At first I tried to hold it steady but overtime I got comfortable enough to trust the truck to steer straight even if the wheel I held seemed to be shifting back and forth; it had play in it.  My arms would just relax into the movement.

Writing is like that.  It has wiggle room in a story when I am drafting, and I will feel at first that the story is drifting in and out of the center it should be in.  I slow down, hold tighter, end up over correcting, and the driving of the story is not enjoyable.  As I become more involved with its inhabitants, my grip loosens. I begin to trust the story to keep the road on its own, and the tremendous view out the window gets much more of my attention, not those quick glances that are punctuated by far more intense visuals of the speedometer, gas gauge and temperature indicator. 

When I have gained trust in the story, it doesn't get easier to write, any more than that truck got easier for me to push the pedal down or steer around corners, but the writing does feel more like it has a good reason to be coming into existence; there is purpose to it, place, time, people and growth.  So every story seems a little too big for me, a little unwieldy, but in time, I gain the finesse and ease of moving along the track of the story's way.

No comments: