Writing and Changing Your Mind

My biggest challenge in writing—whether it be blogs, books, poetry, or short stories— is changing my mind about the largest aspects of my projects.

Take my current WIP and how it’s evolved just in the plotting stages over the last four years:
• Contemporary YA Realism with a tragic ending about an aspiring playwright orphan.
•Contemporary NA Realism with a tragic ending about an aspiring playwright orphan.
• Contemporary NA Realism with a tragic ending about an aspiring marketing agent.
• Contemporary YA Realism with a tragic ending about an aspiring writer.
•Contemporary NA Magical Realism with a non-tragic ending about a marketing agent/student/aspiring playwright.

As you can see, some elements stayed relatively the same; others changed completely. While most of these changes took place, I felt guilty about them. Was I changing the story as a way to procrastinate? Was I doing it for selfish reasons? To impress others instead of telling the story I wanted to share? To emulate a particular writing style or storyline of an author I liked?

I started feeling as though I couldn’t change my mind as a writer because it was causing me to stop writing and because the story had changed so much that it was no longer recognisable. Doesn’t that story deserve to be told still? Those thoughts made me not want to write, so I stopped writing.

Changing your mind about anything can be hard, even heartbreaking. When you change your mind about a large writing project, it can cause a wide variety and intense combination of emotions. Dread, excitement, joy, sadness, peace, wonder, frustration.

Any of these emotions can be debilitating or empowering when you sit down to continue plotting or to write. It mostly depends on your perspective. When you’re dreading, sad, or frustrated by the changes, it can be difficult to work because you may feel as though nothing will turn out well, no matter what you do. But these emotions can also help you gain motivation to fix anything the changes might’ve messed up or give you the emotions necessary to write certain scenes. Being excited, joyful, at peace, or in awe of the changes can make you nervous that you’ll mess up what you’re looking forward to writing. The positive emotions can build up your anticipation of certain scenes so much that when you start to write them you become nervous that how you’ve planned them or thought about them won’t be what comes out on the page or you won’t be able to properly describe the emotions or actions that you wished to convey. But feeling these ways can also be the best motivation for knocking out large chunks of writing, simply because it’s usually easier to work when you’re experiencing positive emotions.

Even so, making changes to your plot can be a terrifying prospect—no matter the emotions tied to it. Changes can take any piece and make it better. Changes are often necessary. It’s best to keep an open mind, pay attention, and be observant to the the little details in your plot. You’ll see things that will need to be different. Hopefully the changes and the emotions tied to them will motivate you and help you be excited about your work.

What emotions do you feel when changing your plot/story? Do you have any advice? Let me know in the comments below!

Published by A Boggus Life

I am an eclectic reader and editor who solves Rubik's cubes, writes, draws and paints, and longs to live in England and France.

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