I once read somewhere that being a good writer requires decisiveness.
This makes sense. For example, I’ve spent the last week trying to decide what topic I wanted to cover for this post, and as a result posted nothing. You can’t write if you don’t actually write it down.
Getting the words out is the most important part. To do that you need to decide what you want to say, how you want to say it, what is going to happen, and how you want to show it. Simple, no?
Here are a few of the things that run though my mind whenever I start to create a story:
- Where should the story start
- What perspective should it be from
- What’s the protagonists name
- Is that his or her real name
- What color is his or her hair
- Does their hair color matter
- What should they do at this critical point
- Which action is the most believable/exciting/unique/non cliché/likely to take my story in the right direction
- What if I’m wrongWhat is the right direction
When we read something published and polished it’s easy to step back and appreciate each choice the author made, each detail they included, and why it was the best possible choice for their story.
However, how does one make the right choices? As writers we’re not limited to budgets or relying on others to bring our stories to life; we only need words, our imaginations, and our experiences. This kind of freedom, while extraordinary, can be crippling for a chronically indecisive person like myself.
Even within the bounds of the worlds I create, I still find so many possible roads to take.
When I’m trying to decide what is “right” for my stories and my characters I’ll often let a decision roll around in my head for a day (or month, or years) and see what sticks over time. The time allows it to grow on my story, and once I get to the point where I can’t see it being any other way I’ll know I’ve made the right decision.
Unfortunately this is not an effective use of time, and is a major contributor as to why I’ve never finished anything.
I would love to hear how other people deal with decisiveness (or indecisiveness) in their own writing, and the doubts that come with it. Is it even something that you have to think about, or are you naturally decisive? How do you make your decisions? What’s the best advise you have received on the topic? And of course, any other thoughts you may have on the matter!