Out of the Closet


Every writer has those stories, poems, or scripts that are hidden in their closet, deep underneath that one pair of shoes they never wear, so that no one can find it. I have my own fair share of stashed stories, but I also think they are important parts of each writer’s portfolio. We all have those terrible dialogues and cliché characters that we would rather not remember, but if we hadn’t created them, where would we be today?

For example, one of my plots involved a car crash in which my protagonist was the only survivor. Pretty basic, right? I wrote this within six months after I wrote my first short story, so I was still a baby when it came to creativity. It didn’t occur to me to throw in plot twists or just use a different plot idea in general. In my young mind, if I was an excellent writer, like we all think we are (and strive to be), then writing a basic plot story would still be interesting to read, because I would wow the readers with my amazing, unique writing style.

Obviously, that was not the case. I now understand that I have to combine a basic plot that has a few unpredictable plot twists, with my amazing, unique writing style in order to capture the attention of readers. Whenever we finish a project that we have been working on, we’re going to feel like it’s the best thing ever written, and immediately want to show it to friends or family. For some of us, that urge is quickly pushed away and the story or poem or script stays hidden deep within the files on our computers, or in a notebook hidden under the mattress.

Blank ringbound notebook and pencil
Image Credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk (Google)

In reality, sharing our work is something that should be encouraged! It gives us feedback from people that we trust. No one is going to think that we’re stupid or incapable of writing because non-writers are in awe of our skills, and any practiced reader that you give it to is going to know that everyone has to start somewhere in order to produce the books that they love to read. There is nothing to be ashamed of, because we learn important rules from every single piece we write!

Ray Bradbury speaks about his own writing experience in an interview, and his own journey through writing is one that most writers are familiar with:

The bottom line is that the more you write, the more you know. So we shouldn’t hide those terrible, sappy lines of dialogue, or plots that have more holes than a golf course. Embrace your inner reader, and remind yourself that all writers are in the same situation. We need to bring out those first pieces and show the world how far we’ve come since we started writing! You’ll be glad you did it!



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