Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Think I Can

No matter how many times you lock Doubt up when you’re writing, he always escapes and comes back to haunt you another day. You know what scares him? Confidence. You’re making it through your draft, one impossibly long sentence at a time. You’ve written your way out of at least two roadblocks by now, and that ending you were unsure of looks like it’s finally coming together.

Today, we will take our dose of encouragement from The Little Engine That Could. The little train couldn’t pull the line of cars by herself over the big hill, so she left the track and tried to get help. The big engines didn’t want to help her. Another smaller engine did. It was tough, but because they worked together and believed they could do it, they made it over the hill. What did the trains say as they pulled the cars up the hill? I think I can.

In that child’s story, Doubt entered. But their chant drove him away. Their confidence was contagious. And where there is confidence, you very rarely find Doubt.

When you reach another road block in your story or when you’re facing more time constraints than you first thought, Doubt will enter again. “No, you can’t do this.” It is your job as the writer to shoo Doubt away. Don’t worry about the ending yet. Don’t worry about that roadblock or the fact you need to stop writing soon. Don’t focus on “No, you can’t,” but “Yes, I can.”

Is that next scene going to be tough? Are you unsure how it will turn out? Do you suddenly have unexpected plans over Thanksgiving weekend, ruining your writing time? When you start on your draft again, follow the advice of The Little Engine That Could.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

You’ll be surprised how such a simple, silly thing will help you drive away Doubt and help you finish your quota.

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