How Do You Know When You've Broken a Story?


Christmas has arrived in my home with a splash of tinsel and some baubles I found in a busy department store last week; during my visit they ran out of trees, baubles, tinsel, and any sense of calm but as random children ran by flailing the last string of tinsel and sleigh bells I found these feather baubles quite charming. I've also been gluing candy canes together to make a fabulous decoration for the table but it is a) not finished and b) at that stage in a project where you think it could either be the best thing ever created or the worst dependent on lighting, who you speak to, and what time of day it is. Perception is a funny thing. When it comes to making objects or designs I find I have infinite patience for the outcome, writing is harder to wait for but I think it's because I want it most of all.

When you want something so badly it's hard to let the paper speak to you. It's hard to let the story tell you what it must become. It's not like gluing together candy canes on a cold Winter night, there's nothing to hold as you patiently mould the words into what feels right. There's no immediate and gut wrenching SNAP like with when you break a candy cane. When you break a story, it's much harder to tell what is broken other than ALL OF IT.

But it's the festive season! And I think most of all this winter we should learn to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. There'll always be one part of is whispering frantically: "IT'S ALL GONE WRONG WTF IS THIS DRIVEL THERE'S NO HOPE I MIGHT AS WELL GLUE CANDY CANES TO MY SHOES AND GO WORK IN A GROTTO FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE AND WRITE PAPERS ABOUT ELF FLATULENT" but we need to learn to foster the other, calmer, voice inside of us that knows the story isn't finished yet and that it's always darkest before the dawn. We need to listen to the strings inside of our hearts tugging us forward no matter the cost. We need to learn to trust not only in the story but in the magical process that is editing and all that it offers.

What do you think about writing over the festive season? Any one else happen to own the heaviest bauble in the world? Have an Elf gif from me!