Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Seesaw

I have an analogy for you today. It's an analogy you probably won't understand until you get to the end of this post, but that's okay. I just want you to imagine this with me.

There is a seesaw. It's this really giant, awesome seesaw (cause seesaws are awesome). For all intents and purposes, the seesaw is in the middle of the ocean, okay? And when I say it's giant, I mean it. There's a dragon on one side. And there's a pirate ship on the other side. Now, on that pirate ship there is (obviously) a pirate crew. But that pirate crew is fighting for control of the ship with a group of ninjas. The dragon is at a stalemate with the pirate-ninja ship on the seesaw. Neither of them are going up or down.

Following? Good. Cause it gets better.

Suddenly, a wizard appears in the center of the seesaw. He's a little guy; you wouldn't really expect much from him. But that little bastard whips out his staff and ZAP! The pirates and ninjas are allies. They've formed a pirate-ninja alliance that will last through the centuries. Another ZAP! and the dragon shrinks. Smaller and smaller until... SPLASH! The pirate-ninja ship is in the water again! They unfurl the sails and (with a gust of wind from the wizard) they're on their way to treasures untold!

You've got to be wondering by now, "What the hell does this have to do with anything?" Well, let me explain. I'm the guy who starts one story and then gets ideas for another. All the time. Actually, every time. As of recently I've just been throwing down little bits of ideas I get into a notebook in the hopes that one day I'll use them. It's not the best strategy, but for now it works. With this method, I can continue with whatever I'm currently writing and just look at my other ideas later.

That in mind, let's break down this image here. Say the pirate ship is my story, and I am it's captain (representing the whole crew). My story is moving along nicely enough (albeit slower than I want). But, suddenly, I realize that I don't have a direction (cue ninjas). It's chaos, but still I keep the story moving in hopes that things will get sorted out.

Then the seesaw. It comes out of nowhere. The inevitable writer's block. It stops my story cold, and no matter what I do I can't get it to move. The dragon is just insult to injury; the pressure from myself and others to get to the end. (The end that, mind you, is still a fog-covered mystery to me.) So I struggle. There are ninjas aboard my ship, and I'm suspended above the water with this big ass dragon taunting me the whole time.

And that's when the most glorious thing happens. The wizard. The random little plot bunny I jotted down weeks before. The biggest blockade I've ever had to deal with in writing solved by one little wizard. I almost didn't believe it, but it gave my story new direction; suddenly those ninjas aboard my ship weren't crossing blades with my crew. They were pullin' rope and singin' sea shanties with 'em. Suddenly, all those self-inflicted pressures were out of mind; I was going to make it.

Now I'm back in the water. Plugging along with a bit of help from that little idea. The smallest thing makes all the difference in the world. Not just in my case, but in yours too. Don't forget the little things. Just because it doesn't seem important right now doesn't mean it won't be later. I can almost guarantee that little thing is gonna save your bacon at some point. It sure as hell saved mine.