Something has happened to me. Worse, something has happened to my writing.
Once upon a time, exceptional writing spilled fully formed from my pen. No matter what medium or instrument I used, sheer brilliance appeared from the moment I began to compose. I introduced one new idea after the next. I dived in, pen first, and soared far beyond myself and into the infinite universe.
It turns out, nothing is farther from the truth. Great writing is created in revision – rethinking, rewriting, adding, subtracting, repositioning, editing. In effect, great copy is born in change. And none of it is original. It’s borrowed from previous genius.
The myth about creativity
Creative ideas aren’t original. This realization nearly broke me.
The grim truth is, creative ideas are nothing more than a combination of preexisting thoughts that anyone can come up with. Working in marketing showed me this.
Marketing copy is a combination of sensation, experience, and knowledge. Believe it or not, it’s bound by restrictions. I know, I know. When you think ‘marketing,’ you imagine the freedom to exaggerate the story. But really, it’s formal and structured. Each marketing piece is researched and strategized, and its macro purpose is to convert the customer, the sale, and the click. There’s always a struggle to write the perfect next line and to hit the word count. And the final piece is nothing more than a reiteration of what the rest of the world has already said. It’s calculated and it’s regurgitated.
This blog is not about theories or exercises, although they have their place in developing the writer’s craft. This is about a love for writing, and my determination to start back at the beginning… to write brilliantly, exceptionally, and to be original.
Writers are taught that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Closure is important to us. But how sorry are we to see a good book end? The truth is we don’t really like endings at all.
The stories I am writing are full of potential, which is why I’ll leave the final sentence unfinished. And then I’ll start the next story, and when I reach that end, I’ll again leave the final sentence unfinished.
Writing open-ended. Never being emptied and never being overfilled.