You Can See Only As Far As

Are you in any way like me? After reading a good book do you wish you could write like that author?

Sometimes when I sit at my desk and look at the blank page in front of me, I really wish for a second that I could write like Maya Angelou, Paulo Coelho, Carlos Fuentes, Stephen King, John Grisham, Simone De Beauvoir, Maxim Gorky and many others. And yet when I start writing I want to pour out onto the page all my emotions and ideas. I want to write about things that make me happy, or sad, or make me think and dream. In other words I want to pour out my soul.

But E.L. Doctorow said once said:

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Sometimes it so happens that on your way to your destination you are forced to take a detour, just like when in the middle of your writing your characters take charge and change the course of your novel. Your heroine falls in love with the wrong guy, or your key character is not the person you think he is and he doesn’t behave the way you want him to. And that’s when you realize that while writing is just like driving, you don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. As long as you stay on track you know you are on your way.

But what if you realize that you are on a totally different road than where you want to be? You become aware of the fact that you are following the ideals and desires which other people, by their words or their writings, have inspired in you. You have deceived yourself. You got caught up with what you thought you should write and not by what you wanted with your whole soul to do. You ask yourself;

“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be … when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.” Arthur Miller

And then you turn back and start all over again. You write, write, and write until you get it right this time. And you are happy because you recognize yourself in your sentences. Because this is what you believe in, this is who you are. And as John Jakes wrote:

“Be Yourself. Let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”


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