I had a little “eureka!” moment I’d like to share with you. Something we’ve all been told countless times, but I keep conveniently forgetting. It has to do with the inner critic. Some days, it’s more like a panel of critics, isn’t it?
While working on a story set in Merritt, I felt compelled to write about a country music festival that used to happen there. For the life of me, I couldn’t come up with any rational reason to include anything about the festival in my story. Even a free write on the subject seemed like a waste of precious time. After a few days, I’d made no progress on the writing, so I put it away. The chapter sat gathering dust for a month, and I was desperate to get back to it, so one morning I coffee’d up and let fly. Wrote down everything I could remember about the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, from the night Johnny Cash played to the “Walk of Stars” and buildings plastered with murals of smiling country stars in the nearly abandoned downtown core.
Out of this exercise came multiple esthetic and thematic ingredients for my piece, and what do you know, the festival itself did find a place in the story. Maybe it will be cut later. Who cares? Self-critique stopped my writing cold, and taking a risk paid off in spades. Duh.
Post by Carleigh Baker (TWS 2012).
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.