I’ve got a writer friend who advocates ‘being in the wilderness’. He talks about how it’s sometimes necessary to wander into a dramatic space where there’s no clear answer about where to turn. His theory is that there’s juicy material that comes out of that space and that you can’t mine it unless you wander into that potentially scary territory.
I agree. While there is something about writing that suggests that I should always be “in control” of the universe I’m creating, I believe my work is juicier when I find myself in territory I didn’t expect. This might happen if I’m creating something without outlining first (which I do with my plays) – or if I happen upon a moment in something I’ve sketched out that turns problematic. It might also happen when I’m writing something for someone else (say a script for a TV project – a story that someone else initiated).
So what do you do when you’re lost in the middle of an artistic project? The same things you might do if you were actually lost in the real world.
- Find a map: Reading material that covers similar territory to what you’re working on can be helpful in finding your way.
- Make a plan: Devising a new outline for your project could take you to a more focused place in your writing.
- Ask for directions: Getting guidance, support and advice from other creatives can be the key to moving ahead.
- Keep going: Taking off in any direction is likely to unearth a new sense of where you are and what might be nearby. Continuing to write may shake something loose.
- Stay calm: Solutions often emerge in the space of grounded serenity.
What I’ve discovered is that things always shift. If I’m lost in my writing or in my life, it’s temporary. Trust the flow and the process and you’re sure to emerge from the wilderness.
Drop me a line and share your experience around being lost in your writing work and how you made it back.
I look forward to hearing from you.