“Everything you release frees you.”
I have this little gem of wisdom written on a pink index card which I keep, along with a stack of others, by my desk. It was said by a wise woman I know and it often floats into my head. It came to me tonight, as I was thinking about what to write. Sometimes when I feel tapped out, I fish around in my handy library of books on writing, looking for a flash of inspiration or something useful to share.
This time around, though, nothing grabbed me. So I fell back on myself and this phrase popped up. I started off by thinking about letting go of the need to say something useful or insightful here, which led me to ponder the concept of letting go as it relates to writing more generally. The more I thought about it, the more different ways of letting go popped into my head. Here are a few that came to me:
Writing in a different medium: So often, we get into a certain groove. We choose a particular form of writing and stick to it: short story, novella, drama, poetry. While focus on one form of writing certainly leads to mastery, it can also become confining. So why not mix it up? If you gravitate toward fashioning short stories, why not try writing dialogue for a play and see where it takes you?
Writing in a different genre: Another form of letting go involves freeing yourself from the conventions of a particular genre. Whether you habitually write thrillers or science fiction, why not throw caution to the wind and write a romance or a scene of historical fiction? You never know: You might find some cross-fertilizing ideas or emerge with a fresh perspective on your chosen field of play.
Writing in a different voice: Do you tend to write in third person and easily fall into the role of omniscient narrator? Why not try something radical and let go of the writing voice that’s most comfortable and familiar? Why not create a character who reaches out to readers by communicating in first person? Who knows where this might lead: what ideas might flow from letting go of your habitual voice, your customary mask? And write on!