Monday, November 30, 2015

Writing With an Open Mind and an Honest Heart

By Garrison Stima, Creative Writing and Religion major

Unfortunately, like most vocational endeavors, writing is not always a straightforward path that makes perfect sense. In fact, an enormous chunk of the writing process is sacrificial in nature and about juggling a wide variety of ideas and goals. However, this isn’t meant to be a depressing excerpt or even a discouraging rant; rather, it’s about being open to exploring unknown routes. To write with an open mind can mean to sweat and labor over a piece, only to realize that the originally intended path might not be correct for the story someone is trying to tell or the message an individual is attempting to send. Sometimes, when anyone writes anything, that person has to be judicious with the words, characters, or emotions being formulated and conjoined in the text. That can mean letting go of a concept or line of dialogue that originally felt perfect or empowering for the writing because of the realization that it no longer fits in place or that it actually harms the story. When an author allows a specific ending or unrealistic character development to dictate the entire writing process, from beginning to end, too often that plot will bend and twist into uncomfortable shapes that eventually tear apart the foundation and point of the plot. Instead, allow the characters to come to life and make their own decisions, even if it starts down a path that was never intended. Those tales make room for truthful revelations about both people and their journeys.

Of course, to be capable of letting characters take the helm of any scenario, the writer must be correspondingly honest. This is invaluable at the level of nonfiction, without a doubt, but it is also vital on every tier of storytelling. In an intriguing way, people who have read enough, and people who haven’t read much, can both recognize and feel the stubborn air of a dishonest writer. When a father charts down a path that doesn’t reflect him or a friend gives up when her will has never wavered, the reader is yanked from the experience and pinned by these stinging lies formulated by the author in some awkward attempt to spice things up or shift gears. An honest heart can expose real emotions and dissect hard truths in a way that false twists or measures never can. This frank notion comes in countless forms, from being forwardly blunt to being pleasantly candid, and it is actualized through a real desire to connect with readers and open minds into a world of authentic imagination. So, if an individual wants to write in a manner that opens doors and faces reality in uniquely human ways, don’t be afraid of honesty or where the tale may go.