Dennis: There’s a story I want to write. But, every time I begin, it never goes anywhere. I’m not certain if it’s a novel, a memoir, biography, personal essay, what. But, there is a story. I know there is. It keeps nagging me.
Sarah: When it nags you, what do you do?
Dennis: I avoid it.
Dennis: I think I see the whole piece—the finished project—in my mind. And then I figure I’m not up to it. It’s driving me crazy.
Sarah: Oh, Dennis. Don’t be melodramatic. What makes you crazy?
Dennis: Avoidance. I’m annoyed that I keep avoiding it. Keep putting it off. I want to write it but I don’t know how to start. And I feel guilty for not writing. I don’t know what to do.
Sarah: Do? What to do? Write, of course. Just sit down and write. Let it come and see where the story takes you.
Dennis: I knew you’d say that.
Sarah: I’m serious. You don’t need anything special. No props, no writing courses, no degrees in writing. Nothing. You just need the desire to write. And, you have to make a commitment to write.
Dennis: Well, that’s easy for you to say. I’m not even sure the story is worth writing. I think it is; but, I’m not sure. That’s why am here talking to you. The whole thing makes me crazy. Worst case, I guess writing is good therapy. Like telling you.
Sarah: What is a muse for?
Dennis: Then there’s the the silence. When I sit down to write and nothing comes. What about the silence?
Sarah: The silence can be as productive as writing. How do you feel in the silence? What are your thoughts about the silence? Just because you think what comes doesn’t have anything to do with the story you want to write doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Maybe the story you think you want to write is not the story you’re supposed to write. The fact is, you don’t know. And the not knowing is where the story is.
Dennis: That’s good. I like that. Hard to do, though. Just sitting down and writing. It’s too much like taking dictation. I’ve done that. What comes out is garbage. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do that.
Sarah: The writer doesn’t have a choice. The writer has to write what comes. You have an idea about a story you want to write. Once you begin putting words on paper, the words are no longer yours. The story is no longer yours. The story belongs to the universe. The universe dictates the story. The universe knows the story it wants to tell; and, it has chosen you to tell it.That’s a difficult concept, I know. It’s difficult because it requires trust. Trust in the process. There is nothing more you can do. So now, why don’t you tell me the story. How does it begin?