Christmas is over, and it's time to turn toward resolutions for 2014. What's mine? To keep writing fiction, of course, but more importantly, I need to stop trying to write my life. That might sound strange, but maybe fellow writers can relate? See, when I write fiction, I'm looking for scenes to flow and characters to grow. I want the plot to build throughout the book and/or series...much like a snowball rolling downhill...gathering an understanding of the characters, love for the story, new ideas, surprises, resolutions. If the snowball begins cracking, veering off course, or comes to a complete stop, I can fix it. Whether that fix comes easily or has me tearing my hair out, a solution is out there. The story is in my control, no matter how long it takes me to regain control. I throw my characters into turmoil because I want to...because it furthers the story I've created.
Unfortunately, I tend to look at my life as a chapter-sectioned novel as well. To a degree, we all "write" our life stories. We set our course, only to change course umpteen times. Our attitudes, moods, skills, and weaknesses determine how fast our snowball rolls, the direction it takes, and whether it falls apart and/or comes back together again. Yet these real life stories have co-authors who don't necessarily agree with our plot and development. Sometimes, these outside authors don't even agree on whether we are hero or villain of our story. Who are these troublesome co-authors? Family, friends, the economy, bullies, the weather, bosses, co-workers, world leaders, overflowing toilets....you name it. Our co-authors are the things, events, and people who we have no control over. To beat them back from affecting our story is exhausting, and often useless. Yet what choice do we have but to continue trying? Fingers and hearts numb, we must keep reforming our snowball everytime life throws a crack into it or completely demolishes it. The worst thing we can do? Pretend we have control all the time. If you are a spiritual person, God can help you rebuild you r snowball...although, sometimes, it seems He is the one helping to tear it apart, probably for your own good. Whichever way you look at it, random elements out of our control get in the way of furthering the story we want for ourselves.
So in 2014, I'm going to try not to be caught with my mouth hanging open when my snowballing story heads for Istanbul or rolls to a sloppy stop. It's time to resist attempting to fight off and/or avoid life's hits. Maybe I can take my co-authors and roll them into my snowball of a life novel ... ugliness, happiness, luck, and misfortune ... just pack it all in there and attempt to reset course time and again--with the understanding that I can never control every turn, every snowflake.
Is this why we writers write? To feel some true control? To practice being the head honcho of something, so that we can return to our real lives with firmer resolve? What do you think?