Break the chains of your imagination.

five boys standing near body of water
Kids at play

I had a revelation of sorts while I was waiting to find out I’d been rejected again. Not like some broken record of imposter syndrome or anything negative. Instead, I realized I’d been limiting myself with my writing. The insight is simple, but if I forged chains to hold back the breadth of my imagination, maybe others would benefit from reading about my epiphany.

I’ve always thought of my work in terms of Novel length stories, or short stories. I knew there were other formats, but I didn’t really feel that novellas or any other medium fit me well. Studying screenwrtiting this year gave me so much more insight into not only the process of writing, but into ways to show and tell stories. The revelation was like discovering I’d been playing in a large sandbox, but that it was only one of many on the playground.

Use of childhood spent at play is intentional

I spent a lot of my childhood playing alone. Before I discovered reading for entertainment, I told myself stories while I played. I suspect children have done the same thing for longer than there have been anatomical humans. But as I grew up, I had less time or reason to continue those stories. As I wandered through adulthood, I still had plenty of stories in my head, but they didn’t have much of an outlet.

Without a place to flourish, stories, characters, settings, and plots can wither and die. Like allowing the Nothing to destroy Fantasia, (look it up if you don’t get the reference) storytellers need to get those ideas out of their heads. At least I do. But that is only one facet of the journey. If alll I ever write are novels and short stories, that would be fine, but writing scripts with those stories gives me more insight into storytelling.

In other words, writing in more formats, even (I know, it’s shocking) in more genres can make us all better writers. I may never be a great romance writer, but if I can pull off a love story in a feature length film, or TV pilot, I’m sure I can do the same thing in a novel or short story. The same is true of other genres and formats. A play about a murder most foul can teach me to show my audience a dramatic incident in other formats, too.

Just do it.

I’ve put this theory into practice already. The first product is a finished script for a parody you tube show. I set up a channel for a family summer project, but now, its grown into a much more substantial production. It’s made me reevaluate how I tell stories and connect to my readers. I encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone a bit and see if the same is true for you.

The chanell I’m using is: – check it out if you want a quick laugh. But whatever you do – keep writing.

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