Germination and Scarification: A Primer for Writers

Life is trying to throw curveballs my way again. I’m doing my best to ignore these irritations, to keep writing (and currently, editing), but ya know, it’s hard. Writing is difficult at the best of times, as most of us know. And as life gets more complex, more worrisome and fractured, writing only gets harder–for me at least. Finding that space where I can drop the worries and just think “story”–ah, such luxury. But it can be done.

When I’m irritated, I feel all my shortcomings more keenly. Thus, my writing is “complete drivel” and my editing “utterly worthless polishing of the turd.” Yes, this is my mindset today (and yesterday, too). Nonetheless, editing is what I’m supposed to be doing today (*sigh* anyone need shiny turds?). But with this mindset, how can I begin?

So, forget the editing for a day, or for a while, at least. Instead of giving myself the opportunity to tell myself how ridiculous I am, I’m wracking my brain to figure out the basic plotline of a new story. I’ve pushed this one to the side for a bit, hoping to let the fertilizer of the mind (hey, those polished turds are good for something, then!) nurture a tiny sprout of an idea–but it hasn’t been happening. The seed refuses to grow. So I’m trying scarification–abrading the seed’s coating to weaken it and allow the seed, er, story inside to germinate. This means my second-guessing, my ill-tempered comments to myself and my ideas, and all that other mental head-banging, are actually useful for a change.

Which, actually, is making me feel pretty good. Hey, I think I might have something that I actually like going on here. And now that I’m thinking like a writer again, that editing doesn’t seem so bad.


About M.E. Garber

I'm an itinerant Ohio-born speculative fiction writer now living in north central Florida.
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