One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you start writing seriously is that… not all your stories will work out.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but some will be rubbish. Every writer, regardless of ability, I believe, has an imaginary ‘rubbish story’ quota to meet. We all, at some point in our careers, have to hit this quota of rubbish, bin worthy stories.
Some of our stories will have potential, but will require a LOT of work on our part to discover that potential and bring it out into the light.
Some of our stories will break us and some will simply act as stepping-stones to other stories.
Sadly, these stepping stone stories won’t set the literary world on fire and they might not reach a second draft. They will still require blood, sweat and tears, which when looking back, will feel like a total waste of your time, BUT their existence is VITAL.
I think stepping stone stories are the unsung heroes of our writing world.
Without writing your stepping stone story, you wouldn’t have moved onto that project which proved to be THE ONE.
Stepping stone stories come to you with one purpose; to guide you towards something else.
Through the act of writing these stories, you will discover something new; a different take on your story, a new character, a minor plot thread which fascinates you or the creative spark for a totally new story.
You might even find a new style of writing or gain the confidence to write from a different POV.
When you look back in months or years to come, you will see that you had to write this story in order to get to THE ONE, which actually turned into something.
There were no shortcuts and you couldn’t have come up with the idea for THE ONE without writing your stepping stone story.
When you start to work with the idea of stepping stone stories you start to see how valuable they can be in other ways too.
Viewing your current story has a stepping stone to something else actually has its advantages.
I often get carried away with a story when writing the first draft. I get so excited and giddy in the early stages. All my hopes and sky-high expectations are placed on the shoulders of my poor story and when things don’t work out (my story sinks underneath all that pressure) I get upset.
So, I have decided to view all the stories I write as stepping-stones. I tell myself that I am simply working through a story for exploration purposes. I view it as a stepping stone to other things. It won’t be the one as in order to find that mythical story I have to write this one first. This story will give me the clues I need in order to find the one.
The stepping stone mindset takes the pressure off your story.
There are no ridiculous expectations placed upon it and I have found with my current draft, this has created room for more thinking time.
Nothing is wasted when it comes to writing. Trying to hit your rubbish story quota or working on your stepping stone stories are both valuable activities 🙂
I hope some of you can relate to my blog post and I hope you’ve experienced writing a stepping stone story.
Enjoy the journey folks! Leap across those stones.
Have a great day x