Writing is a process that transforms modest words into entire worlds. We begin with an idea and the ability to string words together in a way that taps into our senses and emotions. We weave a spell that evokes a sense of time and place and experience. Using only these humble tools, we build an alternate reality. We give life to the players on our stage and send them off into adventures of our own devising. If that is not magic, I don’t know what is.
Imagination and creativity are oft-cited ingredients in the story-crafting elixir, but there is another, less frequently cited ingredient that is at least (if not more) important: clarity.
Clarity is both your inspiration and your guiding star.
Though you may not know it, it is often the spark that ignites your imagination. It is that bolt of lightning that strikes you – a compelling character, thought-provoking question, or deep belief – that will eventually pierce your creative mind and become the roots of a story. Once those roots take hold, clarity is the guiding force that shapes your story.
Clarity brings focus and purpose to your writing. It illuminates the ultimate reason you’re driven to write and it helps you make critical decisions about what to include and what to leave out. Clarity is like a pair of enchanted glasses that filters out everything extraneous so you can hone in on exactly the things you need to tell your story. When you have clarity about your writing, you know what you want to say how you want to say it.
For your craft, clarity is a near-magical tool that gives you the power to sharpen your storytelling skills and put the weight of purpose and intention behind your written work.
What about in your writing life? I’m curious about what might happen if in addition to applying clarity to the craft, what if we also sought clarity about the driving force behind our craft…the “why” of our writing.
The WHY is something few of us consider. Writing is a tedious time consuming marathon of hard work and second guessing. I’m sure we write for a wide variety of reasons and perhaps we should know why we do it – is it a wish, or a higher purpose, or maybe a special reason. I don’t have an answer to that question.
Writing involves talent, craft, hard work, and tenacity. Perhaps why we write really isn’t as important as how and what we write. Do you know why you write?
Portions of the above are excerpts from “The Magic of Clarity” posted February 28, 2015 by Jamie Wallace.