Finding Your Crocodilian

My baby sister wrote a book for the final project in her class. It’s about a Crocodilian named Bob, who goes on an adventure, gets lost, is saved by a strange creature, learns to get over his fear and becomes friends with the fox, and then returns home.

I asked her how she came up with the idea. She shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I was interested in it and it was fun so I wrote it.”

Y’all, when did we get so much more complicated than that? With all our talk of CPs and the market and character development, plot, conflict, is my use of language right? I hope my voice is powerful, maybe the next big thing.

Those are all important. We can’t write like children, because we aren’t children. We have necessarily and rightly grown beyond that into something cleaner and more artistic. But if you’re anything like me, somewhere in your study and development, you may have squashed the part of you that says plain and simple, I like this story and I want to write it – nothing more, nothing less.

If you’re writing purely for what’s selling, stop. If you change everything about your story, so much that you lose the part of you in it, stop. And if you’ve listened to so many voices and so many great pieces of advice that now you don’t know who you are as a writer or what you yourself like, regardless of anyone else, stop.

Take out a blank, unlined page. Draw a picture. And ask yourself what would happen if…
Then write the story you want to tell.
Everything else can come after.

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