Successful Writers Force Confrontations

advice, drama

Confrontations create your success.

You confront someone you want to be in business with — you pitch them your idea — they spark to it or they don’t — and you move forward. Emotionally. Because you’ve stretched. You’ve sent yourself the message that you stand your ground. You’re not the kind who backs down from a fight.

You confront yourself every time you sit down to write. Confront everything you don’t like inside you. You’ve got the balls to sit there with it, stay there, dredge it up and display it for the world.

You confront the possibility of your own failure, every time you hesitate. Every time you don’t know what to say or how to say it.

You force your characters to confront each other. Conflict is confrontation — whether your character confronts another or confronts himself. These confrontations are the gears that grip and pull us through the wheels of drama. Or — you build a story around a character avoiding a confrontation. We anticipate the character confronting herself — or being confronted.

You confront loved ones — friends and family and significant others — and let them know where you start and they stop. You confront them to let them know how much space you need, and unstructured time, and uncluttered thinking to be able to produce. You have a duty to protect your instrument. No matter how much they need you, you need you — to refill the well, to nourish the senses, to spark, to feel alive. Sometimes this looks like being lazy, being selfish, jerking off, staring into space. If you don’t do these things — and if you don’t confront the people who want to soak up your time and keep you from doing them — your creative life dies — and that’s when confronting yourself at the keyboard becomes so difficult. It’s not difficult because you’re a bad writer or because you’re not brave: it’s difficult because you failed at this earlier confrontation — guarding your creative space. Or confronting the emotional truth inside you. If you’re uncomfortable with your emotional junk, that’s a confrontation you’re avoiding, and it’s standing in the way of your writing. It will show up in your writing as cliche, flatness, dullness — and it will show up as resistance to writing at all. Because the keyboard will feel like a confrontation with yourself.

Confrontations are positive, not negative. Confrontations are how we find out what’s going on. We force subtext into text. We clarify our situation and act more efficiently and productively once we have all the information at hand. We ask questions, of ourselves and others, then we reevaluate and move forward. Without confrontation — in our writing and in our lives — we remain stuck and frozen and distanced. Confrontation connects us.