In the last few days, I’ve come across so many articles about the subject of letting go that Iwanted to address this topic in a slightly different way as it pertains to writing.
When you and I have to let go of something, whether it’s a behavior, a person, a long held belief, or a lifestyle, don’t we think that I’m the only person in the world faced with this challenge, and somehow I’m not as equipped as other people to this process of letting go? Most of us feel alone in our dilemmas, when in reality there are so many of us who have trouble letting go.
Most of us like the idea of embracing something new that is good and pleasing, and we’re not so fond of letting go of our comforts and pleasures, and only do so when we’ve gotten to the point that we absolutely need to change. Yet, this whole letting go process is not a new thing.
Moreover, the inability to let go is a key part of every great story that has ever been lived or written. If you want to be a great writer, embrace your imperfections!
Consider Shakespeare, and how many of his great tragedies centered around the inability of one of the characters to let go in some way or form. Hamlet, wouldn’t let go of being a helpless bystander. Macbeth wouldn’t let go of the drive for power. And it goes on with every story that compels us to keep reading, every movie that is worth watching, there is at least one character that won’t let go of something to its detriment. Sometimes that inability to change is funny, and sometimes it’s tragic. In all cases, the inability to let go of an ineffectual way of living is at the heart of why stories still fascinate us.
In our own lives, developing a skill with letting go is often a pathway to a better life. However, if you’re writing a fictional story, make sure you have at least one character that can’t let go of unhealthy behavior. Write at least one character who refuses the call to be a hero or heroine. Stories that have no problems with letting go are not ones that most of us humans can relate to.
So, if you’re having problems with letting go of anything in your life, be happy about it.
It is from that experience of failure to be perfect that you just might have the experience to write a masterpiece, or at least something worth reading.