Willing to be Lost

Excerpt from Ron Carlson Writes a Story:

Ron Carlson Writes a Story

The single largest advantage a veteran writer has over the beginner is this tolerance for not knowing. It’s not style, skill, or any other dexterity. An experienced writer has been in those woods before and is willing to be lost; she knows that being lost is necessary for the discoveries to come. The seasoned writer waits, is patient, listens to her story as it talks to her. Now I’ve started being a little mystical here, and I want to avoid the sense that writing is magic and not work. The story isn’t going to talk to you, but things are going to happen in the heat of writing that cannot be predicted from outside the act itself. Much of a writer’s work is exploration, and that involves so many things he cannot know from the outside. And we all agree that it is more comfortable to be outside the story considering it, than inside the story struggling to see it. Comfort isn’t an issue.