I learn by going where I have to go

I love the line from Theodore Roethke's poem, The waking: "I learn by going where I have to go." I often don't know where I'm going until I set out. In renovating my house, I froze in the face of the massive project. I couldn't do anything for days, despite friends and family offering to help me organize the project. Then my dear sister-in-law Kate suggested I just prime one room. Once I began, I saw that I could continue. I learned by going where I had to go. 


Starting is what moves me along. One coat of primer moved me to choose the final color, which pushed me in the direction of the trim, which led me to blinds and curtains, and so on. 

So it is with stories. I often need to start in order to know where I'm going. Like my house, stories are also never finished. I'm always shifting my telling to the audience or even to who I am at the moment. Sometimes starting out is, as Donald Davis recommends, just telling about the story. Sometimes it is a small piece of research that awakens my curiosity. 

With every new story, as with every house project, I learn to trust that whatever comes out will be fine. Or if it isn't, I can make a new plan, change the story, change the design, just keep creating as I go along.