The Gospel of Writing According to Marilyn, Chapter 5

By: Marilyn Schwader

The Gospel of Writing According to Marilyn, Chapter Five: Hold On To Your Vision

This might seem to be in direct conflict with letting go of expectations in Chapter Four. However, there is a distinct difference between expectation and vision. Let me explain. Imagination is the basis of a vision. But as you begin to implement the vision, systems and skills take over. A vision develops by becoming specific. When you take the first step, all the steps after that acknowledge and relate to that first step.

The development of a vision into reality is a result of decreasing possibilities. Each step toward the goal reduces future options. Visions are realized by having the freedom to develop the best possibility into reality. Having an expectation of how the process will develop or what the final outcome will be limits your ability to see all of your options. And that can hold you back from unlimited creative potential. The expectation limits you from seeing what might be a better way of accomplishing your vision.

A finished piece of writing is ultimately a fusion of vision with execution. The most common failure in achieving that fusion is that too often writers approach writing believing that they know their material too well, that their ideas are more inspiring than anyone else's, that their execution is polished before they even begin — their expectations outstrip their ability.

Well-known furniture designer Charles Eames once said that he devoted only about one percent of his energy to conceiving a design; the remaining ninety-nine percent was spent holding onto the vision as the project developed.

Holding on to a vision, while letting go of the expectation of an outcome has risks. You might not take the route you imagined, and the destination could possibly change. There is no certainty in creating. What's really needed is a sense of knowing what you are looking for, an approach for finding it, and a willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way.

No writer gets every composition right the first time. Get in the habit of being inquisitive and making observations. Live through your writing as a natural extension of personal philosophy and thinking. Move beyond fear, become familiar with your materials, and hold on to your vision. When you truly understand and accept how this works, the power of your vision will be unleashed and the end result will be a work of art.


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