This week I had a thrilling writing experience. I wrote something with the end point in mind, racing with the story until I experienced the satisfaction of the conclusion. It was an empowering experience and one I hope to repeat. I’ve often thought about that famous line by Doctorow, the one that says “writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
I used to get some writing done like that. But the pace was slow and full of doubt. After my latest writing binge I decided I prefer to drive in the daylight, with a gps and that little checkered flag on the screen. This piece I wrote was so daring and bold and raw that I’m completely terrified to share it. And the purpose was to submit it to a literary journal that publishes writing closely aligned with my themes.
I haven’t looked at it for days. I’m waiting for the emotion to dry so that it’s safe enough for me to touch it with my critical, thinking, judgmental side of the brain. I wrote this one from right of center, from the heart, with a heavy emphasis on feeling. It’s seven pages long, too much for a simple article. I’m going to have to make cuts.
Writing for the end felt like making a touchdown. After closing my laptop and crawling into bed that night, I felt expansive. It’s waiting for me to keep working, and I’m excited.
I wonder now if writing a fictional ending will help me create a piece of fiction with that kind of pace. Have you ever tried this technique? I’d love to hear your thoughts.