Squaring up your approach to writing can make a significant difference in outcome.
"We'd like you to write something for IN," Julie wrote.
"What would I write about?" I considered. "Anything you want," the answer came back.
Okay. That was kind of like bobbing around in the middle of the ocean, hoping to spy the Land of Interesting. The choices were endless. My day? My mother? The darn screen that keeps popping out of the upstairs window?
Thankfully, choices can always be narrowed. For instance, when the email came through I was in the middle of a choice: Start a new book or stick my head in the oven. Both had valid reasons for being viable. Thinking about that led me to consider point of view.
Was I a half-empty kind of girl or half-full? Would I really stick my head in the oven or was that simply an expression of boredom. If I did stick my head in the oven, would I be distracted by the need to clean it before I was overcome by fumes?
Was I emotional, irrational, and impulsive or a critical and creative thinker? Was I too lazy to type? Was I a tough guy or a quitter? And all these questions got me thinking again!
This time the word that popped into my head was "angles" – which is what point of view invariably becomes. Like in the old movies when someone asks, "What's your angle, buddy?" They're really asking, "Whaddaya want? What's in it for me?"
Okay, so what did I want? I wanted to do something concrete and didn't feel like doing it. From my point of view, the day was a bust until Julie presented me with another option. Write something for IN.
Cool. Different. Manageable.
If I stuck my head in the oven the payoff was lousy. If I started a new project I might actually hit the jackpot and write a bestseller. Still, that was a tall order and it wasn't a tall order kind of day. A short article, however – that I could do. It sparked my imagination. What would be my angle? Whatever it was, it had to be right. Write Angle … don't you just love it when the road leads somewhere?
Engineers and architects use angles to create solid foundations, strong walls, perfectly peaked roofs and expansive bridges. Artists use angles to form new shapes that please the eye and fire the imagination. Think of a dancer, body lain flat in space, feet planted firmly on the ground. Writers use angles to keep the story interesting.
We're all angling for something. Mostly we're angling to feel productive and happy and creative. We'll have days when we're bored stiff and others when we're revved up. We'll have ideas that go nowhere and others that we have waited for all our lives. Me? I'm just angling to keep things interesting. Sticking my head in the oven is out. Blogging is in. And that bestseller? That looks good from any angle.
Rebecca Forster, a USA Today bestseller, began writing on a crazy dare. Upwards of 22 books later, she concentrates on legal thrillers. Currently on the stand are Privileged Witness (Signet, 2006), Silent Witness (Signet, 2005) and Hostile Witness (Signet, 2004). She is married to a Superior Court judge and has two sons.http://www.rebeccaforster.com