“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s unlikely Civil Rights leader and icon Martin Luther King, Jr. was trying to inspire writers with these eloquent words, but regardless of their original context, they make a strong statement about the writing process. How many of us grew up being taught that the proper way to get a point across is to plot it out, create an outline, diagram the character arcs and, essentially, have our main point in mind before we even put pencil to paper? Talk about pressure! As creative writers, a preoccupation with the final product can become an enemy that holds us back. Sometimes, the best writing stems from the freedom to write simply for the sake of writing, without using the process as a means to an end.
So today, I urge you to set out on a new writing project without a preconceived end point or plotline. Let your ideas go where they want to go, and as Martin Luther King Jr. so wisely recommended, don’t worry if the next step isn’t in sight. Who knows? A little wandering could lead you to a staircase you never dreamed you’d discover.