A writer is the story’s bitch. (A pep talk to myself.)

The worst critic is the inner critic.

The worst censor is the self-censor.

You don’t choose your ideas. Your ideas choose you.

If you’re going to write you have to be prepared to go where your writing takes you. An idea is a seed. It contains inside itself the DNA of the story. The story has to develop and unfold in the way it’s programmed to.

Your job is to be alert to what the story is demanding of you.

Sometimes it will demand things that make you uncomfortable. It will make you do things you don’t want to do.

Not just with regards to the subject matter or content. But sometimes it will demand to be written in a certain way. With a particular voice, for example.

Maybe even in the present tense. (And you, like everyone, hate stories written in the present tense.)

Remember, nobody’s forcing you to write anything. But if you are going to do it, you have to obey the demands of the story.

You can walk away from the desk any time. Take up pottery, sky-diving or bowls. Or just watch all those TV shows you missed on catch-up.

But if you’re going to stay sitting at that desk, you have to shut the door on the inner critic. And put the self-censor back in the box.

And do whatever your story tells you. You listen only to the story. A writer is the story’s bitch.

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