Have you ever thought about the role that “chance” plays in your life?
I thought about it this morning during my jog along the railroad tracks. I just happened to stop at a particular section of the track to catch my breath, only to look up and see a beautiful, bushy-tailed coyote eyeing me from the crest of a nearby bluff.
A healthy-looking fella (fat from the hares in the area, made fat, in turn, by the abundant summer vegetation), the coyote slinked away when I approached. The encounter made me wonder how many other times I’d missed other coyotes stealthily watching me, because my eyes were trained on the ground in front of me. My guess: plenty of times!
For Writers: What role does “chance” play in your writing? Did you just happen to stumble upon a story idea when you weren’t looking for one? Did a phrase just pop into your head when you least expected it? I often think about the shape-shifting nature of writing. I mean, what are the chances that what you write on Monday are going to be the same words you put down on paper on Friday? Slim.
I find it fascinating to wonder how differently your writing might be if … If a certain experience hadn’t occurred the day you’re writing (an experience so profound that it shaped your character’s thoughts) … If you hadn’t seen something that sparked your imagination that day … If you were having a bad day that soured your mood, or a good day that brightened your spirits … If you were reading something entirely different (I think we all know that our writing is subconsciously influenced by who and what we’re reading).
So it seems to me that our finished manuscripts are a product of chance, aren’t they? And isn’t our writing, as a whole, a product of chance – words flowing onto the page today that might differ dramatically tomorrow?
To me, that is part of the wonder and magic of writing. And probably why I can’t get enough of it!