I think Amanda Palmer once held a speech titled the same. I know I posted it on this blog. It was a while ago, it was a bit of a longer video. It was awesome.
So, this is what artists do, writers especially. They’re connecting the dots. We are connecting the dots.
But it doesn’t always work out the way we intended or hoped. I was trying to write a blog about an idea I had two days ago. I’ve not written anything down beside the title. On the way home today I had some thoughts that I wanted to add to my idea and make them a new blog entry. But then I got stuck. I can’t quite remember all the thoughts I had and the dots I can identify don’t seem to connect very well.
That is frustrating, but any writer will know that this happens all the time. I have plenty of dots in my collection. Sometimes I’ll have a closer look to see what might fit where. And then, eureka, there is an epiphany and I know where to put things.
Other times I can add a piece of the puzzle to a half completed something, which may just give me a slightly better idea of what I am looking at.
I often run off on tangents, or I have this bucket of ideas seemingly unconnected and then I must see, if there might not be a way of combining them. If I were forced to develop every single idea separately, I’d never finish writing, neither one thing nor the other, quite possibly none of it, because there’s too much.
As I was writing this, an idea that jumped at me yesterday, managed to connect itself to two other things I had randomly started writing without having any idea where I wanted to take this. This third piece may just be what I needed.
It’s similar with my NaNoWriMo novel. I was grasping at straws when I was writing it. I just tried to get something down, going in the general direction I wanted to go in, but knowing that some of the stuff was really no good at all.
Then, one morning, a few days ago, it hit me and I knew what I needed to do. But that also means that the majority of the first draft will go down the drain. I’ll keep the characters, to be sure, and some of the actual plot, the main elements. But there is going to be a huge change, which will work infinitely better, though.
This means no one will ever read the first draft. No one should.
Connecting the dots is something I do naturally, I’m actually really good at it, but I can’t always use it in the way I want it. I have to do it at work and then explain how I managed to connect the dots, solve a problem that nobody else even saw.
Have I mentioned lately, how much work I have ahead of me? I believe I have.
So many dots to connect.