Today I drove to work. I do that regularly, but this time there was quite a lot of fog around, and the early hour made it appear even heavier than it actually was.
I could not help but feel that going through the fog is a bit like writing. Especially when you write freely, without a real fleshed-out plan.
The area directly around you is visible. You have a reasonable idea what you have, what you can write about. It is what you see without straining your eyes. Further away there are shapes. Some you recognise, like trees, buildings, lamp-posts. The fog however eats up their exact shape, so they may have changed since you last saw them. Well, they probably haven’t. Although… did the house on the corner really look like that yesterday?
Going further away in the fog there are still shapes, shadows really. Things that probably belong there, but… what are they? What were they? What will they turn into? The mist shrouds their real nature, there is promise in these shapes, potential. And potential threat. Will they make life good, or are they there to ruin the story?
And then there is the material you can’t see. It is hidden behind the thick layers of low cloud and fog. You know it’s out there, waiting to be discovered, to be used, to appear and do whatever it can to and in your story. You can only find it when you “boldly go into the fog, where no author has gone before“, and seek out everything that is there, waiting for you. And yes, at times that can be a bit scary, when you go out on a limb into a realm you’ve never set foot before. There may be rock or solid ground, but you can also find yourself in quicksand.
This way, going through the fog is like writing for me. Exciting, and full of promises. Some of which aren’t kept. And some I never saw coming.