People talk to me all the time about things that start with “if only” or “what if…?”
I think that mental place is the land of creativity. You look at something, apply a dab of logic, come up with a timeline, and before you know it-you have a story that is unique, a mental toy you can play with and tweak anytime you want.
I think everyone, on some level, wanders into this world. Show me a person that has never been there, not even for the “What if I won the lottery?” idea.
That place is where stories come from. Everyone has a story, but some are just better storytellers. The stories themselves are all good stories, whether we’re talking about something historical, something fantastic or supernatural, something that fills people with terror or joy.
It comes down to telling the story in a way that people can understand it. Writing isn’t the only way, either-some of the best stories out there are hidden in a piece of visual art or a song.
The only problem I see is that, when these stories stay hidden, sometimes they become traps for people. They lose some of their joy for what their life is as they consider the beauty of “What if?”.
My solution to this is simple-for me, I write it out. Even if it’s something I don’t want anyone else to ever see, I write it out and get it out. There’s a certain catharsis to be found when you tell a story, however you do it. You put it out there in the world and it’s no longer just this wild idea stuck in your head for you to go over and over and wish was real.
Try it sometime. When you find yourself ruminating about things that “could have been” or anything, write it, draw it, sing it, whatever it takes. Then, look at it honestly and judge it. Is it wishful thinking? Did you consider the things that could go wrong? Is there something you’re missing?
Maybe your story will turn into a novel, a hit song, an artistic masterpiece. Maybe it will remain “just something you think about sometimes”. The important thing is that you get it out, somehow. The story is waiting to be told, and you will only become a better teller by doing exactly that, telling the story. 🙂