“What If?”–in Writing and in Life

As writers, we’re cautioned to write what we know–or to do some thorough research before diving into a subject that is murky to us.  A good way to do that is to take a situation with which we’re familiar and ask ourselves the question “What if?” For “Winter is Past” I asked myself What if something happened to Paula, my kidney donor? That was the jumping off point for the story that evolved through many rewrites.

This morning at meditation I realized the same question doesn’t work so well in life. As we face difficulties and uncertainties in our journey on earth, many “What if’s” present themselves to us. What if my investments tank? What if I lose my job? What if this is cancer? What if I never get published? It’s so easy to drain our energy by ruminating on our worries–on all the possible “What if’s” looming on the horizon. And it’s betrays our lack of trust in God.

When “What if” knocks at our door, can we realize the invitation to give attention to the present moment? That is where opportunity–our  potential–dwells. Here’s to relegating all those worrisome questions to the creative process.

3 thoughts on ““What If?”–in Writing and in Life

  1. souldipper says:

    My mom had a little sign on her “control center” table lamp. It read, “Don’t shuffle the What If deck.”


  2. Michelle Brown says:

    I’ve just begun to develop a new novel, and I am asking myself this question. I’ve got the characters, I’ve got the general story, and the message I want to deliver. But I’m searching for a what if that hasn’t been done before. Something that takes the reader by surprise, that takes them on a wild ride, yet, at the same time, doesn’t seem over the top or overly predictable.

    Great post and great blog!


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