I like to believe in signs.
I mean, they’re really just coincidences and my brain noticing certain things more given context, as well as assigning random events certain meanings, but it can actually be quite helpful to aid the mysteries of the writing process.
Signs can come from whatever you like to believe—God, the universe, fate, a deceased loved one watching over you, the literary deities, the muses, or… science? I don’t want to proscribe any particular view of the world here, but I think no matter what you believe, you can look for signs just for fun.
And, if you choose, you can interpret any sign as a positive one to motivate you further in your creative endeavors.
Some signs are a stretch, and really just meant to make you feel like something out there is on your side. The perfect green light, the unexpected money found in a forgotten pair of jeans, the extra coffee delivered when your first was made wrong unbeknownst to you (this actually did happen to me—and two sugary coffee drinks may be a sign that my potential diet was not meant to be). Take these tiny moments of joy as the positivity of the universe reinforcing the importance of you in the world.
But sometimes, when you ask the universe for a specific sign, you get it—if you know what to look for (and shamelessly make up).
When I was about 120 pages into the draft, I still couldn’t quite believe that I would make it all the way. At the same time, I felt pretty good that my ability to go all the way was in my control, and no doubt out there could shake it. So I flippantly dared the universe to throw me the worst possible doubt I could think of off the top of my head—a book exactly like mine, already in existence.
Well, working at a library checking in materials has its pluses, and its minuses—and what should fall in my book drop that exact day but a book with an eerily similar concept, and even some similar details as I flipped through it. Was this a sign that I was not meant to write this project?
I refused to see it that way. Not even a doubt as big as that one, that I was writing a project doomed to fail as a rip-off before it even got released, could make me want to stop writing it. And I decided that the true purpose of the sign was to test me, and show me that I could do this—that there wasn’t a doubt out there that could stop me now.
But I did ask for another sign, that same day, just to be sure. And when I got home to my parents’ house, where I sometimes spend the night when I have to work in the morning (since they live so close to my work, and I live sort of far, for a part time job), I expected to have distractions from my writing. But no sooner did I walk into the house when all of my family members separately departed to various events I didn’t know about—leaving me with nothing to do but write.
The universe was telling me to keep going.
When you choose to interpret signs in a positive light, they can actually reinforce your commitment—as if something bigger than yourself is telling you this is “the one.” Now, it may be true that my project is a rip-off (even though I didn’t know it before I started), and maybe I won’t be able to publish it for that or any number of other reasons. But the important thing is that I kept writing, when a month ago a doubt like that would have stopped me cold. And I have a finished draft, an accomplishment in and of itself.
Signs work best if you can always interpret even the darkest signs positively, rather than letting negative signs get you down. This is the case when you know that your conscious mind and your own desires are stronger than anything the universe can throw at you, so that it’s not even about the signs at all. It’s about what you want, and your ability to go after it no matter what.
So this little “trick” is for those out there who can be optimistic, and not recommended for anyone who might think that a negative sign (like the power going out as you start to write, or someone else eating your saved piece of pie, or any other silly little thing I like to use as signs) is a reason to stop. Any negative signs are a chance to prove that you are stronger than signs—which ultimately makes them pointless, I realize, but here is how I look at it:
Positive signs confirm that the universe wants you to make it, and continuing on through negative signs confirms that you are stronger even than the universe, stronger than anything out there, stronger than doubt itself.
Power either way… and silliness all around. 🙂
I love this post! I try not to look for signs, but I can’t help myself. Sometimes I just feel fate is telling us the way to go when we have doubts! 🙂
I just like to feel I’m in a bigger world than what I know – whatever that means.
Thanks for the comment! 🙂
Actually the Hunger Games is similar to Stephen King’s novel, The Running Man. It’s also kind of similar to Battle Royale. So, just because your work is similar doesn’t mean it won’t be successful 😉 I don’t really look for signs. Even in fanfiction when I was being bullied to the point I started starving myself (I’m a former anorexic) I didn’t stop. Well I did eventually. But I didn’t see it as a sign XD Part of the reason I started writing original fiction is because I was bullied out of the only fandom I was really interested in. I guess in retrospect it could be considered a sign, but I still don’t see it that way. I don’t think it was the universe’s plan for me to write original fiction. I think it was more about a fanfic author hell-bent on destroying me. But I don’t think there is anything wrong in seeing signs or interpreting them as such. I used to think of it more like God has a plan, but then what if I died tomorrow? Would people say that my purpose in life is complete? Is anyone’s life complete before 30? That’s when I started to realize that maybe there isn’t a preordained path set before us. Sometimes I tell myself that things happen for reason, but I can’t apply that universally to mankind. Because there’s a lot of innocent people that still have a lot of living left to do that die early 😦 So yeah I don’t know. I think since I had that realization, I stopped seeing things as signs or even interpreting them as such. I think for me I was looking for meaning behind bad things that happened, but sometimes there isn’t any meaning. Like the Malaysian flight that crashed yesterday and all those innocent people that died. There is no meaning in that for me. It’s just a horrible, horrible thing 😦
I don’t see it so much as a universal or divine plan, though I know it sounds that way. I guess I think of it more moment by moment, and how I choose to interpret random events – that certainly don’t require interpreting because life is random. It’s sort of like horoscopes for me; obviously completely made up and false, but still kind of fun.
And yes, horrible things happen and no amount of meaning can ever make them okay. I try to just focus on small, fleeting joys to get past all the awfulness this world can offer.
I hope you either enjoy your original fiction endeavors or return to the fandom you love even if just for yourself! I hate to hear about anyone being bullied out of creating what they love. 😦
Thanks for commenting!
Oh, I’m never going back to that fandom. The negative energy seeped into my story. It was 200k and I really wanted to finish it, but it makes me sick to look at it now. I left it up because I didn’t want to punish my readers. I’ll be okay as long as I’m writing 🙂 I may write other fandoms in the future, but I’m not ever going back to that one.
Sorry, it was more or less me reflecting on my own thoughts :$ I kind of derailed the topic XD I used to see things as signs, but I guess I don’t anymore for the reasons I stated above. But if it helps you, I see no harm in it 🙂