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Connecting the Dots

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

There is nothing wrong with creating an outline before you write your story, as long as you write the story. But if you aren’t writing, then you need to push through in some way.

In his Stanford Commencement address, Steve Jobs said: “…it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.”

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

When you write without a plan, pushing through to the end, you don’t know where you are going to end up and you don’t know what to expect. You discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed.

It’s a lot of work. You have to start from zero every day. It is not always going to be easy, nor will every script be awesome but it’s all about quantity, not quality. Your mantra during this time of laying the track could be “I’ll fix it later.”

Once you are done though, the dots are in place. You still may be missing a few pieces and some may be a part of another picture but it all comes with time. Remember, there wasn’t anything there when you started.

The finished product will be a mess and requires lots of rewriting, restructuring, and cutting but you cannot connect the dots when you don’t know where it’s going and you may only figure that out when it’s done.

At the start, it’s not about the product but the process.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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