It would be a great thrill if we could go back to the past on a giant time travel machine, especially if we were not subject to the consequences of the dizzying, disorienting effects that I imagine come with traveling back in time in a tiny, tight machine. As for now, there seems to be little evidence to suggest this is a possibility for the average citizen. Due to this, we must consider other possibilities. Luckily, there is an easier way to accomplish a similar task.
This task begins with believing yourself to be in the past. As the saying goes, if you can believe it, you can make it happen. What we are doing is a close second to this. If it can be believed, it can seem real enough. To start, think of a time when you were happy with your writing. If you are very new to writing and cannot think of an earlier experience (or cannot remember a time when you were happy with writing), think of the reason why you wanted to try writing in the first place. You may do this exercise by thought or by writing it down. (I would suggest writing it down, as your thoughts can be collected more easily and you do not have to worry about forgetting any of the details.) There was a reason why you began. What got you interested in writing? What got you interested in the art of storytelling? Was it a movie, a book, a song that had a significant impact on you? Were you raised on a steady diet of books and art? Try to write more than just the minimum details (ex: “I liked reading To Kill a Mockingbird. It was a good book.”). If the example in the parenthesis looks close to your work so far, dig deeper. For example, plenty of books (insert “movies”, “sculptures”, etc. if need be) are “good”, but what made this one stand out? What amazed you about it? Thoughts may not flow instantly, and that is okay. Allow yourself the opportunity to sit with your piece. Fully realize the details of the moment or moments that captured your interest to be a writer.
When you are finished, look back at what you have written. Is there a line that speaks to you, a line that really answers the question of why you started? Make note of that line. Highlight it, print it (if written on a computer), and paste the line (or lines) somewhere you can see each day. Preferably, this should be someplace close to where you write. Keep that focus in line and remember that, if you want it (and are willing to put in the work), you can be someone else’s first writing love.
*Photo Courtesy of learntoembracethestruggle.com.