It can be pretty tough to make choices, especially big ones that will affect your future or that of your children!
As a (fairly new) parent, I’ve had to make tough choices over the last few years. Now that the kids are becoming teenagers, the choices are going to get harder. I have to think not only about their future, but also about our future once the kids have left home. These are decisions I feel supremely unqualified to make, yet I am forced to make them.
But thankfully, writing has helped me learn that I can make the right decisions!
Think about it: in your novel, you are deciding where the story goes. Many of the decisions are subconscious, but ultimately it is YOU making them. You decide if a character lives or dies, if they get the girl or boy in the end, if they kill that person or not, and so on.
Every story is made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny decisions: turn left or right, open that door or not, accept or refuse an offer, etc. As the writer, you are making the decision for the character. Where that decision ultimately leads, that’s what the story is all about. But you do have to make that decision.
Those decisions don’t always lead to good things for the character, but they are good for you. You know that you need to take the character on the journey, so the decisions you make help them to walk down the path. By the end, they have learned what the consequences of their choices are, and so have you.
So, in large part thanks to writing, I’ve learned that even a small bad choice NOW can be fixed in the long run. After all, the hero that nearly dies because he made the wrong turn can kill the dragon and save the princess in the end.
That sort of takes a huge weight of burden off my shoulders. The small decision I make today may have negative consequences, but it won’t be the end of the world. As the hero of my own story, I can make decisions that will help me to have that “and they lived happily ever after”, no matter how far off I stray.
When it comes time to make those decisions, I still have to be smart and use the information that I have. But even if I make the wrong choice now, everything is fixable. It helps me to accept the decisions I make, making life much easier to swallow one day at a time.