The best way to begin
by, 01-18-2014 at 11:13 AM (1119 Views)
The best advice on writing I have ever given or received was simply to put pen to paper and write.
It's so natural to me. I've never been faced with a blank page I was not tempted to fill, and once begun, filled rapidly. I also have a talent for editing. To take a work written, by myself or anyone else, and improve upon it; to find a sketch and fix it, adding in details which make it whole, this is natural as well.
I'm no (in)famous master of my art, but I do rather well.
I've never understood why, when I say, "Write!" I get such odd looks. The most common response is "write what??"
I don't know what it is about cartography that is giving me such trouble. Perhaps it is only that there are so many details... so many ways to get bogged down, mired in choices too numerous to make.
Is it best to start with a small village map and build out? A broad world outline? In what style should I create my masterpiece? Mountains cannot go *here*, forests must go *thus*, and most vital of all, WHERE DO I PUT THOSE BLASTED RIVERS?
I beg your pardon, I was overcome.
So, pen to paper I place, and draw a map, and that might be well and good, if no one else were to ever see it. Sadly, art is born to be shared and our mind-children are picked apart, analyzed for each small detail and flaw.
Oh, all the critiques here are the best kind. No one is overly critical, no one is spiteful or mean. Every comment is couched gently and intended only to assist and improve, to help one grow in their role as cartographer.
And yet. And yet...
No parent wishes to see their brainchild torn apart. No architect wishes to see his tower reduced to the bare bones of his dream.
As with any other art, we must learn to adapt, to re-direct these children of ours to the pursuit of achievable goals.
"You can be anything you wish, my darling."
"Well, no. No you can't be a flying monkey bat with superpowers, but you can be anything REAL."
...and you most certainly cannot make your rivers turn there!
They are right. Those rivers make no sense. And so, I put pen to paper and go on, looking for that perfect balance that separates the good from the bad, the great from the passable.
And in my life outside the cartographer's guild, I look with new understanding upon the bewildered faces of those I've told to "Just Write!"