State of Independence

A Words & Pictures Inspiration piece

First off, apologies to all those who now have the Donna Summer hit wriggling into their ears.

The roots of independence as a word also relate to ‘pendant’ – there’s a sense of ‘not hanging onto something’. Our development from baby to child to adult often means letting go. We release our grip on our parents’ fingers to stand by ourselves, we stop clutching the side of the pool to take our first swimming strokes.

That can be as much of a severance for the adult as the child. Repeated small separations make it easier for both. The child used to coping with things that are just a little stressful grows to take larger steps in her stride. The adult who loves a child enough to allow her a succession of freedoms feels less anxiety.

Adults have to give up control in order for the children to develop self-control – and accept they may do it in a different way.

          You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
          For they have their own thoughts. 
          Kahlil Gibran – On Children

Perhaps we could think of our creative work a bit like that.

Let it go out there little-by-little. By soliciting constructive criticism from our colleagues, we can develop the individual strengths of our tales – and how we tell them. Like all good teachers, good critique partners, editors and the like seek to bring out the best in our creative progeny.

By separating ourselves from the work, letting it stand on its own paws, hooves or talons, we could give it enough space to thrive. Maybe then we might not feel too hurt if it lives differently in someone else’s imagination.

A state of independence might not result in what we first imagined – but it could be equally remarkable.

Some questions to consider in your current work
  • Is there a point in your tale where a character makes a bid for independence?
  • What action or object is emblematic of this?
  • Is it a gentle relinquishment or a violent rejection?
  • A reaching-out for something way beyond, or a tiny moment of courage?
  • How will your reader or viewer know?
  • Does it end well or is another attempt needed?
  • How will it feel for those around?
  • Could it be funny –or disastrous – or both?

By Philippa R. Francis - who writes as K. M. Lockwood

K. M. Lockwood is a writing name of Philippa R. Francis. As well as being a regular contributor, Philippa (@lockwoodwriter) is also part of the Words & Pictures team as the @Words8Pictures Tweetmaster, growing our following and maintaining our 'Industry news' feed.

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