Can’t remember where I recently read that piece of advice, but it’s so true and is being very helpful as I work my through the poem-story I started for NaPo. It’s been like those stairs on air that you see in science fiction movies — you have to step into thin air to make a step appear, and the next one appears only as your foot is suspended above it. Mountains of faith involved, but it’s true. The thing to do is focus on putting together the story episode you know about today, and trust that tomorrow’s and the next day’s will appear as they are needed.
Today – woohoo! – I finally got a glimpse of how this thing will end.
When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner’s pick, a wood-carver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow.
— Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Update – Here’s Bernadette Geyer saying what sounds to me like a similar thing, in a mirror-reflection sort of way:
The only comparison I can think of is how marble sculptors say they simply chip away everything that “isn’t” the statue… that each hunk of marble tells them what it is supposed to be. I guess when I started pruning this bush, it began to reveal its potential.