One morning as I sat down in my usual spot at the kitchen table to study what the day ahead was going to bring, according to my lengthy task list and scraps of paper with meticulous details, it dawned on me that there is an odd contradiction between my non-author and author personalities.
In my everyday life I am fanatical about organization and control, unable to function without my beloved lists of managed details, coordinated notes and color coded calendars. In contrast, when I sit down to write, my efforts are hindered by any type of planning. When I am faced with organizing my story thoughts into a controlled outline, my muse rebels and leaves the proverbial building, taking with it my creativity. Believe me, I have tried dozens of various organizational options from simple outlines to complicated mind-mapping and spreadsheets, but none of them worked for me.
My inspiration is finicky. While it strikes often, it is completely random. I have a difficult time scheduling my outpouring of ideas into a specific time slot each day. While I do my best to sit down every morning and write, it isn’t always productive or pretty. My creativity, much like my children, is stubborn. It appears when it wants. Sometimes I find myself writing into the wee hours of the late night or in the middle of the afternoon while juggling several other tasks. It isn’t always convenient, but if I allow my thoughts to flow freely without forcing them into some form of organized imprisonment, I am rewarded with a journey that sometimes I don’t even anticipate but truly appreciate.
Writing is my “me time” and I love slipping into my stories like one slips into a pair of flannel jammies on a cold winter’s night. It just feels good. My character’s world wraps around me, and I am transported, escaping into their journey. I am free to write…no plans, no outlines, no problems.
I truly believe that the process of writing is an art. We all write for our own reasons. Each of us is a unique creator with our own vision that works best for us. You don’t have to fall victim to all the voices that insist you should painstakingly organize, plan and plot. You can escape and be a rule breaker, within reason. Whatever process you choose doesn’t matter, as long as you write with passion in a way that you enjoy.
Organized planner or throw caution to the wind, which type of writer are you?