Thursday, March 31, 2011

Planning VS Winging It

Here is another article of mine which was published by Kalkion in 2009.

Some writers sit down and plot out their entire story before writing it. They make chapter by chapter outlines, character biographies, world maps. They know most of what’s going to happen before they ever put pencil to paper (or finger to keyboard.)

Some writers simply sit down and write. They start with an idea and plunge in headfirst. Letting the energy flow, writing the first rough draft with a kind of wild abandon, not always knowing where they’re headed.

Both methods have their merits, though there are many who would extol the virtues of careful planning over free for all writing.

It’s true, preemptive planning might save time and leave you with fewer drafts to write, without the task of playing connect the dots. If you find the thought of sitting down at a blank screen with very little idea of what you’re doing so unsettling that you find any excuse not to write, you are likely a planner.

If the thought of doing extensive plotting and world building before you ever write a word makes your brain freeze up, you may want to write first and worry about detail later.

Either way, eventually you will have to deal with detail. The point is simply to choose whichever method gets the idea mill churning. If you’re a beginning writer, it’s a good idea to try different methods of writing to discover the one which works best for you.

Personally, I’ve tried the planning method, it doesn’t work for me. If I try to sit down and actually think about what I’m writing beforehand my brain becomes as blank as the computer screen.

The harder I try to think, the worse it gets. So I prefer to sit and wait for the ideas to come, then write them as they do. This makes for a messy first draft, I admit, but it’s the only process that works for me.

In the end, the finished product is more important than the path you took to get to it. So whatever works for you, be it careful organization or delightful mess, go with it. Don’t let anyone else try to influence you, find what works and stick with it.

Because if you can’t get words to paper, what’s the point?

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