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Friday, January 7, 2011

Panning for Gold

It's freezing, flippin' cold out there! But, at least we had a snow-day today. Yay! Love an unexpected long weekend.

I've been spending a lot of time wrestling with myself. I have the part of me that likes to have everything planned, and the part that prefers to "go with the flow." Going with the flow is winning out at the moment.

You see, I prefer to be an organic writer, which simply means that I don’t plan too much before I begin. I know where I want to go, and how I’m going to get there, but the details of it all are left to happen by osmosis. I find that I work much better that way.

I do, however, make what I call, “vision files.”

I take a file folder and paste pictures of what I imagine my characters might look like or the homes in which they may live, etc. I also throw into that file any dialogue that I may have written, or snapshots of plots or scenes. Anything I write that I think may fit into my story line, I cram into that file. But, as far as outlining, I stink at that. I feel too confined, if that makes any sense. I wish I could do that… outline. I have tried it, but I never, ever stick to it. And, I find that I can’t flow free in my thought process if I have to “stick to the rules.” (As I've said before, my creative muse gets her butt kicked by my editorial diva. And, that restricts me a bit.) So, my vision files are my organizational tool, for the time being, anyway.

I revise as I go along. I finish a portion of work, then I go back and reexamine, reassess, and modify whatever I feel may need it. Then, I go onto the next segment of work, write fresh, then I start the procedure all over again. It’s a long, arduous process, but one that works for me.

Might I change? Maybe. But, currently, I like the feeling of discovery that I get as I journey along with my characters. As long as I have the bones of the story, the flesh can be applied along the way.

I'm thinking, however, about expanding my writing endeavors to non-fiction. Then, my organizational process will have to change. I'm not yet sure what I would like to pursue as far as topic matter for articles or what have you. As a typical writer, I have many ideas. Just need to pan for gold, and get the dirt out of the way so that I can see what shines.

On a different note, I've been spending these first days of the new year grappling with what I want for myself, in all areas. I'm ready to push through what has held me back in the past, whether it be fear of rejection or failure, or lack of prioritization of my goals, or whatever. I feel as though I've embarked on a new journey.

Maybe it has to do with my age and taking more serious thought about my future. Maybe I'm maturing in certain areas and not "caring" so much about what people think, and being able to see criticisms as constructive and not taking them so personally.

Maybe, with age, brings confidence, and liking who we are. Maybe age facilitates us becoming our authentic selves. Maybe, with age, there's a new hunger that propels us to conquer and then eat what we've hunted and gathered with our own hands, instead of just allowing our stomach to growl, wishing there was food handed to us on a plate.

Whatever it is, I like it.

I will be, if I continue to will to be. You will be, if you continue to will to be.

See? This is what happens when I don't outline and just write "organically," I ramble. But, hopefully through the dirt of the ramble, they'll be nuggets of gold.

CJ

Shoe Mood:

Practicality coupled with free-spiritedness.

Hmmmmm...

I think it works quite well.


3 comments:

Bish Denham said...

I write much the same as you do. I use a three ring binder with dividers. The divider headings include things like, Characters (where I work up the descriptions and personalities.) Chapter Summaries, where I write down in a sentance or two (sometimes a few paragraphs)what the chapter is going to be about, that's as detailed as I can get. Scenes/Conversations where I put anything that comes to mind while I'm writing that I might could use sometime/somewhere in the story. Theme/Title where I try to condence into a sentance or two what my story is about, what the theme is. Also if I don't have a good title I put all my title ideas here and my word count. Lastly Misc. Notes, a place for any research and stuff. I add other dividers if needed. I've found this to be the best method for me, it's loose, but organized.

Jamie Burch said...

Love this post and love those shoes! It was interesting to learn how you begin your writing. I like your idea for vision files!

I'm the same when it comes to editing as I go and going back to edit some more. I can't move on unless I'm happy with it. My inner editor never seems to shut up!

Good luck to you! I hope the writing is going well. Have fun running with all your ideas!

Nora MacFarlane said...

I keep a picture file too. It helps me visualize settings and characters. I didn't outline with my first novel, but I think it took much longer to write because I didn't. I've outlined my second and thought it through in much more detail -although my outline isn't so detailed I have no room for creativity.

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