… Speaking of change or growth or self-empowerment, or whatever you want to call it … I think I am forever destined to ride this cycle of discontentment into striving into frustration into acquiescence onto a plateau, rinse and repeat. I value growth exceedingly. I push myself into discomfort in so many aspects of my life, hoping for growth if not enrichment. I have benefited even if at times the results have been harrowing. This means I am also coming to terms with my strengths and weaknesses and my boundaries. These threads weave their way through my life, including the threads of my writing.
All four of my novels took years to sew up—from inception to the story’s conclusion. A lot of that that time was sucked up because of not knowing what I was doing. Too many of my characters were shallow and all over the place. The story arcs seemed to take a circuitous route. And the prose itself was laden with so much unnecessary verbiage. Now that I finally have those books stitched up, pressed, and published, I’ve been thinking about how great it would be to actually know what I’m doing ahead of time—that’s right, OUTLINING! Using an actual pattern instead of simply draping fabric over a forms and seeing what jumps out at me. Outlining is supposed to streamline the whole writing process. And in theory, I really like the concept of outlining—it’s like ultimate control (and yeah, I kind of like to control stuff and know how things will turn out in real life), so what’s not to love about outlining? In fact, the idea of it has made me discontent with my former make-it-up-as-I-go-along approach to writing.
The problem is, all I seem to be doing is hanging around with these new and fascinating yet ethereal characters in my head, but no plot—like laying the pattern on some amazing fabric, but not being able to visualize the garment. Of course, I do have a few plot points—I do know what each character wants and what stands in their way, but I can’t seem to visualize them playing together. They—and their story—have no solidity. It occurs to me that a basic idea is all I’ve ever had when I started writing a story. Yeah, I’d like to say that pushing my brain to work in a different way would make me a better writer, a better person, but good grief—at what point am I just going to accept the way I work creatively and be happy—yes, content—with that?
Okay, there, I said it! I have officially committed to just writing my next novel by the-comfortable-seat-of-my-pants, one stitch at a time. I don’t know how long it will take to sew Bind Sighted together, or how many times I will have to rip out its seams and refit it, but it’s got to be a whole lot better than poking my needle at nothing at all!