It feels so good to “actually be ‘writing’” the story. Although it may sound strange, a danger is hiding here, for the emotional highs we get from “finishing” sections/chapters/books can sometimes hinder the creative process. We have to be careful to consistently step back, get to the window and stare.
We should repeat this practice throughout the entirety of our projects. Milling over our stories before, during and after the keyboarding is vital to writing a great novel. Keep musing, charting, planning, critiquing and, of course, typing. Novel writing is the sum of those parts.
So much of the advice we all see about novel-writing is, “Just get your ass in the chair and start writing it!”
OK, I’m being flippant. What I mean is, “No. Don’t.”
There are two polar opposite camps regarding the novel-writing process: Planners and Pantsers (the former is obvious, the latter comes from the notion of “writing by the seat of your pants”). But no one is truly at either extreme of those ends. All die-hard Planners still discover and change elements of their tale as they write, and all Pantsers are planning some of the story (in their heads, even if they refuse to write down those plans).
I try to stay as far in the Planning camp as possible, for I am convinced that we save ourselves not just hours, but months (and years?) of frustration and pain by spending the time charting our story before we sit down to type our manuscripts. What contractor do you know who just “starts building” a house without planning out every minute detail? Why would we, (more…)
I’m an IT professional for a University… and daily am tempted to become a Luddite. Why? The mountain of evidence showing us that the 21st century has created a world filled with addiction to our devices. That unrelenting use is continuing to damage our attention spans and general ability to calmly ponder complex issues. [I’ll here stop myself from writing an academic piece since hundreds have already done that work for us. You can Google as well as I can, but I will give you just a few (in case you’re feeling lazy). ]: NPR, NYer, NYT, NW.
Aside from what is a crime against our minds (and ‘souls’ if I’m feeling bold [and antiquated]), I think it’s especially damaging for the work of creative endeavors. As I am charting a 7-novel series, I require many hours of uninterrupted musing. Daydreaming is not just nice, it’s essential. The power of our brains at work when in a steady, relaxed state is vital to the outpouring of a deep story. (Again, Google away, but here.)
Our addiction to being perpetually connected to the internet/playing with our gadgets robs us of this deep flow, which means that what artists produce lacks the depth and richness they may otherwise have had. The useful tools that are our many computing devices have the clear and likely danger of becoming mental termites.