Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Time Management Tuesday: Organic Writers Have To Accept That We Use Time Differently

Yesterday I finished participating in what I'm calling May Days in October. I'm part of a Facebook group that uses the month of May as a set-aside time to work on something special. And now we do it again in October.

My hope was to at least finish a couple of chapters in the project called 143 Canterbury Road and blueprint several more. Maybe even get all the way to the end. I did satisfactory revisions of two chapters, blueprinted three more, and then realized that I needed to develop four characters a lot more, which would then generate more material about them. That new material would then need to be threaded into the work I'd already done. 

So much for my May Days in October plan.

Why Having To Stop Or Even Begin Again Isn't A Bad Use Of Time

A lot of writing books advise writing to the end of a draft before revising. I don't know if I've ever done that, and I definitely don't try now. 

Being an organic (pantser) writer, I can't separate plot from the whole story and create that by itself. I have to work with the whole story organism, using character, voice, point of view, and even setting to generate ideas and plot. The best I can hope for is to stay a few chapters ahead of myself with what I'm going to be writing and have some general feel for the whole story. I can't just work to the end of a draft, because after a certain point, there's nothing for me to work with. There is no end. Or there might be an end, but a giant gap before getting to it. 

Stopping to rework characters or give someone a voice often generates all kinds of new material and plot points. I may have to do multiple do overs, but if you look at my hard drive, you'll see that each new version is usually longer than the last. That's because I got more to work with each time I stopped.

So I'm not disappointed about what I didn't do last month. I'm excited about what I'm going to be able to do because of what happened last month. 

You Have To Be Able To Remain Unattached To Work Like This

In order to work like this with any degree of equanimity, you cannot be terribly attached to finishing a certain number of chapters in a certain amount of time or to maintaining any part of a story the way you originally saw it. You have to be able to ride the wave. 

No comments: