To write or not to write, that is the question

My writing ‘room’.

Paula’s Post #1  So, unlike my friend Silk, I don’t actually have a well stocked desk to sit at, ergonomic or otherwise. Well, actually I do, but that’s not the way I write. I like to write on my laptop … on the sofa in the living room, outside on the terrace with my spectacular view of Passage Island and Howe Sound (at least when the sun is not shining on my laptop’s screen).

Most of all, l like to write late at night, lying in bed (and I guess, with these bad habits, I will indeed be visiting the physio in the next few months). But my perfect time to write is when the house is asleep (or at least my husband and the two snoring poodles who share our bed), and the muse is ready to come out and whisper ideas to me.

But right now, I’m not writing at all. Not yet. And although the clock is ticking away, and every second, every minute, every hour hurls us closer to our FEBRUARY 5TH DEADLINE, I can’t start writing yet.

Why you ask. Well, by now, we’ve all got at least one ‘practice’ novel under our belts, some of us more than one. And what have I learned from my own practice novels? I’ve learned that I LOVE TO WRITE! For me, the joy of writing is letting my characters take me on a whipsaw ride through the landscape of my manuscript. I don’t want to know where I’m going – I want my protagonist to tell me the story. To surprise me. And the faster I write, the more engrossed I become in the characters, the plots and subplots and my exotic setting, be it the dusty plains and poppy fields of Afghanistan or the or the sordid back alleys of pre-war Honolulu’s Hotel Street.

So right now, I’m itching to write. To enter my imaginary world, to meet my characters, to ‘hear’ them speak, to walk, to run, to hope, to fear.

 But not this time.

This time, I’m not going to start by writing. This time – dare I whisper this most unfamiliar word? – this time, I’m starting by ‘outlining’.

There, I’ve said it! Now if only I can make myself sit down to the tedious task of completing that outline. I’ve got to try, I’ve been lost in the sagging middle of some of my previous efforts, so this time, I know I have to change things up.

So, like Silk and perhaps like every one of our ‘5 writers’ I’ll be flipping through my writing books, looking for sage advice from Donald Maass, Hallie Ephron, James Scott Bell, Elizabeth George and even Stephen King.  I hope they are going to help me start off on the right track. I hope I can resist the temptation to say, ‘to heck with this, I’m going to start writing’.

Only time will tell. I’ve got some great tools at my disposal. I’m starting to outline my Young Adult thriller using a writing software program called ‘StoryMill’. And I must say it puts some fun into the process. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.

Right now, I don’t yet feel like I’m free-wheeling down the sidewalk. Not yet. But I promise to tell you how I’m doing with my outlining. Whether I’m managing to conquer the irresistable urge just to write.

What do you think – am I right? Should I outline, or should I look at the calendar, panic and just write, write, write?

4 thoughts on “To write or not to write, that is the question

  1. I wish I had a great opinion on the outlining matter for you…LOL I hate outlining, but often wonder if my stories would be better, or at least easier to write, if I had outlined. I am impatient and just like to “dive in”. I’m curious to see how it goes for you!

  2. Do what works for you – and that might change with every novel you write. Trying new stuff is what makes you grow as a writer – challenging yourself not only by working more deeply into the material about which you’re writing, or by trying new styles, genres and types of writing, but with the way you write, your routines, habits and procedures. You won’t learn what works best until you try it – so go for it. Just be prepared to jettison what obviously doesn’t work for you, no matter what the experts say.

  3. I’m trying to figure out exactly where your ‘writing room’ is, Paula. The view is definitely better than mine, down in the valley in Whytecliff. But I’m borrowing your photo, because it’s exactly the view my hero has from his house in WV. Imaginary, that is. Best of luck with the writing. I look forward to reading your group blog.

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