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Do What Works For You

by The Procrastinating Writer on May 21, 2008


People often ask me why I write everything by hand before I type it, and the only answer I can give them is that the paper is my brain and the pen is my thoughts. If I write it down, I will remember it, otherwise it may slip through the cracks. This is part of how I organize my life; I write everything down. I keep to-do lists, I include every single little event in my calendar, whatever will help me stay organized.

One of the things I’ve been fighting with myself about for pretty much my entire life is my obsessive need to be extremely organized–my closet is color-coordinated and set up by categories, my DVDs are stored alphabetically by movie title and also by type of movie, etc.

And this obsessive need has, of course, trickled down into my writing.

Writers and writing teachers often say that the best way to write is to just sit down and start writing. And I’ve tried doing this many times. But when I’m finished, the piece I have in front of me is usually well-written, but full of holes. And then I get so stressed out with the whole revision/editing process that I end up putting the article or short story aside and forgetting about it.

I have often thought about planning the whole story out, or at least some of it. But then I’d stop myself, worried that I’d be committing some writing sin. You’re not supposed to plan out a story…are you?

Well I’m here to set the record straight: Writers should do what works for them.

This thought came to me when I found an eGuide to designing a story plot. Try it out for yourself: Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Workshop. It saved the story I’m currently working on from being tossed into the “not finishing it” pile.

We all spend so much time worrying about doing things correctly, and that is hindering our creativity and our writing. So I say, do what works for you. In my life, organization works. So planning out my stories a little is the best way for me to get my writing done.

What do you think? Have you ever tried planning out a story? If not, try it, then let me know how it went.

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