Moving can get in the way of writing. Well, actually, a lot of things can get in the way of writing. Packing, moving, school, romance, work, etc. We all have a plethora of distractions and I haven’t really been good lately about making sure that I take time to write. I’m working on a novel at the moment (in chapter two… so we’ll see if I have the stamina to finish), and I’ve been considering writing a short text on trusting God. I plan on titling this ‘On Trusting God’. Original isn’t it?
Like in academic work, something that can help us with writing is taking the time to plan ahead. Part of the reason that I haven’t gotten very far in Chapter two of the novel is that I’m not entirely sure what needs to happen. There’ve been a few problems with the story that I’ve worked out so far (simplifying it some was a good idea), but at the moment I have a timing problem that I’m working on. I have a basic three part outline for the short work that I’m thinking about writing, but again, it needs to be much more detailed.
So, why is prep work important?
1) It helps us identify problems before we’ve actually done hours of writing. This is good because getting half-way through a chapter before realizing that one of your characters actually just doesn’t work is kind of a bad thing.
2) It makes writing faster. Amazingly, when you actually know what you’re writing (I mean you have a detailed plan, not just a general idea) the writing goes a whole lot faster.
3) It makes the story flow better. Again, if you work out details before hand and you know where you are going it is easier for you for avoid getting lost in your own writing or losing yourself in characters that aren’t really that important to the story.
1) It’s hard work. Writing is supposed to be fun, right? It’s supposed to be enjoyable, not hard, drudging work. However, putting together a chapter plan can be hard, drudging work. It’s not necessarily much fun, which means that a lot of us don’t really like it that much.
2) It’s not spontaneous. Most of the writers I’ve met (myself included) feel (and I do mean ‘feel’ here, not think or believe) that writing should be spontaneous. This seems to make it more artistic, from the heart, and meaningful. Honestly, through editing my own work, I’ve learned that spontaneous writing really tends to just be sloppier.
3) It takes too much time. Let’s be honest, figuring out what happens next in the story and how it needs to happen is generally what takes the longest. So, why would I try to do all of that at the very beginning of the chapter when I can spread out the lengthy pauses and figure things out as I go? Well, mostly for the reasons above :).
So, what I really need to do is sit down and plan out my chapter. This is going to take some time, and take some hard work, but it will probably make the chapter better and easier to write. I also want to sit down and write an outline for the smaller work as well. That probably won’t take as much time though.