When it came to writing in school, I always did well. I can write essays from start to finish and usually finish first while still getting a top grade… but ask me to plan it out first and I fall apart.
So often I hear people talking about how they plan their books and other writings. Word maps, drawing pictures, tables, graphs, lists, doodling, scribbles, whatever. What is perhaps almost as fascinating as a book itself is the way a writer creates it. Every novel, I believe, is simply the polished form of sheer chaos, the result of sleepless nights and panicked revisions. The best part about all of this is that it’s completely unique to each person.
Me? I wing it. I don’t plan. My brain says, “Here, have this random idea with a few random characters. Go!” And off I go. And, as usual, I write from start to finish. No writing chapters in random order for me. And you know what? So far it’s worked out pretty well. The only time I ever did any sort of ‘planning’ was when I wrote out descriptions I already knew for characters I already had, and this was because I was extremely bored in one of my college classes.
I like to wing it because it doesn’t confine me to certain ideas and structures. If I don’t have anything specific in mind, if I just have an idea as to where I want to go, I can get there more naturally. My characters don’t take orders, they do pretty much whatever they want, so writing a book for me is basically telling a story that’s already happened, created by said characters. Granted, this has failed once or twice, but it’s still the method I stick by the most.
Planning has always killed my motivation, though. In some of my high school classes we were forced to plan out our writing using very specific methods. The logic that how we planned was completely dependent on each individual was lost on our instructors, and I found that it took more concentration to write out a mind map instead of the actual essay. It was beyond frustrating. I don’t do lists, mind maps, doodles or anything else. I get an idea and I write. End of story (no pun intended). This made things bothersome when we were required to fill out our planning sheets. Oh education, you’re a strange and fickle thing.
But I digress. This is how I’ve always done it, and probably always will (though I will be honest and say that it makes me rather sad, because my love for stationary makes me want to draw all over everything). Just like I do most things in life, my writing is done by taking everything in stride and going with the flow. I find that version of chaos to be so very much enjoyable.