Hey there rebel!
You know how I always say we should go with our natural ways?
Well... turns out there IS an exception and I have just found it. And since I promised myself to always share my lessons with you in my emails, today I'll tell you how I had to go against my Natural Way this summer! *gasp*
I know, I know... it's like REBELASHPEMY.
Let me explain...
I'm writing a book.
Someone joked it was my 73rd idea, but that doesn't stop me from writing.
Anywho, I usually am a "planner" which means I have to figure things out before I can start writing in earnest.
I need the names, the characters, the rules of the world I'm creating...
What would happen after I have things figured out is I would get excited, write a few chapters, and then get bored because there are no surprises. Basically, by being a planner all these years I have depraved my multipassionate fun-loving self from being surprised and finding out new things in every new chapter.
What I'm doing now is the opposite - being a "pantser" which means that you write by the seat of your pants, or without having figured it out.
And wow! Is it FUN. And it flows much better...
Thing is, I believed that if I am a natural planner, that I had to always do things that way, but it kept tripping me and preventing me from finishing anything. It was killing the spark that was so evident in the beginning.
Trying the other extreme, I am constantly surprised by the characters. I don't get bored because I have no idea what will happen next. And so far I have written almost half of the book, which is not a record, but it's very close to one.
So cross your fingers I finish this one!
WANT VS. NEED
I didn't just go from PLANNER to PANTSER, though.
Another change I made was the order in which I write. Usually I would start from the end or write all kinds of scenes and try to patch them together later, but it always just made me nervous, and I would eventually drop it.
Seriously! This can make all the difference...
In storytelling they teach us that each character has what they want and what they need, and those things are usually in conflict because most people don't know what they want, and protagonists are based on real people.
So think about it...
- What is your first instinct? How do you want to do it?
- What is not going so well and why? Could you try a different way?
- Forget how you wanna do it. How do you NEED to do it?
In going from WANT to NEED, I have definitely improved the quality of my writing experience and also the quality of the result. I have also upped my chances of finishing this book because it's a constant surprise - something I NEED.
Whether you want to be like J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien, it doesn't matter. Your best chance at "success" is to just be yourself.
And to know yourself so well that you can go right through the superficial surface and straight to the core/heart of who you are and what you need to happen to make progress and get closer to your creative dreams.
Free your creativity!
What's holding your creativity hostage? Personally, I had two more realizations that helped me free my creativity from the clutches of fear:
a) I can tell as much as I freaking want to (they say "show, don't tell," but some of the biggest best-sellers are the exact opposite - the more a book is focused on characters and emotions, the better it is to delve into the human psyche.
b) I don't care if it sucks, I just want it written. I want it DONE.
It's a more intuitive way of creating when you just create from the heart and not just blindly follow all the shoulds of your industry. If you must, consider the shoulds, challenge them, and tweak them to fit you better.
Finally, let me know if you're writing a book too! >>
I will be writing 1 or 2 chapters every day for the next 1 or 2 weeks (since I have been doing it for a week now, I am hopeful I can keep it up), so if you want to join me in word wars or writing sessions or feedback swaps, lemme know!
By the way, I am writing a YA romance with a bit of sci-fi thrown in, and it's definitely on the sexy side. (Write what you know, huh?)
Can't wait to see what you're up to this summer!