The question of planning

Sometimes I’d read an article on writing or talk to another writer about it and I would read or hear how important planning is. It very often sends me to a notebook to plan what I want to write, to get in all on paper. And nothing would happen. My mind would go blank and my soul would start to cry quietly. I would get this feeling that if it has to look like that, I don’t want to write anymore.

And then I remember that planning isn’t necessary. That I can just write an look for the story, that not everyone plans, that we all should do what works for us. There are no fixed rules.

Yesterday I’ve read an article by Cathy Rentzenbrink and my heart sang when I was reading this:

Ah, the big question of planning! This entirely depends on how each individual thinks. I know lots of writers who plan but I am not a linear thinker and the thought of having to create a plan makes me want to weep. It’s not that I don’t want to but that I can’t. For me it is the act of writing itself that dislodges meaning and shows me where the story is. I just have to start out and trust that once I have some words on the page they will start to make sense and form themselves into patterns and themes. They always do! If this feels too terrifying, then it can be useful to think in terms of key scenes.

A lot of teaching exercises I do are around getting people to explore the key scenes of their life and then work out how they fit together. When we do that, a structure will start to emerge and that is very exciting.

And now let me get back to writing my way to the story. I know it’s there.


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