Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There's a Map?!

Outlines and I didn’t get along very well in high school.  I’m pretty sure my English teacher was on to my ‘clever’ method of getting around doing them too, as I’m sure it wasn’t exactly a new trick to write the essay and then do up the outline.  So I almost did a little dance when I found out author Meg Cabot writes her books minus an outline:

“If I really like the idea, I don’t outline, because I’ve found that when I do, it feels like I’ve already told the story, and then I don’t have the excitement about actually writing it . . . People call that “seat-of-the-pants-writing.”  I think you can end up getting in trouble doing that, because I often will get midway through, and I’m like . . . I completely screwed this story up, and this could never happen.  And then I get really frustrated and eat 10 pounds of candy, and I’ll end up watching the Lifetime channel for 10 days until I figure out what I did wrong.  Then I have to go back.  But that’s the only way I can work.”  ~Meg Cabot in The Writer, April 2010, pp. 21-22

But while the above method is doable for writing a novel (Meg Cabot has penned over 50 books which include the successful Princess Diaries series), it doesn’t apply so well to pursuing one’s goals.  It becomes far too easy to become distracted or to lose one’s way completely when travelling by the seat of one’s pants.  I’m finally starting realize this as I am in the early stages of actively pursuing a couple of goals.  In the process, I’m becoming aware of a seeming myriad of things that distract me or trip me up.  As playwright Sidney Howard said, “One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” 

So I have to find some things I can get rid of, and this time a ‘backwards outline’ won’t work.  Hmmm . . . what to do, what to do?


Duane Scott said...

You and I actually have a lot in common. :) I'm definitely this way too.

crosscribe said...

Maybe we could start a club. Or a band. If only I still played an instrument well . . .