I’ve been tinkering with my writing process again, or maybe it’s more accurate to say I’m continuing to work on how I work. If I wanted to make it sound more impressive, I’d say that I was continuing to refine my creative methodology to maximize the innovative potential as I establish best practices. I’ve spent too much time exposed to business meetings, I suspect.
So, to catch everyone up to speed, here’s a snapshot of what I have in place so far. I use a giant whiteboard as a workspace, a place to park ideas/plot notes/bits of dialogue, and when it’s full it…stays full, I guess. Anyway, it did, until I had a revelation about the uselessness of a whiteboard full of disjointed ideas from several different phases of the project. Some of those notes were incredibly outdated, and the actual plot had left those notes abandoned in a corn field as it drove away laughing. So, I transcribed the notes with pen and paper, and wiped the board clean. In the process of copying and erasing, I was actively thinking about the story (the sequel to WitchKids, if you were wondering), and I resolved a few of the plot elements that were bothering me. I’m very glad that I could work out a solution to these rough patches, because enough of them had accumulated that I was having real trouble writing the story and enjoying it despite the rough spots. After the board was cleared, I picked up the ol’ dry erase marker, and I wrote out the story synopsis, and a few more rough spots were smoothed out.
Yes, I am going to explain the picture above. Geez, you’re impatient. As I stood in front of the refilled whiteboard today, I prepared myself to move on to the next step, until I realized that I didn’t know what that step was. Come to think of it, I didn’t really know what the previous step as going to be until I stumbled into it, and that’s how the writing process has been for me from the start. Sure, there are hundreds of how-to books on creative writing, but in the end the process you use is entirely self-created. The real plan you have to fully adopt is:
Step 1) look into the chaos of the unplanned future
Step 2) will yourself into the chaos to shape something out of it.
Most of the new things that I’m working on now, whether it’s novel-writing, parenting, freelance writing, or political activity, are without clear roadmaps. there are a lot of opinions, and some of them are very helpful, but ultimately it’s still advice. I come up with an idea, and then I jury-rig some kind of plan to (hopefully) move towards making that idea real. And when I’m sitting in a meeting of my riding association executive, or interviewing Marc Garneau for an article on space exploration that I hope I can sell to someone somewhere, or trying to manage dinner at a restaurant with just my 3-year-old and myself for the first time, I can’t help but feel like that confused dog up there in the picture. Who put me in charge of stuff? I have no idea what I’m doing. Oh well, better keep faking it until I make something interesting happen.