It’s one of the first questions writers ask each other upon meeting for the first time:
Are you a plotter…
…or a pantser
Are you a plotter…
…or a pantser
Many years ago, in a fluke of proprioception I’m largely unable to reproduce with my moods and in other activities, I mastered the skill of daydreaming with a neutral expression on my face.
This revolutionized the way I move through the world, for it enabled me to almost always be working on my writing, even when I’m not literally writing.
(When a bruise actually shows up on a black person, you know it must be bad.)
Anyone who’s read my blog for while knows that I ride my bicycle a lot.
I’m a cycle-commuter – I ride 8km roundtrip to work every day, as well as on various errands and social outings in and around Vancouver, where I live. With the proper outer layers, Vancouver weather is rideable 95% of the year.
After all, a book is, well, a book. It is static and non-visual beyond the fact of seeing a print or e-book’s typewritten words.
To me, it made little sense trying to apply techniques used in visual arts (most notably motion pictures) to a format that most definitely isn’t a picture (this despite the fact that very good books can indeed succeed in creating vivid pictures in the reader’s mind).
I should rephrase that: I’m two-thirds through the second draft of my WIP, with an as-yet-undetermined number more to go after that.
And it’s not exactly “just like that” either, for I’ve been hard at work on this draft since January. This has involved, in addition to multiple rewrites of chapters one through three, a first crack at the additional 15 chapters I’ve completed to date some of which were in much better shape than others.
That would be the subject of an entirely different, and if I chose to get all self-psychoanalytical about it, lengthy post.
Rather, it’s about what goes on in my mind whenever it’s not otherwise occupied, and, to me, is the furthest thing from negative.
Of course, there is factual truth to this statement: I literally learned and continued to read stories before I started writing them (although the timing for both is close; I clearly recall writing my first “novel” in grade two).
Even now as an adult, my almost-daily reading occurs earlier in the day (dinner time) than does my almost-daily writing (after dinner, the last thing before I go to sleep).
“Holiday” as my friends across the pond and Down Under would say.
Or as I like to call it, “staycation”, for it was a vacation where, rather than travelling someplace, I remained in my home town.
(For the record, I make a further distinction between a “vacation”, which to me involves travel, and a “holiday”, which is travel to someplace particularly noteworthy or exotic. But that’s just me.)
Maybe it’s because it’s the first advice many of us ever received. Certainly it seems like it should be beginner advice.
I can see it perfectly: a student of sixteen or seventeen hunched over his/her desk at school, pencil in hand poised above a sheet of three-hole-punched, lined loose leaf.
(Am I totally dating myself with this memory in longhand? Do high school students even write by hand in school anymore? The pencil in this vision isn’t even mechanical).
This year, I made a conscious effort to remember my writing birthday – to commemorate it on the actual day, or if nothing else, to at least make note of it. February 12: in truth, an arbitrarily-chosen day meant to mark the start of my first (incomplete, shelved) novel as approximated through a forensic accounting some emails I sent to a friend around that time.
I’m an Aquarius writer.