Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Knowing Isn't Doing

I am an author of erotic romances. I love telling stories about strong men and women who aren't afraid to go after what they want. Before I was published, writing was a past time. I did it to relax, to decompress after work, to escape the boredom of not having anything to watch on television.

All that changed after I was published. I still love writing, I still hear the characters telling me their stories in my head, but now I'm finding that sitting down to write isn't as easy as I thought. In the last six months, although I've had ideas and jotted down notes for stories -- I haven't written anything but blogs and I'm beginning to worry.

A friend of mine and I have been discussing this issue since December. In bits and pieces things have been surfacing and making sense regarding my writing process, but knowing isn't doing.

Fact One: I am a pantser. I don't normally plot out a story because that isn't the way I see it. Recently, I have been reading and studying books on plot techniques. I'm not sure if this has been a good thing or a bad thing.

Situation: One part of my brain is adamantly demanding I need to plot out my books before I write anything. The other part is being stubborn and refusing to do anything if I'm going to ruin everything by plotting it out.

Result: Nothing is getting written.

Fact Two: My stories are not linear or sequential. This means I don't see the story from beginning to end. I see it, and when I'm able to, I write it in disjointed scenes. Sometimes a scene at the end of the book; sometimes in the middle; occasionally a scene at the beginning of the story.

Situation: The part of my brain processing the plotting demands is irate over the mish-mash of information. My creative side is blowing fat, juicy raspberries at the plotting side and making fun of it.

Result: Nothing is getting written.

Fact Three: I have always known that the way I learn, as identified by Dawna Markova, is VKA (Visual, Kinesthetic, Auditory), which means for me to learn I have to see it; do it; then hear how it's done. Based on the premise that the brainstorming style is the reverse of the learning (also considered the writing) style, then I have to talk out my ideas, write them down, then see them on the page.

Situation: This would suggest, then, that I would do well to plot my story ideas out before writing them. *Note: pantser brain is in the corner pouting, while plotting brain is doing the dance of celebration, chanting 'naner-naner, boo hoo,' and thumbing its nose at the pantser side based on this conclusion.

Result: I have tons of notes and information in notebooks and journals, but nothing on the story is getting written.

Fact Four: Further discussion with another couple of friends has gotten me thinking about working with a critique partner. Someone who will get on me about producing pages and getting work done.

Situation: I don't normally like presenting my work to critiquers until I'm done completely with the book. Or at least nearly finished. I like feedback and responses to get an idea if I'm on the right track, but I'm not big on being pushed or being told "you need to..." Guess it's the Taurus in me.

Result: I have a few people I do send my work to, but nothing produced yet.

Fact Five: In order to write my books, I have to rewrite them at least three times. Not really a hard thing for me when you consider once I know what needs fixing I can get it done relatively quickly.

Situation: Thinking about my writing process both annoys and depresses me. Annoys because I think I should do it faster than I usually do. Depresses because the idea of redoing a story four times makes me question my writing skills. (This sucks especially writing it down and seeing it on the screen.)

Result: My mind works in a certain way and I need to respect that.

All of this analysis simply identifies the fact that I need to get over it. I need to accept the fact that I work in levels and steps. I'm character driven and plotting is great -- in MY revision stage, NOT my original draft stage. If I'm going to get back on the horse for a ride or two, I'm going to have to close my eyes and take a leap of faith!

That's all any writer can do. Have faith that their skills and the story inside them deserves a chance to be heard and read.

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