I read so many pieces of writing advice about planning your work, plotting and figuring out each chapter before you begin but I would like to propose just diving in. Some of my best work has been a blind journey into a world where there is no clear plot or outcome from the beginning, and in many ways it provides a freedom to explore and to let a story unfold.
E.B. White in an interview with The Paris Review on writing once said that,
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
I think he had a point in that we often wait, procrastinate, ponder, ruminate. Add any other word that fits and you have a writer who is too afraid to begin. The problem is that time is short and every day that passes is an opportunity for you to delve into a new world of words. I say this to encourage rather that to thwart the plans of those who truly like to plan. But I know that there are those who also wonder whether they can write if they don’t have a plan, an MA in Creative Writing, a bestseller to their name or any other reason to add to the list. Diving in can bring with it a freedom from the confines of your own expectations.
Imagine diving into a huge pile of leaves. There is something in us as adults that stops us, tells us it’s not the done thing and that it’s for children. Imagine the freedom of just plunging onto a freshly swept pile of autumn leaves. Then imagine putting fingers to the keys or pen to paper and writing one word at a time until you find yourself in a world entirely unexpected and intriguing, a world where the rules have changed and where new characters appear. For me this is part of the excitement of writing, and part of the freedom.
Thank you for this article. You spoke straight to me. I have made so many excuses not to carry on with my novel. I say I am still researching—thinking about it—or. I first need to do something else before I can restart.— my blog needs urgent work. How scared am I? I know I have to just jump in and get on with it. So, here goes.
I’m so glad it inspired you, Ann. It’s sometimes difficult to continue and to find the motivation. Thanks for your comment and I wish you all the best with the novel. Keep going with the blog, too.
There’s something to be said for diving in. It’s how I started. I’d put it off for years, as you say, but enough was enough. If you want to do it. Just do it. 🙂
And it’s been worth your while. I think people wait too long to begin writing and they often wait too long to begin the next book or short story.