I recently wrote a post about outlining in novel writing and how I’m not a huge fan. Of course, there is always a time for outlining, and I do tend to use it sometimes.
I’ve been trying to outline book three of my trilogy since I know how I want it to end. I just figured it might be easy to plot everything out and get where I need to be. Right? Simple!
Forget all of that. I finally arrived at the point where I am doing too much thinking and not enough writing. So yesterday, I scraped the outlining idea. Be gone, bullet points!
It’s time to write. It’s time to power through on the ideas that I do have and trust in my process.
And that’s the key. If you have a writing process that has worked for you in the past, trust it. Let’s use a baseball analogy. I’m a big baseball fan, and every hitter goes through a slump. Sometimes an extended slump and it can be disconcerting. They start doubting their swing and their mechanics. Should they start tinkering with what has worked in the past? Should they try and find a new silver bullet? One of the players I follow has been horrible for the past three weeks, but I keep reading how he just remains confident, keep working hard on all aspects of the game in which he can control, do the things which have brought him success in the past, and just wait for the resurgence to come. It has, by the way.
Isn’t writing the same? It is for me. Just write. That’s always been my motto. Let the story unfold. Let the story — the written story — tell you where it should go next. Don’t force it. Let if flow.
That’s what I’m doing. I just finished chapter 1 of book three. I really like it. It is going to help set the tone for what’s to come. Now, I know what chapter 2 will do. That will lead me to chapter 3 and, hopefully, before I know it, I’ll be writing the ending that I know I want.
While outlining and pausing writing to think can be helpful, it should never replace the actual writing. I have been reminded of that this week.
Now get to it. Chapter 2, here I come.