07 October 2014

For the Planners

Welcome back, Readers,

I realized the other day that I have shown much love to the pantsers, the plungers, the "I only write an outline after I've written the paper" sort of writers.  In short, I've shown love to writers who – like myself – loathed the assignment of writing an outline to hand in for approval before handing in a paper.  For writers like us, we've heard our whole lives that "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance."  And that mantra is still true, but what proper planning looks like is different for each person.  So our proper preparation for those outlines was to write an entire essay, then back-draft that outline.  Thankfully, none of my outlines were ever rejected, but I did have friends who's outlines were rejected, and they had to write an additional essay to hand in a new outline.  That's miserable, but for some of us it's the only way.  Ian Flemming used this method, so it can't be all bad.

HOWEVER, I want to share some love with the Planners, the Masterminds, those writers who can create a beautiful outline fully formed from their heads, like Dianne from the forehead of Jupiter.  Dear Planners, I salute you.  I salute your ability to hammer your ideas into a cutting narrative in the space of a few bullet points and arrows.  You're in the grand company of John Grisham.

Then there's a third class of writer, too.  There are those who, like Hemingway, must write their words each day, then comb over them relentlessly – again, again – until those words sing.  Then, comforted in the song of those words, the writer can continue telling more story.  This seems an agonizing process, but then we all suffer in different ways for the sake of craft.

For this third group of writers, you can still participate in NaNoWriMo, and you can even win, but it may be hard.  Rest assured that when you finish, you'll have a much more manageable draft than most of the rest of us.  If you want proof of your ability to win, look no further than Ted Boone and his essay featured in Writer's Digest.

Readers, I look forward to seeing you all, regardless of process, at NaNoWriMo.

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