Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Best Laid Plans Are Not Enough.

If nothing else, this blog will contain a bunch of Road Trip Wednesday responses. No really, I have some other stuff to post, but this will have to do for now...

Today's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday question is:
"Do you like to make a detailed plan before you start a project? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along?"

I'm an outliner and a list-maker. I spend a million times* more effort, energy and time into planning than I actually do executing a plan. In fact, if I would balance out my planning efforts with my execution efforts (of the doing stuff variety, not the murderous kind), I'd probably be the world's most productive person**.

I do this in all the various aspects of life. I download complex list-making applications for my phone and computer. I keep an unreasonable collection of notebooks for making lists and notes to cover every aspect of my life. I make lists of lists, for godsake! I am two years into writing my novel(s) and I have barely ventured out of my outline in order to begin the draft (I have two chapters of potentially three books drafted, that is all). Granted my outline reads like a draft, but it's organized, similarly to a list, and I can move things around and make adjustments very easily. I'm a little bit scared of working in my draft, actually, because I don't have that structural safety net.

So, my take on it: planning is essential for me. I can not venture out without a map and a clear idea of where I'm headed and how I'm going to get there. When writing, my outline is my map. But, I have a very hard time leaving the security of that plan, where I know everything that is going to happen, to traverse the path where things that I encounter along the way may bring unwanted changes and challenges. As any good adventure story has taught us, you never know what you might encounter along your journey. But almost always, the struggles to overcome the obstacles and challenges along your way make your story richer and make you a stronger person (or a stronger writer) in the end.

I just need to learn to shove myself out of the nest and fly.

*numerical values may be are definitely exaggerated
**hyperbole is the greatest thing ever


  1. Its so interesting reading these and seeing how differently everyone plans! I'm the type who barely plans - I jsut make a few notes then go with it. I'm always so interested in people who outline!

    Thanks for participating!

  2. Ditto to what Kody said. I'm more like her - just having a general roadmap and going from there. People who extensively outline awe me. It's amazing to me...I just can't do it, I've found.

    Now get going on that draft! It's scary, but in a good way!

  3. Sheesh! Sounds like you over-plan! I'm going to repeat what Rachel said: Get going on that draft! Don't be afraid, be excited!