Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Either I'm crazy or they are

I could be crazy.
After all, I don't believe that sitting around waiting for inspiriation to show up is the best way to get a novel written. I like to have fun when I write, and sitting and waiting isn't fun.
Struggling with writing isn't fun either.
Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
Some people think I'm crazy for writing a book like Novelist's Boot Camp that tells you to plan, prepare, and then execute your plan to write a novel by breaking writing tasks down in to do-able, actionable units and then following a process to build a complete book.
I might be crazy. Maybe I am.
I work for an international corporation. They plan and deliver multi-million dollar, complicated, global projects that take years to complete.
Sounds a bit like writing a novel--except for the money.
To keep the projects from going haywire, to keep multiple, interconnected ideas connected, one of the senior management folks constantly reinforces that we should "do things in the right order."
This man delivers $200 million dollar projects under budget and ahead of schedule.
When I tell him about an aspiring authors who asks about getting an agent before he knows what the plot of his novel is, the man shakes his head. So do I.
"The process works," he says, "trust the process."
Then there's a best-selling fiction book that revolves around the idea of writing down your "next action step" and then doing it as a way to make progress. "Clean up the yard" isn't an action step; "rake leaves from beneath bushes" is. You make a detailed list of action steps, then do them. The author argues that you can't hold everything you have to do in your head AND do it well.
So you write an action step--like "write the first half of the scene in which the hero confronts the heroine about her relationship with her past boyfriend." That's an action step. "Work on chapter two" is not.
Following this author's key ideas, people are accomplishing more, improving the quality of what they do, and having more fun doing it.
Writing more, writing better, becoming more creative and having more fun doing it.


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