Is Planning Worth the Time Spent–Redux


I’m grateful to those of you who had time to comment on the first part of this post. I read your thoughts, refined my own through my responses and kept right on with the tentative outlining of Chasing Down the Night – so many thoughts swirled around in my head as I flipped through books on structure and process.


On Friday night a strange and wonderful thing happened. I’d put on a mixed playlist of mostly 80’s pop/rock tunes and was listening, enjoying while back at the laptop working on my daily note pages. Something shifted. The characters took over and my writing of maybe this could happen and what about this and maybe not that became people doing things and having full-blown conversations. I had crossed the Rubicon into actual writing. I came up for air when the two hour playlist ended feeling both exhausted and exhilarated.

P1000421I’ve come to a conclusion about the time I spend on novel planning. Every resource tapped, every single page of notes, each character sketch, every drawing, chart, calendar, and post-it-note is vital – but never to be set in stone like a blueprint or ultimate guide. All the planning is a means of getting to that magical moment when everything shifts and I start writing.

After that, all bets are off and everything is to play for. I have no idea what these characters are going to get up to in the weeks and pages ahead of us. And while that thought is a bit terrifying, it’s also the most exciting part of a writer’s life.


I read a Maya Angelou quote this morning and it kept rolling around in my thoughts.

“A woman [writer] in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretence and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.”

A river runs through it all

I trust Ms. Angelou will forgive my bracketed insertion. She was, after all, intimately acquainted with being a woman who wrote.