I don’t plan! There I said it. It doesn’t mean that I’m a lazy writer. It simply means that I don’t plan. If you do, then that’s fine too. Writing is creativity, and we all get creative in our own ways.
Creativity definition: The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.
The keys words there are imagination, original, and inventiveness. Creativity is unique to the individual. Whether you plan and outline, or write by the seat of your pants, it is insignificant as far as your creativity and writing ability is concerned.
I plan and organise every part of my life, except my writing. I lose creativity if I plan, and I lose realism in my story and characters. I keep a notebook on me for name ideas, character descriptions, and so on, but I don’t meticulously plan my narrative. I enjoy the ride, the surprise, and the end result.
Reasons not to plan:
- You may try to make your characters fit your outline and not the other way around. This can lead to unbelievable characters, dialogue, and unrealistic narratives.
- Lose creativity during the writing process. Creative writing uses the left side of your brain, whilst planning uses the right, logical side. Non- planners can leave the logic for editing, and use a spontaneous approach in their writing.
- No constraints; there isn’t a nagging voice telling you what you should and shouldn’t be writing.
- Plot twists, and escalating tension flow naturally , and in turn, are more believable and true to the narrative.
Reasons to plan:
- You know where the narrative needs to go. No time will be wasted trying to get back on track if you go down a wrong tangent.
- You know what to write. No writer’s block.
- Can determine, and correct plot holes before you start writing.
- Saves editing time. Planning may omit issues that non-planners spend hours editing e.g character arc flaws and continuity issues.
It doesn’t matter how you write. It just matters that you do write. I shall end with a quote by Ray Bradbury:
‘You fail only if you stop writing.’