Day 17: I Sit and Ponder…

Every day that I open WordPress, I sit for a while and think about what I’ll write, like most of us writers do when confronted with a blank page or screen.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am a pantser, so I don’t usually plan my writing before I actually sit down and begin to write.  I tend to give my writing its head and let it gallop off in whatever direction it chooses.  That’s how I wrote 99% of Rapture.  And, the parts where I didn’t do it, honestly, sound forced and false to me.  I suppose I am at the mercy of the Muses when I write and, sometimes, they’re real bitches!  They tease you with ideas but don’t give you the words so that you can put the ideas on paper.  Or they give you flashes and fragments of brilliance which raise your hopes, then desert you leaving you frustrated and damning your need and desire to write.  Other days, they allow your words to flow like honey.  That’s the problem with being a pantser…you have no real structure from which to begin.  I have tried just about every outlining, plotting, and structuring template there is out there.  And, I’m still a pantser.  Even in high school and college, I wrote my papers “backward.”  I would research, then write the actual paper but most of the instructors wanted to see a bibliography, notes, outline, and rough draft.  So, after writing the actual paper, I would then write the rough draft in pencil and erase and mark through words and sentences…making it look “rough.”  Then came the notes with the same marks and erasures followed by the outline.  I freakin’ hate outlines!  I’d spend more time creating that than everything else combined.  And I’d finish with the bibliography which I fleshed out a little since I actually only used 1 or 2 books of the required 4 or 5 for the meat of my paper but I’d pull relevant quotes from several other books that were used in the fleshing out portion.  Oh, and the very best part was that since I was a procrastinator, the paper was assigned at the beginning of the term and due, usually, at mid-term, so I’d start it about a week before the due date.  Oh, and I’d always get an A.  But I’m older now and I don’t know that my brain could still handle that kind of stress.  So, I guess I’m a natural pantser even though I really wish that I weren’t.  I had 1 English professor that understood me…Dr. Virginia Brumbach.  I loved that woman and took every class she offered.  She’s the professor that told me that my writing and use of punctuation were reminiscent of William Faulkner.  How could I not love an English professor that told me that?  She might have told me that as a way of admonishing me for my use of run-on sentences though but I’ll take it as a compliment.  As a writer, you have to take compliments in any form that you receive them even if they might be a little shady.  She told me that there was no wrong way to write as long as it works for you and it keeps you writing.  But I’ll probably still keep looking for that plotting technique that works for me even though I doubt that it’s out there.  The Snowflake method was promising so maybe I’ll check that out again.  The how of your writing isn’t as important as the actual writing.  As long as you’re putting words on that blank page, you’re doing it the right way!  Just keep on doing it.

“Writing is finally about one thing:  going into a room alone and doing it.  Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before.” ~ William Goldman   


About Donna Heilman

I am a writer that lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex with my husband, 2 dogs, and 10 cats. I am currently working on my novel, Rapture, as well as writing poetry and some short non-fiction. I am honestly writing this blog to feel more connected with other creative people.
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