I shall not deadline.
This sounds dangerous. I mean, I specifically wanted to not fall into a plotting hole for so long that I had to change my address. So, what gives?
Well, I also know that when said deadline comes around, I will convince myself that I have actually met it and I Am Ready To Write. I will launch into another bender of a pants party thinking I have everything under control, and resurface in six months in the same place I have every other time I’ve gone on this ride: frustrated, depressed, and with no story to show for it.
I realized that the deadline isn’t what will tell me that I’m ready. I’ll know. I’ll be able to look at my beats and my character arcs, and see that everything is there and accounted for. It will feel right. And if I don’t get that feeling, I will be wearing gloves made of doubt as I type every word.
Well, what about all of those times that people told me I can’t stop plotting?
Yeah, they were right. I couldn’t, but I don’t think that it was the plotting that was the problem. It was my ability to craft a story that I was satisfied with. The plots didn’t jive, or the scenes felt flat, or there are a host of other excuses. I think it boiled down to: I didn’t plot correctly. I didn’t know how.
In my day job I am a computer programmer. I plan my projects out in detail, and picture the end result in my head long before I enter void main. Since I cannot afford to fall into a planning hole at work, I have come to recognize a particular feeling that I get when it’s time to start Doing The Thing.
I wasn’t getting that feeling with my stories though, so I never left the pit. Inevitably, I gave in to the urging to just write because I needed something to show for the time I’d already sunk. So, I went a-pantsing with what I did have until I frustrated myself into a dead end again.
To keep myself honest, I’m showing my work. I shouldn’t be able to BS my way through if there’s an audience. 😀