Patience is the greatest virtue.

This week has been one of the most difficult as a writer.

This rethinking how to write with an outline is not only trying my patience but also my wife’s

I’ve ran things by her numerous times and like the trooper she’s always been, she makes suggestions. I hear the little hint of frustration in her voice as I ask for suggestions, but it’s a new thing for me to use an outline for a project, and it going along better than I thought it would.

I’m learning to diagnose issues with the story I have in my head and analyze where things went wrong, where I could change them and how to do so.

It feels like I’m learning to write all over again. I know it will improve the story, but damn it’s hard.

I’ve been writing as a discovery writer for over 10 years. I have to teach my mind that what I’d done before didn’t work and this is the new way we’re doing things.

Needless to say, there’s been pushback.

I’m using K.M. Weiland’s outlining workbook to do this. The reasoning is she knows what she’s doing and I’m only guessing on how to do this.

I see things in the story that could go another way, and other things that I’ll do away with all together.

There are things I’m changing I never would have if I’d rewritten the entire book.

I see the scope of it growing and with it the number of words I’ll have to write in order to fit everything from the outline within the book when I begin drafting.

The drafting part will be interesting. I don’t know how that will go. It’s going to be a while before I get there, a month or longer, but I’ll get there with a blueprint for the book I should have written the first time.

It’s awfully frightening to realize that you should have done something a certain way, but your mind said, “it’s fine. If King, George R.R. Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss can do it this way, so can you.”

The problem is, I’m not them. My brain obviously doesn’t work that way.

I’ve never really planned things out. Now that I am, I’m seeing more clearly.

I’ll keep updates going, but for now I’m just happy to get this going. I’m happy I’ve found a better path but I wish I would’ve done it years ago.

Now that I understand how to outline, I’ll do it for every project.

Have a good weekend and happy writing.

Rewiring my brain.

I’ve recently converted to outlining. It’s been hard. There haven’t been any knocks on the door about changing, but I’ve been working on fixing the way my brain works.

Having been a pantser, discovery writer, I’ve had to funnel information into my brain differently. I also have to block my brain from yelling, “NO, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG,” which has have been the most difficult.

Once you convert things get hard. I fight myself every day over just doing the way I used to. But it doesn’t work, like I said Monday, maybe it never really has.

I’m down a new rabbit hole. There is nothing but my the other side of my brain telling me, “you can’t go on like this and expect to get where you want to be.”

That voice is the same one I heard on a 9th grade English test. It was supposed to be a story using the spelling words, I forgot to use the words and still got an A on it.

That little voice told me to keep going.

At 23, the voice resurfaced. But I kept writing by the seat of my pants.

It’s 20 years later, and I realized something has to change.

This week I’ve been working through the fantasy book I wrote last December. I’m outlining it, as I should have done.

Trying to wrap my mind around this process after writing another way for 20 years has been difficult, but I know the book will be better this way.

Once I start the drafting process I’ll know how I’ve done.

That I had to change is one of those things you don’t understand at the time, but I know I had to do it.

I’m working my way through the books I have on outlining and beat sheets. I have a few of them. They’re helping.

I’m going through those to find my way to the end.

The point where shit ain’t working.

I’ve reached critical mass, DEFCON 1, time to pull the holy shit handle…you know all of that.

My writing isn’t working and maybe it hasn’t been working for longer than I’m willing to admit.

The writing itself has been good, but the organization looks like my niece got ahold of crayons and paper.

Shit is all over the place!

I’ve always just written. No outline, rarely a beat sheet and it’s just not working.

I’ve rewritten whole books a couple of times because I was afraid of the outline monster.

I was worried I’d get bogged down in an outline, stop working, and just quit.

But I’m at the point of quitting right now. So why shouldn’t I take a chance on an outline?

I realized my first written draft is my outline, but a 86k+ outline is hardly workable.

It’s daunting as hell and it’s making me hate writing. I used to love sitting in the chair and creating.

Then I noticed a few things.

I was putting out a draft that had no cohesive theme or flow through, not until at least the third draft.

When my wife would ask me questions if flub through it.

The other night she asked what is motivating a certain character, I had no reply.

What the hell am I doing if I don’t know the damn motivation for what my character does?

I’ve only looked at the part where I’m sitting in the chair as the writing part. Not the thinking about the story, drawing maps or staring at screenshots which resembled the world I’d created, and definitely not an outline.

This changed over the weekend.

I thought about all the stories I’ve written. Shorts, novellas, novels and understood that whenever I’m thinking about, drawing about, or outlining, it’s still writing.

I have stories that felt too daunting to create because I didn’t understand their world and didn’t get it about the things I mentioned above.

Now as I hit the button, reset things, and journey into this new creative life, I feel blessed to have a wife who continues to stand by my side as I navigate these waters.

She’s my rock and she’s always there to tell me it’s okay. She makes sure I keep writing in whatever form it takes and I’m the luckiest man to have her.

Now on to the writing.

First, Write the Story

Staring into the future; the road seems long.
The less we know about what’s coming the better we may feel.
Last week I hoped for the best,  but those hopes were dashed Monday.
My writing and this blog have become my extension. The part of me I let out into the world.
This happens because I like letting people,  especially artists into my world. There are many reasons I enjoy this. Mainly because I want to help new writers who feel their writing being crushed under the weight of their day job,  family and responsibilities outside of writing.
I often think of where I was a few years ago,  and how I dealt with the frustrations of finding the time to write.
I dealt with them by arguing with my wife,  getting angry with my kids and hating who I was.
These things took over who I was,  and they made me unbearable to live with, my wife will attest to that fact.
With each short story or novel I’ve gained more confidence,  and I feel my writing has grown by leaps in the last year.
I attribute that to writing as much as possible.
It’s best to finish stories,  but sometimes you learn more from the unfinished stories and how not to craft a story than from finishing the story.
When I started writing I’d never use an outline,  today I find them indispensable.
I sketch the outline,  get the points of that part of the story down and start writing.
I thought it would restrict me,  I was wrong.
Get through the story then edit, but first write the story.