Wednesday, June 8

I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

A very wise person once told me not to think, but to do. I agree to a point – we can think ourselves to death without accomplishing more than dusting a room. There comes a point when you have to do or … for lack of a better euphemism, die.

But that isn't what this post is about. I think there are times when we have to think before we can do.

The beginning of a book is a good example. Yes, we can dive right in and quickly create 100 pages of story with no idea of where we're going. But are those 100 solid pages – pages an agent or editor will love? Or are those pages random pages that aren't really part of the story we want to tell? For authors with hundreds of books under their belts, those 100 pages might very well be the beginning of their book, but for those of us still on the publishing journey, those 100 pages might not be. They may be mere filler or – horror of horrors! - backstory.

So, I like to think about the book before I start. Most times that thinking turns into an outline of sorts or at least a listing of plot points I want to hit. There will be a theme in there, sometimes hidden, and I'll find the core story of that book. But first I have to think about it. I can't just 'do it', Nike be damned.

There are other times I need to think, too. There are days – sometimes weeks – when family pressures, life, work make me think very hard about this life I've chosen to lead. Because I have chosen it. I believe that intrinsically I'm a writer, but I don't have to pursue that choice. I could hang it up..with several rejects, albeit good rejections, in hand, some would say I should give it up and just write for fun or pleasure.

They don't realize that I already am. Yes, I view writing as my job and I'm hoping that sooner rather than later this job will be a paid job. But in the meantime, I have days when I think about what I've chosen to do and wonder if it's the right choice. Invariably, I decide that it is and I'm and and I continue on. Usually my thinking doesn't last more than a day, sometimes less than an hour. The key is, that I do think about it. I think about the beginnings of books, the middles and the ends. I think about my chosen profession, whether I want to continue on the path, whether I want to pursue print publication or e-pub...the list goes on.

That wise person who told me that I should do instead of think is right – we must 'do' to move forward, but I think we also have to give ourselves permission to question. As long as the questioning doesn't turn into a lifetime of questions without answers. What about you?


  1. I'm impressed. You get dusting accomplished???

    I agree. I don't know how many beginnings I've had that didn't go anywhere because the percolating was stopped too soon. I have files and files.

    Good post.

  2. I agree. I know you're absolutely right. However--there's always one of those, isn't there?--the truth is that I absolutely love that 1st 100 pages. It is so much fun to write! I've sold five bookx, for which I am so grateful, but I've probably written 25 100-page beginnings!

  3. Liz, I think I have about 10 'first 100s' in my files. And I love each and every one of them...and if someday one is salvageable, I'll eat my words. All 100 at once!! :)

    Margie, only rarely on the dusting...and I'm with you, files and files and misplaced beginnings!

  4. I think that if you are born a writer, to fight your impulse will make you thoroughly miserable. Carry on, Kristina - never give up!

  5. Thanks for stopping in Christina! Love your books, btw!

    I don't plan to stop writing any time soon! :)

  6. Always nice to hear from a fellow plotter.I honestly believe taking the time to think saves time in the long run, because you don't end up throwing out pages that don't make any sense.

  7. True, Christi, I throw out way fewer pages now than I did when I pantsed everything.

  8. I agree that sometimes you have to paint a clear picture. My pictures always end up blurry if I do it before hand. But if it works for you, then rock on!

  9. I am a die hard Pantster, and I can't see myself ever not being. It is just who I am as a writer. I've tried to change, to be a plotter, but I find it stifling, choking.

    And you dust???

  10. thanks for coming by Shawn and D'Ann! I don't know that I'm a full-fledged plotter like Christi...but knowing where I'm going has made all the difference for me.