March 5, 2011

A novel approach

I found myself in a novel. Or rather in writing one.

As I have mentioned, I started with little more than an opening scene, and wrote my way into the story. This flying by the seat of your pants technique is often called 'discovery writing'. Without an outline, you simply discover the story as it comes to you. Hopefully along the meandering path, you find a good story and satisfying ending.

And it appears that this is the way I have lived my life on some level. I do not have a five year plan, and rarely think much farther out than the coming year. There are several people in my life that knew what they wanted, and have spent considerable time and effort to reach their goal. They are the river carving their path through the landscape, where I am generally the piece of driftwood finding my path by bouncing off obstacles along the way.

It is not for lack of caring or an absence of core beliefs. I feel rooted in who I am, if not where I am headed. It is probably over-thinking all the possible implications that has kept me from forging ahead. I have talked myself out of many things, seeking the slower waters to ponder the rapids. The time crunch of the novel writing contest left little time to over-think.

In discovery writing, you follow inspiration along a twisting path and hope that it leads somewhere promising. You have the freedom to explore, always knowing that you will go back and edit it later. But of course there are no rewrites in life to take out the wrong turns, no matter how badly you want to erase them. So today, I am trying to develop an outline of my future, while at the same time, forging ahead on a new adventure unsure of where it is headed.

But this drifting path has led me to interesting places and introduced me to some wonderful people. And if my one plan for the future had worked out, I would not be on this current adventure, and I would not be sharing a home-brewed beer with a friend on his birthday.

So cheers to our futures, however you chose to write them.

1 comment:

Paige Worthy said...

Wow. Sean. I really enjoy your writing. Looking forward to much more — so happy to have bumped into you here on my driftwooden path.