Lately, I’ve been saying to myself, “just write short…this is July…it is kind of a vacation…even Ruth and Stacy have taken a break from the every day writing…your friends, your family…they think you are goofy about this thing, this dream you have…writers don’t become writers at 57” The voice in my head fights with my fingers and sometimes they feel confused and slack.
I vaguely remember last year when we were presenting our new rubrics that one teacher raises her hand and says what is the format? Where are the organizers? My kids need to write with an outline. Murmurs of agreement, head nodding begins in the crowd of primary teachers. “No, my co-presenter says, we have not provided organizers that students must use.” I look at her smiling and say, “Not everyone does pre-planning and students brainstorm in different ways.” We are however, encourage notebook use to gather seeds, or ideas.” I’m not seeing any head nods. I move forward and look at the ‘organized teacher’, the disdain creasing her face and say, “We know that many work better when they are pre-planned and of course you can help a student see what works best for them.”
Last night I am talking about my middle age novel that I’ve been working on for a season or so. I mentioned to Dave that I was going to try to just finish it in the next four weeks before school and then start having people I trust read and comment. Then without waiting for a response I started talking about the character motivation, historical context, main theme and events transpiring. When I sit down to write, I feel most of the time it just comes out without any pre-planning. Dave is an avid reader and poet who just happens to love digging in the dirt and creating his poetry in a different fashion these days.
He looks over at me and says,
“hmm, it sounds like you have lots of things going on up there (meaning my head), maybe you should get a bulletin board and sticky it with different colors for the characters and then list things that you want to happen with them. Wouldn’t you like to have a line somewhere so you can decide about the climax and events leading up to and then coming after? Don’t you even want somewhere where you can store some of the brain matter? If it was me, I’d want something concrete to give me guidance.”
I say, “I really do like the idea of colors for the characters and it does make sense to write down ideas as I think of them. Maybe I could have a wad of stickies… put them in my pocket, stick some in the bathroom and by my hairdryer (I always get the best ideas there), down by the nordic track, in my Bible, near the granola, out by the purple chair and in the glove compartment. Then I would just have to have a new purple purse strapped on my shoulder so I could collect and organize them for my new bulletin board.” In my mind I see colorful stickies and ideas flying all over my neighborhood like pesky mosquitoes.
He says,”Maybe you are more of an ‘everything notebook’ type of person.
I smile and nod my head.
Today’s mission: plot line
PS So… How does your writing roll? Do you plan or do you roll? I’m really pretty curious.