how my writing rolls


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.


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

8 responses »

  1. No you didn’t just become a writer at 57 because you have been a writer! Write on at any pace and in any way you want, whatever you decide you are STILL a writer. My writing rolls all around and changes directions when I learn/try new things. It is exciting this writer’s life I am claiming! Plot line sounds good follow where it beckons!
    By the way I am 57, too. Elsie calls this the “Heinz” year because of Heinz57(remember those ads).

  2. Like Kim said, you have been a writer all along.

    And at any time, you can become a published author. Just like getting a college degree can happen at any age, so can a publishing contract!

  3. I like how your husband suggested the bulletin board, and then your writing helped me picture sticky notes flying all around the house! 🙂 Best wishes on your writing endeavors – no age limit!!

  4. A wad of stickies… the hint that they aren’t going to be all that useful to you… and then stickies flying around like pesky mosquitoes! Still, you can identify your mission! I think the flow works for you.

  5. You had me grinning about all your colorful stickie notes. That would be me, notes everywhere! I fly by the seat of my pants and wish I could be a more organized writer. I do make goals and try to keep them, like finishing at least one of my ongoing projects before school starts again. Your determination is an inspiration to me. Just do it!

  6. Your planning methods made me laugh. I would so love to be like your husband’s idea of a planner…with plot lines, notes, character ideas, etc. But when I write, I sit down and write, maybe like you? I don’t do well with writing plans. When I try to create a plan I end up changing my mind as I write anyway. I get frustrated with it, so I just don’t plan most of the time. Who needs the pesky, mosquito sticky notes anyway? 🙂

  7. I could just visualize those purple sticky notes and the purple purse you would need to go with them! I have stacks of sticky notes on my office table calling me to sort and purge the piles. I like that at the end of all this thinking and writing you had a mission for today.

  8. This is such a good question for me to consider about myself. My answer would be that my writing just flows, but … it hasn’t done that well lately. And I recently helped my daughter organize something for her business and when she thanked me I said, “I love to see how all the pieces fit together to make the big picture.” So I think I needed to read your words for me to see that maybe my writing needs that big picture view. Hmmm…. Thank you!

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