Planning & Executing
In addition to this process of engagement with an audience, rather than with the self, I find that a certain amount of planning, as well as a timetable for executing a given work, come in handy. That said, I don’t like to over-plan any writing project, as that tends to steal the joy from the process. So, there’s a balance to be maintained.
For instance, the planning process I used in writing this article consisted of about a 5-minute meditation, jotting down the four subheads that occurred to me during that meditation, and then a bit of an emotive recollection of how painful my first attempt at producing a publishable short story was. This got the juices flowing. It provided an outline I could return to, and have returned to, as I now fill in the clarifying sentences.
Planning of that sort is all well and good, but it also can’t stand alone without execution.
Using this article as an example once again, after creating that quick outline, I actually shut my laptop. I’m on a plane right now, bound from Phoenix to Baltimore, writing with my arms held before me a bit like a T-Rex. (I’m a big guy. Economy Class, which Dante has ascertained to exist somewhere between the Third and Fourth Rings of Hell, expects all customers either to be no larger than ballerinas or to sedate themselves with Wifi-enabled consumer media, holding still and staring at a screen until the inescapable call of the bladder causes them to rise and struggle to the rear of the plane).
I did my planning. I thought, hey, okay, that’s enough for now (all 50 or so words of that little outline). But then, mustering my writerly courage, I told myself, with a faux John Wayne voice-over: “Buck up, buckaroo. You’ve got four more hours until touchdown. You can either listen to the kid in the aisle ahead of you cry or you can finish this dagnabbit article.”
I can still hear the kid crying.
But the article, at this point, has reached its half-way point over Omaha.