It can be a source of great inspiration. And it can be a source of great paralysis.
Knowing what to write about and how to do it.
On one hand, diving into the page without any plan whatsoever is a lot of fun. The possibilities are endless. You fly. You soar You reach the stars. Until you don’t. Until you stop because you’re not sure where you’re going. And then the paralysis sets in. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not good enough to do this. I’m an impostor. Oh no! They’ll find out! What to do?” And you procrastinate, and procrastinate some more, and eventually get blocked and might even quit.
The opposite of this is planning ahead, and only when the plan is as solid as can be, starting to write. There is no soaring involved. At first. At first, there is only hard work. Structure, structure, structure. Yet when the hard work is done, writing it is incredibly easy. You know exactly where you’re going. You know you won’t fall because you’ve thought it all through. You get it done, and ship it, and start another project. And another. And another. People start calling you pro, and you realize, “Yep. I am.”
How to get from one place to another? By studying story structure.
I was in the first place once. Oh, it was so exhilarating! And so painful. Now I’m in the latter place, because I’m following the structure method (from 12 parts, to 3 chapters in each part, to 10 pages in each chapter, and so on—knowing exactly what has to happen in each one).
I thought it’d be boring, knowing ahead of time what happens. I was wrong. It’s not boring at all. It was so exciting to write and to know exactly how I wanted the reader to feel. I felt…crafty. Cunning. Clever. And it was a different kind of thrill. It doesn’t compare to the other one.
Which path do you choose?