You’re doing it wrong!

A few nights ago an interesting tweet caught my eye. It said ‘I just can’t get this writing thing right.’ I had to stop and just stare for a while. Who hasn’t had that feeling before? I know when I’m struggling with a difficult plot or line of poetry I always wonder if there’s a better way, if maybe I’m not doing it right.

It’s a silly, totally ridiculous thought. How can there be only one right way to write? Is there even a wrong way to write at all?

In my opinion, the only wrong way to write is to ‘wait for the perfect time to write.’ You have to constantly make writing a priority in your life in order to make it happen. Your schedule isn’t going to magically  clear itself and leave you a month or a year or even a day to write if you don’t make it happen.

A few weeks ago I decided I was going to write the ‘right way.’ I was going to sit down and plot out the entire story, follow a flow chart, do character sheets, scene sheets, etc. I was convinced that all of this plotting and planning was how you were suppose to write. That I would plot and just jump into the story.

Maybe for some people that is the best way to write, but it didn’t work for me. When it comes to writing, I find a car, pick a direction with a general mental guide of where I’m going and I hit the road. Somedays I’m going 90 down the road and somedays I’m pushing the plot uphill with two flat tires. But that’s what I do and that’s the best way to write for me.

What’s really interesting with writing is that what works for one story/poem/etc. might not work for the next piece. There are short stories of mine that were meticulously planned and plotted before one word was even written. However, I am finding more and more that with longer works, I prefer to jump in with a mental road map and trust my instincts and my characters.

With writing there isn’t a right or wrong way to write, it’s all about what works best for each person. Writing is one of those beautiful things that has no one way it can be done, the possibilities are endless.

So what’s your ‘right’ way to write?

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5 Comments »

  1. randallweiss Said:

    Written plots strangle my stories. I find myself trying too hard to stick to my plan rather than letting the story go where it needs to.

  2. Laura Said:

    I’m the opposite. I don’t do plots for shorter writing; it bogs everything down in detail that I don’t need. However, for longer projects I do plan. I think many people get caught up in the idea of The Plan and mistakenly think of it as something rigid and inflexible, rather than allowing it to be a vehicle for their creativity. Personally I like doing plans because they let me explore. Plus it’s always helpful to realize that something doesn’t make sense before you actually write the impossible plot point.

    • Plans are a lot of fun, and this novella I just finished is one of the first works I’ve done where I actually plotted it all out before I finished writing it. I actually really enjoyed doing that and think maybe I’ve found a system that works for me.

      • Laura Said:

        I mean, I revise my outline as much as I would revise the actual story. It’s interesting to plot a story, leave it alone and think about it for a while, and then come back to it after a few weeks and see how much it’s evovled. 🙂


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