“Plotting” or “Plodding🎫”

I had a story in my head, and was obsessed by it, but was scared to commit myself to being a ‘writer‘.  I’d jumped in before; put one of my daydreams on paper, and had been horrified by my own writing. I didn’t know then it was okay to write badly because there was something called editing. So I put the story points in a spreadsheet to get the details out of my head.

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That was too slow. I dumped the spreadsheet and the paragraphs started flowing. Short on time, I chose prose over plotting, letting the story tell itself while I committed it to the page. That was my first novel, finished in 8 months and as of now, it’s buried somewhere.

I was then convinced I didn’t need plotting.  Which is probably why my next two novels took so long, and were rewritten so many times. 

With my current work in progress, I got half-way through and because I’d taken a year off work, felt I had the luxury, to try things I’d always skimmed over: namely plotting, and research.  While ultimately the writing is better, it’s also been infinitely easier. 

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I’ll never again try to write a novel or any long work without thinking through what I’m trying to accomplish in each scene, chapter, even paragraph.

I plot loosely, and always deviate from it, but the investment in that step is invaluable. Writing fiction without a plot for me is having to create a world out of thin air while trying to write about it.  Plotting breaks up the process.  I create the framework and roadmap through plotting, then fill in the blanks, let story live and steer itself when I write. 

What works best for you and why? 


Being Me

The clues were there.

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As a child growing up in the 70’s I read constantly, and watched too much television, while my thirsty imagination was insatiable. To fill the drought, I crafted novels in my head. I didn’t know that’s what they were. To me they were a destination, an escape from my boring life. My secret garden–my shame, kept my mind engaged, while feeding and fueling my natural gifting.

What I used as a way to cope with my lonely and monotonous childhood was the breeding ground of my anointing.

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Had I understood myself better, I would have studied creative writing in college and gotten more from the experience. Instead I studied business and couldn’t wait to escape.

Once in the real world, I tried to pack my creative toybox away, like old Barbie dolls. The tendency kept cropping up, however, everyday life providing fuel for new stories. I didn’t understand or acknowledge it, but suppressing that part of myself kept me frustrated, and displaced until…

Finally, when I was in my forties, I found the courage to take the story out of my head and commit it to the page.

I found myself and peace and it all made sense.

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Preparing for my next decade🙄

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Yes, this is my last year of decade number five and moving onto, God willing, number six. While I’ve always had good health, I’ve taken it for granted. Exercise is a habit I started young in my life, and I’ve always been petite. The coming step up is a reminder I need to take my health more seriously. So I did some research, to assess how I’m doing.

The NIH website states a healthy diet is important. Lower calories, higher nutritional value. I’ve been in denial about my diet for some time, but the extra padding in my midsection that won’t go away, is telling me something. I love vegetables, and whole grains. I also love sweets and fried foods. I can’t have it both ways.

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Given that I’m on medication for hypertension, making changes to my diet is even more important.

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Next there’s exercise, which eventhough I assumed I had this covered, since menopause it’s not as easy to maintain the muscle tone, I’m used to, or to drop weight. I can no longer use exercise to compensate for my poor diet. The two must work together.

Keeping my mind active. Here I’m crushing it. I’m a writer, reader, a student of life, and I’m struggling to learn languages but I’m trying. All of this stimulates my mind and keeps me sharp.

Making mental health a priority. In my forties, I learned the importance of seeking counseling, and self-care. While I can’t say I’m always okay, I have no qualms about seeking help when I’m overwhelmed.

Participating in activities I enjoy. I have healthy interests, and I’m active in my church community. Given I’ve just to a new city, I’m looking forward to seeing out more of the opportunities offered here.

Fortunately it’s not too late to change my bad habits and reinforce my good ones. Just a little more discipline and motivation. I also understand that my poor eating habits are a response to stress. Being aware of this, I can make better choices.

Overall I look forward to my next season.

Preparing for my sixties