Saturday, June 12, 2010

Plotting Along

In fiction, there are two types of writers. Plotters and 'Pantsters.' Plotters like to plot their novel ahead of time -- a road map to guide them on the journey from the beginning to the end. Pantsters fly by the seat of their pants -- whatever happens is usually a big surprise to them as they write along.

When I write, I like to be a pantster. I enjoy creating characters who have a goal. Then I take these characters, throw them into a mess, and see what happens. Chaos ensues. But sometimes, I stumble upon something worth keeping.

In my life, however, I like to be a plotter. I'm not sure why I strive to control the uncontrollable, but I keep doing it day in and day out. I cite my blog post about scheduling as an example. And even though Ellie's birth taught me that you can't plan these things I'm already at it again.

Oh yes. I have big plans for the course of the next five years. When will we have #2? Will it be a boy or a girl? How many children will we have? Where are we going to live? What's our plan for working and managing the house?

Most people have an idea of these things. I have an outline. As though I could sit down and script it right now.

So why can't I shut off this annoying habit that I have? Why can't I live my life like the pantster I wish I was? Why do my characters get to have a freedom I don't?

This weekend, as I was explaining to my mom the birth order of my son and second daughter, and their approximate birthdays, she stopped me. She said simply, "Maybe you should take a break from planning things for awhile."

Maybe she's right. Maybe it is that simple.

I think I'm going to give it a try.

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