Writing conundrum: Leaving behind that outline without creating problems

So, I’m back to cranking out chapters of my serial this week, and this time, I hope to do it a little faster. The quicker I finish the serial, the easier it will be for me to focus on other projects, I think. Anyway, something is happening as I write that I think is worth mentioning, because I sincerely doubt that I’m the only writer to experience it.

In the beginning, there was an outline…

serial title imageIn order to secure my gig to write my current serial for Binah BeTween (“Glixman in a Fix”), I had to prepare an outline. Once that was approved (along with character profiles, the summary, and so on), I started writing. Generally, I write the serial episodes — I might have mentioned this before — in blocks of three, basing them on the outline. Because I’m working from an outline, with characters who are now well known to me, the writing goes relatively quickly. Then I revise the rough drafts once or twice and send them together in a batch to the editor.

Recalibrating

We’re now more than a third of the way in, and more and more often, I find that I’m diverging from the outline. Continue reading

The 2 Best Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills (with a little backup from Anne Lamott)

I’m going to offer some advice today that seems simplistic, so basic as to be ridiculous. Yet recently, I’ve experienced people who have neglected these 2 important strategies that are pretty much guaranteed to improve their writing abilities. So here I am repeating them.

Almost every book about writing offers the following advice. (The wording might vary according to the delicacy of the audience, but the meaning is the same.)

relaxing in a chair

Okay, so you might need more than a chair. This guy isn’t going to get much writing done if he doesn’t pick up a pen!

1) PUT YOUR TUSH IN THE CHAIR.

By this, of course, we learn that if you tell us you want to write, well that’s a nice sentiment. But we know that you mean it if you sit at a desk, pick up a pen (or keyboard) and actually practice writing. Certainly weekly, and preferably daily, you need to write. A human being is only a writer if s/he is a person who writes.  Continue reading