I will preface this post by saying that I write it under duress. A large part of me doesn’t want to commit to the project that this post represents. But I know that making this commitment will change the way that I write.
Are you confused? Me too.
Here’s my problem. I only ever write with a plan. Every page has an outline. Every outline has three bullets. Every bullet has links to references. Without a fleshed out plan, my fingers freeze and I can’t make the words come. Worse, when I have a plan, I write and judge the words harshly. Everything falls short of the plan. What I imagine and plan always seems to exceed what reality can provide. When I deviate from the plan, it’s less an exciting turn and more like a failure to plan correctly. Burdened with the need for a plan, my writing is slow and clunky.
This experiment is about writing without a plan. There is only one rule to follow. I must follow my writing whims. I often squash my obsession with poetry (due to lack of public support for poetry, including my own). I often prioritize other things over a whim. I focus on the items that seem “publishable” rather than what intrigues me. Who prioritizes a whim? Me, apparently. Starting now.
This post is a whim. But it’s also larger than that. It based on the powerful idea that committing to a change can make it so. By publicly stating that I want to write without a plan, perhaps I can give myself permission to do so.
I fully expect it to be terrible. I expect my back to clench and my teeth to grind. I expect to face the difficulties of trying to change a long ingrained habit – the rebelling body and mind against a new reality.
I fully expect that I will struggle to even proofread because re-reading my words can be agony. Especially when I’m being honest.
But I want to learn to write without a plan. Because I trust that, without a plan, I won’t get lost. Somehow, not having a plan will allow me to go where my writing has always wanted to go. Where that is? I especially do not know – as I’ve spent most of my life teaching myself to follow logic and reason instead of whims.
But I’ve learned over the past two years.
Whims lead me to more interesting places. Places that feel truer and more real than where all the logic has taken me.
So, every morning, I commit to asking myself where my writing whims want to take me. Perhaps they will take me to this WordPress blog. Perhaps elsewhere. I promise nothing – other than that I will ask this question and struggle everyday to answer it. Until one day, following my writing whims is no longer a struggle, but a way of living.