Somehow, reading this (Diane's Saturday post on writing without inspiration) made me sad. Why? I am not exactly sure, but the choice seems to be one of writing uninspired (very sad) or reluctantly giving up (also sad). Many of the comments did seem encouraging though, especially Anthony's 12,000 word day. I want to find out about that!
What do I do?
Now, I am more of the mind set to plan if I am uninspired. I've gotten out the notebook, which is one of many school-type composition folders, and written notes or checklists. I ask what if questions, and most of all I think about which point of view character has the most at stake. In other words, I get into the story by thinking about which point of view character should be next.
Most likely (if I was in the situation Diane described) I would spend a day or two, or even a week on occasion, just planning and making checklists. I would likely even write out scenarios in the notebook. You could call them warm ups or false starts, or even a rough draft if things worked out well. After awhile, all this notebook time leads to something that gets my heart beating and I feel that the story is ready to be written, or as Anthony described, I feel that I am in the zone.
I've learned that it is very important to take the story in the right direction. So, for a novel, I don't want to get on the computer and write an uninspired chapter. It could take the story in the wrong direction and then I could write more and more chapters that are built on an instable foundation.
Perhaps, I would approach things differently for a short story. It seems that because a short is one unit it can be reworked without creating the domino effect of chapter disaster that I was identifying in novel writing.
What do you think?
Is planning or pre-writing a good alternative to writing?
Do word count goals get in the way of counting pre-writing as writing? I'm of the mind set that putting a given amount of time into the process of writing is more important than counting pages. In running terms, this comes down to recording or counting the minutes run instead of the miles run.
I've got one other question on my mind, which is totally random. The worst thing that a creative writing teacher ever wrote (and this was during my first year of college) was that I should not turn in any more work until I could write grammatically correct sentences. In other words, drop my class. Well, I did not drop the class, and managed to earn a "C". What's the worst, or most uninspiring, thing someone has told you?