The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Writer's Corner: You May Not End Up Where You Expected


Writing is at times a mysterious artform. You don't always end up where you expected when you started the process. Sitting down, you thought you knew where this story, article, or sermon would end up, what form it would take, what outline it would follow. The notes you took, the backstory you created, the strategies you employed all said you would be headed off down one particular path. And yet, somewhere along the line, your story, your article, your narrative, your sermon decided to misbehave and take you elsewhere. Now, you have choices to make. You can go where you are being led. You can force the misbehaving material back on track. Or you can abandon the project in anger, mutter imprecations, and go do whatever you do to soothe frazzled nerves.

Forcing things back on a particular track is not a good idea. Now, admittedly, you have to consider who you are writing for, the nature of the deviation, and the expectations of your client or audience before making a final decision. However, if the nature of the unexpected change of course is not catestrophic to your topic or your thesis, then forcing may be the wrong way to go.

Abandoning the project is not a helpful option ... unless you discover your research is dead wrong, your thesis is in error, or your storyline has holes in it big enough to fly a starship through. Then going for ice cream might be appropriate. Learning from that bitter exercise will come ... in time.

So, go with it. See where that unexpected change takes you. You are likely to make the happy discovery that your work is better for it. Bits and pieces have been coming together as you worked. Connections you didn't realize where there get made and the work improves. This is why you cannot work out any writing in your head alone. You can't map it all out before you sit down and start the work. Allow the happy discoveries and changes in course develop and see where you go. Good luck.

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