Spending the week with Grace in Montreal. Left my computer at home on purpose. Still have my phone for emails and chats but anything longer becomes an issue.
Which suits me just fine, as I want to work on Venus Occluded in my notebook. For me, notebooking is super for short stories, although for anything longer I tend to lose the patience to type it up and what it holds can languish for years (lookin’ at you, Perceptions).
Even though I want to focus on writing this week, I don’t expect my energy levels to miraculously improve (as anyone with chronic illness can relate). So as much as I want to avoid it I have been a bit low in spirits and the Weepies are creeping up on me.
This particular strain of Weepies is focusing on the fact that I don’t know what’s happening in Venus Occluded more than a scene or two in advance. Like an RPG fog o’ War.
There are a lot of advice articles out there–professional and non alike–that would have a Weeping pantser believe that the only cure is structure. Plot diagrams and charts. Bullet points for every scene. Archetype break-downs.
An actual arc. (Go search “writing” on Pinterest if you don’t believe me.)
Clearly this approach works for a great many people, which is super. But as in P.T. Barnum’s audience, some of us need something different than a formula to save a cat. This letter is for them.
My dear fellow write-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsers,
The Weepies are indeed a terrible force to be reckoned with. But as with any storm, it too shall pass.
The loudest voice for me in the wind is the one claiming my story is worthless, the characters unrealistic, the plot confusing. It’s easier, and safer, to follow the trailers (formulas, seminars) of those who came before us, who have claimed to have “cracked the secret”. But there is no secret, only experiment and experience (and editing).
And for that, the important part is to write what you love to write. To find the joy in the process and experience, whatever your process and experiences might be.
Experiment! Flail around! Follow the trail of breadcrumbs through the fog, without knowing where it leads.
Let yourself be surprised.
Don’t write what you think others want to read: write the stories that only you can tell.
Who else can do that? You’re the only one.