Plans and Deviations

If I can get this blog entry written and up in exactly twenty-nine minutes, that means I can still stay on schedule. For someone highly motivated by planning, this is the carrot on the stick. Hitting the page with no particular topic this morning, but am tired of writing about not having a topic, so off I go, into uncharted territory, and, somehow, we will fill the magic seven hundred words needed to call this post done, and then I can have lunch. Sounds like a good plan to me.

It’s Monday, the start of another week, which means that my ideal plan was to spend the majority of Sunday making my weekly and daily planner pages. No, I am not going to talk about making planner pages. That is highly fascinating to people who are into that sort of thing, dead boring for those who are not, and oddly confusing for everybody who isn’t sure if they fall into either category, and isn’t this technically a writer’s blog, anyway?  Specifically romance writing; I mean, really, it’s right there in the title.

Okay, technically right under the title. If we’re going only by the title, this could be construed as a blog about typing (or nail care) which would probably have delighted my father to no end. What we get instead, is one romance writer-slash-blogger making her way back onto the bookshelves after a life detour. Anything under that umbrella (and it is a pretty big one) is fair game. Which is useful on blabbery mornings like this one. I am going to leave out the stuff that would actually be interesting if this were a blog about planning (and I have not ruled one of those out, but books come first,) like how my default lettering style seems to owe a lot to American traditional tattoo art. That can probably be explained by my affinity for Ink Master, but is not actually applicable until whenever it is that I have a hero or heroine who actually has or creates tattoos. So far, we are at zero for that one, which means we are stopping this bunny trail now.

One thing I have learned when creating my own planner (I am not turning this into a post on planning, I promise. Stick with me here.) is that deviations are going to happen. Write a first draft, start on the second, and this will become eminently clear. I have, thankfully, banked enough pages to bring to critique session with N that I can put this particular puzzle on the back burner, but there’s that moment when I’m tapping my pencil against the well-worn surface of the now bonus-office-buddy-free desk (please please please be a bonus-office-buddy-free desk) and staring at chapter sixteen of Her Last First Kiss and kind of one-eye-squinting at the screen (also a reminder to visit optomestrist, because eyeballs are kind of important) trying to figure out why this second draft scene is not gelling (note: whenever a writer puts a note that reads some variation of “figure this out later” that writer should remember that later always arrives.) and a particular bit of useful but annoying advice comes back into play.

That bit would be to go back to the last place things absolutely worked. There was a decision made somewhere in there that sent something off on a wonky  track. This is also known as the place where that missing piece is probably waiting, tapping its foot and wondering what took the writer so danged long to get back to it. Sure enough, if Character X had y’d before they z’d, then Character A could be aware of the y-ing and boom, there’s where chapter sixteen wraps.

If this were a planner or bujo or art journal page, I would slap a piece of washi tape over the mistake and move on along. Washi tape does not work well with computer screens, so this requires going back to the previous chapter and making a different decision. It’s an easy fix, so why is it scary? Why the overthinking and avoidance? Why not do the writing equivalent of slapping down some washi tape – backspacing, maybe, or strikethrough, if this is a discovery draft- and keep on going? If I had the answer to that, I would not be pushing the goal date for getting A Heart Most Errant to beta readers back another week, but what I can do is start from where I am, and keep on moving in the right direction.

Boom. Back on schedule. See you Wednesday.


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