Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Don't Make Promises to Chickens

Once upon a time, I was involved in a theater company that put on Neil Simon's The Odd Couple:The Female Version. At one point in the first act, Florence, the anal retentive one, decides that now that she's moved in it is time to begin planning the menu for the week.

"No," exclaims Olly, an unrepentant slob. "No planned menus. I'm not making any promises to a roast chicken!"

I'm with Olly. While some part of me wishes I were an incredible planner, I just know I'm never gonna be that person. I have a rough sketch of what my week is gonna look like up on the wall, but that's about it as far as planning.

Yesterday, I read a post over at Literary Rambles that asked what we were planning to blog about for the week. My honest answer was, "Well, I don't know. The usual I guess." And by 'the usual' I meant, things about life and writing. I admit it, I don't plan this stuff in advance. If you thought I did, sorry to shatter the illusion, but you were very wrong.

Actually, this week, I discovered that the scheduled post function is back for blogger, and I thought, 'This could be a great tool. You can write your stuff on the weekend, and it'll post it automatically for you.' But then I thought, 'But what if you get really excited about something and want to interject it immediately. Then you'd have to go in an adjust the pre-timed ones. Wouldn't that be a hassle?' And my figuring was, yes, that would. I'd have made a promise to a roast chicken, as it were, and breaking it wouldn't be a simple thing. So if I plan a post, it probably won't be more than 24 hours in advance.

I'm the same way with my writing. I like to know where things are going in the book, and I make a rough outline before I get started, so that I don't get completely lost; however, I don't know what each scene is going to be or where I'm going to break down the chapters. I also will sometimes follow my characters down the paths I didn't know were going to exist, and that'll
shake things up.

Does this sound strange from a girl who talks so much about goal setting? I guess it might. Frankly, the two sides sound a little incompatible to me, too. But that's how I've been doing it for a while now. 'Here's the goal, and the mini goal. Meet them by the deadline, however you think best.' So far it's been working well. And I have no intention of making any promises to any roast chickens.

How about you? Are you a planner?


  1. We don't really plan blogs at all, and while we have an outline for our books it's usually sort of a joke by the time we're done. Our books tend to take on a life of their own. Isn't that sort of the point? Planning shmanning.

  2. I don't outline for my writing, but I do plan out my blogs to a certain extent, and I usually write them the day before. But some days, I have no idea what I'm going to blog about until the moment I type it.

  3. Lnl -- I won't deny that I like my outlines, rough as they are, for reminding where I was heading when I forget, but they're not half as detailed as some I've seen.

    SM -- I do the same thing. Sometimes the blog is completely stream of consciousness.