Writing Done Right
I Overplanning My Draft!
Summary: This article talks about my experience in overplanning my latest draft!

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I realized, after writing 60,000 words, that I have over planned my latest draft. Don't do what I did!

If you are anything like me, I like to sit down to my writing session with a plan in place. I plot out a lot of what I am going to be writing, and being a Luddite by nature, I prefer my notes be on paper. My next book is a memoir / testimony book about my Christian faith, and so I consulted my notes and journals over the years. I put down my usual bullet points, and then I like to turn to a brief essay before drafting out my chapter on the computer. But this time, I over planned! I realized after 57, 245 words that my preparations have greatly increased the time it has taken to get the draft onto the computer. This means that the book is also delayed, and possibly as much as six months!

If you are a writer with lofty goals, you need to get a book out quicker than a year, and a six-month lull is not a good thing. Mind you, I may have missed a day in writing the book, but rarely have I missed more than that. My delay is not laziness, nor being too busy. It is exclusively because my current approach is taking too much time.

What I Did

My writing process is similar to what I have done in the past: Write out a basic outline, create bullet points for the chapters which become my headings, and then write down a few sentences for each bullet point to clarify in my mind what I want to do. This approach works very well for me. It keeps me organized and the words flowing. Just prior to writing any given chapter, I look over my bullet points and I craft an essay to clarify and focus my thoughts before I start writing. With that brief essay out of the way, I proceed to knock out the chapter in pretty quick order. Perfect plan, predictable results, happy writer!

But this time I tried something new.

What I Did Differently

This time I started the same, only I invested time in a more detailed essay. The essay was designed to get my memory jogging into my past experiences. The memories didn't flow, however. What I discovered was my memories flowed more while I typed in to the computer, presumably because I can type faster than I can write by hand. This gave me the added benefit of editing new thoughts while writing. The long essay seemed to do little more than take an extra day or two from my writing schedule.

Were the essays a waste? It is too early to tell for sure. I can say that I am glad I took the time to clarify thoughts, and we may discover in my beta read the essay gave me just the edge I needed. For now, however, I fear I may have over-planned causing me to lose precious time. What do you think...did I do good or waste my time?