Read an article recently that addressed the topic of writing by the seat of your pants or pantsing (sounds like something you would do as a kid). Simply, it’s doing a mind dump on the page. Instead of agonizing over every word, every sentence, every paragraph—just write. Throw it against the wall like a bowl of spaghetti (unless its good spaghetti with a nice, rich marinara sauce like I make, then I suggest eating the pasta and throwing something else against the wall, preferably something that sticks, like a good story). Actually, this is how I write, although I’m constantly fighting the temptation of going back and changing a word here, a comma there, or restructuring a sentence. It often happens when I first open my manuscript and begin scrolling down the screen. As I scroll there are numerous warning signs (Inserted comments in blue off in the right margin) asking me a question or making a suggestion. These comments sometimes sidetrack me when I should push ahead, leaving them untouched until the entire manuscript has been dumped from my head on to the page.
I’m encouraging a friend of mine who is now in the throes of writing a novel, his first, with a very unique and interesting plot. He was having trouble getting his story down on paper, a classic case of writer’s anxiety: When to begin? How to begin? Where to begin? He asked for advice and I gave it to him (I love giving advice and never taking it from myself). I told him just to take the story playing in his head and dump it into his Word program. Don’t think about it, just write it! Works for me. Incidentally, I’m now about 40,000 words into The Barbarian Queen of the North. I’m getting to really like this book, which reminds me, I’ve got some dumping to do. Talk to you later.