3 Reasons Why Your Writing Never Works Out The Way You Planned

3 Reasons Why Your Writing Never Works Out The Way You Planned R.S. Mollison-Read

Writing is an art, but also a discipline. There is a delicate balance between the planning and preparation that goes into writing, and just sitting down and actually writing. Here are three reasons why your writing might not work out quite the way you planned:

#1. Process:
All the planning and preparation in the world can never truly take into account all the turns and twists that might occur when you actually sit down to begin writing. I usually start my writing with an idea, then I flesh that idea out into a premise, and then further develop that premise into an outline. That’s a considerable amount of planning, and yet, it can all change, the moment I sit down to write. When the words are flowing out of my finger tips, and I am living in the moment, inside of the story, ultimately all of the notes I’ve taken, the scenes and plot that I’ve mapped out, are merely suggestions. I’ve found that it is necessary for my best writing, to simply surrender to my process, even if it’s at the expense of my planning.

#2. Character:
Characters truly have a life of their own, and once a writer breathes life into their characters, the actions and events that occur, are sometimes beyond the writer’s control. You don’t even have to be a novelist to understand this. Sometimes the character of a piece, or a blog post takes on a new life as you write it, and you end up with a finished piece that differs considerably from the initial outline you started with. Good writers respond to those changes in feeling, and character – it makes for natural and authentic writing.

#3. Growth:
Good writers are continually evolving and changing. With each word they write, they learn more about themselves and their work, and even their writing process. This means that the way in which ideas are created, writing style and even process are constantly in flux. A story that you started writing at the beginning of the year, may not be the one you finish with at the end of the year, because you are not the same writer, as you were when you began the story.

Does your writing always work out the way you planned? Tell me in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why Your Writing Never Works Out The Way You Planned

  1. Heck no, things don’t always go as I planned. I primarily write creative nonfiction and poetry and things, if I let them, often veer off sharply into new directions. The finished piece is usually so much better than my plan too!

    This past Friday I sat down to begin work on a new essay.

    I had a plan. I had a solid plan.

    And then my fingers hit the keyboard and I saw a new direction and went with it. I’ve shown that first draft to a couple individuals that I have great respect for and they both agree: what I let happen on the paper is much more interesting and engaging to read than the plan I had for the piece.

    • rimir@shaw.ca

      Hi Kate! Glad to hear I’m not the only one whose writing plans don’t always work out! And I’m glad to hear that you too think that what comes from following those new directions is much more interesting than any plan could be! I think learning to trust yourself as a writer, to do away with plans if something better comes along, is what makes for truly compelling writing!

      • Hi Rachael,

        I figure if what comes out unexpectedly is somehow actual worse than the plan then I can always go back and follow the abandoned plan – after dutifully apologizing to it of course 😉

      • rimir@shaw.ca

        So true! And very comforting;)

  2. Plans? What’s this plans you speak of? 😉 This is a great post! I find all these points to be very true. I’ve never been able to stick to my plan for a book; they always seem to take on a life of their own.

    • rimir@shaw.ca

      Haha thanks so much Rachel! You’re so right – novels do take on a life of their own! Sometimes I wonder why I even bother planning! I love looking back on the outline I’ve made to see just how far I’ve diverged:)

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