Embrace the unknown

In May I started acupuncture for my migraines. Two different people told me it had worked for them, and then I reconnected with a friend who is now an acupuncturist but lives too far away. She gave me a recommendation to someone affordable (that was key since my insurance won’t cover it) nearby.

We’ve made some progress, but we had been missing the key to MY migraines. We may have now found that key, but it will take time to be sure my body has really learned to heal itself. (RocketMan: Stop rolling your eyes.) I decided to jump into this with both feet. And that made me wonder about the kinds of ways we embrace the unknown in our writing.

Pantsing it: This is not something I do. I need to know what I’m writing, where the story is going, and at least several points along the way. I need to know who I’m writing about and how he or she will change. I also like to know who will help and hinder my main character.

But lots of writers do work this way. I’d love to hear from some of you. Why do you write by the seat of your pants? What is different about the experience for you than if you outlined first?

Going with the gut (another cliché): One could argue that every new manuscript is an unknown. Something (or someone or somewhere) inspires a shiny new idea and we run with it. (Man, I am full of them today. Hee hee.) We jump into the new story idea and its world and characters and we hope that after a lot of hard work and a lot of revision and a lot of polishing that it might turn out to be THE ONE. Or THE NEXT ONE for those of you already published.

Every new idea is unknown until we write it and develop it.

I would imagine that choosing an agent and an editor are two more ways that writers embrace the unknown.

What other ways can you think of? What have you jumped into lately?



Filed under The rest of my life, writing

10 responses to “Embrace the unknown

  1. It seems as if all of writing is one big unknown. We bare our souls to the world through our writing, and never know what may come of it. It’s like jumping off a cliff into a lake and hoping something good happens along the way down. Then we climb back up and jump again. Insanity, or persistence?

  2. Every book you start is the unknown. You never know what twist and turn it might take on you. But our passion for the story seems to always guide us in the right direction.

  3. I hope you find a solution to your migraines.

    I don’t plot my books. Sometimes I have a vague sense of trajectory, but I don’t outline. It’s more fun for me that way. Sometimes, if I have a few ideas for specific scenes, I’ll just some notes. It’s the journey as my fingers hit the keyboard and the story surprises me as it takes shape that makes me love writing.

  4. I’m a plotter, but that initial spark of an idea is really a step into the unknown. It’s a delicious step, however. 🙂

  5. Migraines are awful to deal with. Here’s hoping you conquer yours. I write an obsessive amount of bullet points, put them in some semblance of an order, identify the gaps, and then let ‘er rip. I guess that makes me a plotty pantser.

  6. Hope the acupuncture works, and does give you a new way to see healing. I enjoy the rush of creating from the unknown. Even as a child, my sister would give me a character and my brother a setting and off we’d go on a magical journey where frogs danced and rainbows were evil.

  7. Elizabeth Varadan

    Almost every time I start a new book, I’m jumping into the unknown. It just seems to happen that way.

  8. Almost every time I start a new book, it’s a leap into the unknown. It just seems to happen that way. Hope the migraines improve.

  9. I’m not a huge fan of embracing the unknown either. I definitely took the ‘plotter’ approach to choosing my editor – getting several different quotes and sample edits before I made my decision. I hope the acupuncture provides the key to your migraines!

  10. I tried pantsing a manuscript lately, but had to stop and plot it out. Need that control!

    I hope the acupuncture helps with your migraines! Nothing puts a stop to writing faster than a migraine. Except, maybe, the baby waking up. 🙂

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