In general I have always been the type of writer to focus on details from the very beginning. I want to know my main character's life story, their favorite color, the foods they hate more than anything in the world. I want to have in-depth understanding of the history of the world I'm writing about, its culture, its people, its mysteries. I want to have a plot sketched out before I ever type the first words of the first chapter. This, I have decided, is detrimental to me as a writer.
I grew extremely frustrated. Why oh why couldn't I keep myself interested in any of my ideas! Why couldn't I come up with anything worth writing about? Then, an idea.
What if it wasn't about the stories at all? What if the problem was in my process? I was spending so much time planning out characters and elaborate plots that by time I started actually writing the stories all the fun of discovering the world of my story was gone. I already knew who my characters were and I already knew what happened to them. I couldn't stay interested because writing was becoming a point A to point B exercise for me. I needed to make a change.
For me, writing isn't about following a map with scheduled bathroom breaks and hotel reservations made in advance. Writing is a sporadic road trip where you stop when you get hungry and pray you have enough gas money to get you home at the end of the week. The fun is in the journey, in the discovering of a new world of my own creation. Obviously planning will come later in the process when I have a finished draft ready for (extensive) revisions, but for now, for the first draft, I just want to discover things as I go. There will be plenty of time to fix plot holes and flesh out characters later.
So far this new plan has been working pretty well. As per my 2014 resolutions, I have taken at least a half hour to write every single day and so far have about 6400 words written. This might not be much, but it is a start. I still love the concept I'm working with and I can't wait to see where it takes me next!
How about you? Do you write with a roadmap or do you, like me, prefer to just type and see what happens?