Amy Hoy is an entrepreneur, teacher, and author. I’ve been following her for years because of her no-nonsense and often off-color advice on entrepreneurship and getting things done.
A recent post from her really struck a chord with me. I’m going to paraphrase and semi-quote what really punched me in the nose:
You need to be going somewhere specific. If you begin at the beginning, you have to try every single direction until you find one that works. In other words, you have infinite choices.
Infinite choices! Of course! Having infinite choices is a big problem. If you start your novel without a plan you’ll just meander, trying different things, coming back around, and ultimately going down another path.
Now, in the context of her post she’s referring to any creative endeavor but she later uses writing a book as an example. I’m pretty sure she’s not a pantser.
The danger of meandering is that you’ll waste time exploring paths that lead nowhere and wind up deleted (hopefully). This effort is inefficient for you and irritating to your reader if you leave that stuff in there. Maybe the mindless meandering will cause you to never finish your book. Isn’t finishing what you want to do?
If you do, Amy suggests working backwards. When you know where you’re going you’ll know it when you get there. Even a little bit of organization will go a long way.
Be sure to read Amy’s original post. She’s way more eloquent than I am. I also have some older posts on this subject if you’re interested:
“To infinity and beyond!”
No, wait, not that! 😉