Why I Don't Always Pre-Plan My Written Content

Is it just me or are the months whizzing by too quickly? In the blink of an eye, it’s time for another IWSG post. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is an online community of writers and bloggers at various stages of their writing journey. On the first Wednesday of each month, people who have signed up with the group, are encouraged to write a post sharing their honest thoughts, anxieties and successes in the field of writing. A prompt is provided but not mandated.

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Here is the prompt for this month:

“Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance? 

This prompt immediately spoke to me. I’ve never planned my written content in advance. More often than not, I sit down with nothing but a given prompt in front of me, and I allow it to determine what shape it will take.

This decision is sometimes influenced by the circumstances I find myself in during that period in my life; sometimes by the books I’m reading at that point; but most often the topic itself guides me.

It’s immensely pleasurable to explore different forms of creative writing without pre-planning. That’s partly the reason I love blogging – I’m not forced to write for anyone in particular, or to achieve a singular goal. I am my own boss and write for my own pleasure.

Today has been a long day of home-schooling my 4-year-old, shooting videos for social media and working on a few deadlines. Hence, I’ll keep this post brief and leave you with a few examples of how my stories and truths often find their own shapes:

  1. I participated in a blog hop on the theme “Decade”, when India was racked by nationwide protests against a discriminatory citizenship bill. From that, emerged the first of a series of my short stories about the Sahni family in Delhi, beginning with “Seven Decades of Greatness”.
  2. One late December afternoon, I was a day away from the deadline given to us for entries on the prompt “Today I woke up in the morning and found….”. Terribly clichéd, I know, but it gave birth to one of my personal favourite pieces – a funny poem for children entitled “The Day the Earth Ceased to be Round”.
  3. Another prompt I remember in particular, was “Parenting is Like….”. The night before I sat down to write on this topic, I had been dolled up and ready to leave the house with my husband for a party, when my son began feeling ill. Off came the heels, the dress and the makeup. As I cradled my son’s head on my lap, I dreamed up this piece- a mix of prose and poetry.

In my opinion, the best writing stems from complete honesty and perhaps even a little unpreparedness. So, heed the advice given in today’s prompt- just write your truth without worrying too much about its form and your stories will mould into the shapes they are meant to be!

Do you agree with me? Or are you an inveterate planner of content? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to visit the IWSG group and read the pieces written by other participants. You can sign up there too.

nooranandchawla.com

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14 Comments

  1. I keep thinking I must pre-plan my writing, particularly blogging and then I just can’t seem to do it! Thanks for the encouragement that it’s okay not to have pre-planned content. I learned with my first practice novel that I need to be half way in before I can write an outline. So completely agree that your stories will mold into the shapes they are meant to be!

  2. I like to plan to get me started, and then let creativity take over. Freewriting is a technique that I used to turn my nose up at, but now I embrace it wholeheartedly.

  3. I love your approach of spontaneity and creating stories from happenings in your life. The stories will choose the appropriate form. I’ve never been much of a planner myself. Definitely more of a pantser. My stories go where they will. And no, it’s not just you. I think the months are gone before I even get to acknowledge them.

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