The (Almost) Joys of Planned Writing

There is a freedom and zest, to writing purposefully (or thinking about writing purposefully), with a plan and a plotted story. You are no longer subject to the soul-crushing vagaries of the muse. You take back your own mind and your writing career. You feel more in control.

However, for me, that produces a different type of book. A certain kind of story – the special kind – is still going to be subject purely to inspiration. To the unfathomable recesses of the mind slowly distilling its highest truth. That’s when Angel choruses ring in the mind. The rhythm insists, this is the music to follow. And you are then actor, and spectator and spell-bound audience all at once. You wonder also – did I, mere mortal, a jester of words – write this! And you pray fervently, for this intense mental space, for ‘inspiration’ never to go away…
When it does, you berate yourself for having failed somehow. You did not keep yourself pure enough, did not feed your mind the right books, music, art, or even the right kind of life! For there is such ecstasy in that place! It’s very hard to let go.

Yet if you want to live a normal life or a normal-ish life and still be a writer you need to take a more rational/left-brained path to producing words and stories. Think of it not as life but as a job. You are a story teller now, not an inchoate mystic magician. You consciously write stories that people can laugh and cry with. Maybe even have some control over the process. You don’t try and pry open that too bright door to sublimity anymore.

If in flashes, it opens itself, then you welcome an old friend – an old wayward much adored love – you take its gifts humbly, thankfully. Write it up with a glow in your heart.

Then you go back to your carefully constructed story, your job.

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