My family recently returned from a trip and I realized that traveling is like starting a new manuscript. You think you know what you are going to do. You plan and you pack and then you make the best of it.
When you travel, there are always things that you back that you don’t need. Not needing some of these things is a blessing – the gas can that accompanied us across the desert. We made it to town just as the Jeep dinged to tell us to fuel up.
There are also the things that you aren’t sure you will need but were a really good idea. For us, these included a drying rack, rain jackets, and spf 45 lip balm. We managed to experience two extremes – a dust storm and a down pour.
Then there are the things that we wish we had remembered. First up on this list – Sudafed. When I was a kid, allergies weren’t a problem. I don’t know if the issue was that I had never been there in May or if new residential patterns mean new planting patterns and new pollen. It would also have been nice to have a scarf to cover my hair with during all the wind!
What does this have to do with writing? At the beginning, you make a plan. Some of us outline. Others create a mind map. However you organize, the idea is that this will take you through a completed manuscript.
No matter how carefully I plan, there is always something that doesn’t quite work out. One section feels too much like another and one of them has to go. Of I’ve got two great scenes but there’s a blank spot in the middle. How do my characters get from one to the other?
Ninety percent of the time, I push my way through. Once I reach the end I have a much better idea what worked, what didn’t and what I should actually have included. Fortunately, rewrites make it all attainable!