One thing that irks me about some workplaces is meetings. There are just too many of them. Some workplaces do it well, only having a meeting when necessary, with a concise agenda, that helps improve the efficiency of the work being done. Other places seem to have meetings about when to have meetings about meetings. We can fall into doing something similar in our own mind.
Overthinking is easy to do. When we feel the drive to do something which will move us towards completing our goals, and we fail to act upon it, we are in danger of falling into this pattern. What happens if X? What if I do Y and it doesn’t work out? Why would I think I can do Z? How do I start?
These are all good questions when used appropriately. But, if all we do is think up answers to these questions, worry that we will be unsuccessful, and never take action, we will never move closer completing our goals. Writing is a stark example of this for me.
Ever since primary school I have written stories. Some are embellished adventures from my own life, but many more are fantastical fictitious tales. The art of writing these stories has always fallen onto a continuum. At one end there is, “plan everything before writing”. At the other end is, “create through the process of writing”. Depending on the project I’m working on, I can find myself anywhere along this continuum. The futuristic dystopian sports novel I’m working on requires a bit more planning because I need to work out important details about the world. This is because I haven’t read a lot of similar stories, and don’t have a lot of existing knowledge about similar settings. On the other hand, the first story of what I hope will become my second fantasy series, is one that so far has written itself. I sit down at the computer and the characters’ adventures flow from my fingers as I type, seemingly of their own volition. If I tried to force myself to write these stories from a different part of the continuum, the end results might take more work than was necessary.
The writing process of the book I’m currently editing sits somewhere in the middle. When I started writing it, I was recording the events of our roleplaying game as it unfolded. This was mostly unplanned as we made decisions on the fly based on the situations our characters faced. When it came to editing this first draft it required thinking more deeply about the setting and what information a reader would need to know. This required some planning to make sure the world will come alive in a reader’s mind, and to make sure the characters act in a manner consistent with who they are. Before diving into the next phase of editing after that, I needed to put even more of a planning hat on to research Japanese culture and the Shinto religion which this story is inspired by.
Be prepared to be flexible in your approach. Understand if you are a planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantser, but remember, you don’t have to live there permanently.
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If you had a choice, do you have a preference of where you’d sit on the continuum? How well do you adapt when a project requires you to work elsewhere for a time?
You’ve got what you need to get things done, even if that is the capacity to learn what you don’t yet know.
Keep on keeping on being awesome. Peace.
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