LOL! Ah, plans! Yes, I’ve spoken with people who “know all about writing, and how to create an amazing plan”! They’ve done their best to condescend to me, tell me how it “should be done”… Yet they haven’t actually sat down and started writing their book! Sigh!
There’s many schools of thought in how to approach this and how to create a plan!
Until you sit down and write, you really can’t know for certain what works best for you! Each book requires its own approach too! I learned this lesson for myself by doing!
When I wrote my How to Heal Your Life book, I had no plan!
I had no clue how to go about writing it!
Yes, my first publisher had said I should write out my philosophical thoughts and make a book… Yes, I had been told by other individuals that I needed to write a book… But how? What was the “best way”?
Well, for me that meant carrying around little notebooks and scribbling down thoughts as they came to me while waiting for the bus or on the bus to work, walking, standing in line in the grocery store etc. I ended up with a few mini notebooks filled up and not in any kind of order.
At that point in my life I didn’t consider myself a writer… I was an artist who had created a beautiful illustrated children’s book, but a serious writer, for adults? Nope, I didn’t see myself that way, and neither did anyone in my family! I had a brother in law (Gordon Mustain) who was a SERIOUS writer. Everyone took him seriously. My second husband Minor, Gordon’s brother, was in the film industry and was writing screenplays, which I worked on with him as his sounding board, adviser and editor. As long as I stayed in my box as an artist (okay, my photography was acceptable to them too) I didn’t pose any threat of encroaching into “their” territory!
So, writing in mini notebooks was not threatening at all! If they asked, and they did, I could just say I was scribbling down some thoughts before I forgot them! This way I could honor the suggestions given to me to write, and not be calling myself a writer preemptively!
So what did I do next?
I transcribed all those scribbled notes into a Word document. As I typed, I started to see where certain paragraphs and thoughts belonged together… Then I started to see connections and patterns… I continued to type and organize the thoughts into sections and chapters.
As I worked I continued to write and develop this manuscript. I still had a hard time calling myself a writer at this point!
Around this time I gave a printed copy to my sister in law and asked for her thoughts and feedback. She got back to me in a couple weeks and said she liked what I had written but she felt let down, it wasn’t what she was expecting!
When I pressed her to elaborate, she said it seemed strangely lacking in anything personal from me!
At first I was shocked by what she had said, but when I reread the draft I saw she was right! That’s when it hit me hard… in my marriage to a narcissist, I had played his shadow! He wasn’t interested in my individual thoughts and would interrupt or talk over me. I had become accustomed to being unheard and edited… So much so that I hadn’t put much of myself into the book in a meaningful way, because I had been trained to feel my thoughts were unimportant!
What an eye opener!
I started rewriting in a much more open and vulnerable way! I was now calling this my book, my manuscript… And I started calling myself a writer! Gasp!
Did my second husband want to read my writing? NO!!! Not even a little bit! Did that hurt? Yes. As I had come to see, this is typical of narcissists!
Soon after, my baby granddaughter was re-diagnosed with cancer and I went out to help my daughter with the kids. My marriage dissolved during this time, because he couldn’t handle my time and attention going to my family and not him!
Once I made the decision to divorce him and moved in with my daughter, I slowly rediscovered my voice as a person and woman!
My writing benefited! As I healed and grew, my manuscript changed and grew!
For me, having no writing plan was the best thing that could have happened to me, I had total freedom to write and grow, without feeling the need to conform to what other people said was the correct way… After all, hadn’t I spent years conforming to other people at my own expense?
What was my plan when I wrote the first companion workbook?
Again, I didn’t have a set plan. I had given art therapy workshops and I was looking for a way to integrate those concepts and energies into a workbook which people would work on by themselves and without me at their side!
When I heard about the popularity of adult coloring books and Zen doodling, a light-bulb went on in my head! Aha!
I needed to create pages for coloring, doodling and writing and incorporate them into the lessons! It became a toss up between creating them digitally or all by hand and scanning in the images into the book.
I decided to create everything digitally in Microsoft Word. I know this software inside out and can make it sing and dance for me! All the coloring pages were created in Word, giving me great flexibility to change, add or delete as I saw fit!
As I had mentioned in a previous post, you can rent this software monthly instead of purchasing it (see What Tools Did I Use To Create the Workbook for Healing Your Life on a Deep Heart Level? ) For free tutorials on how to use the different tools and for advanced lessons too, go to the Microsoft Word website and do a search for “free tutorials” to find a bunch of awesome lessons!
So, you can see from my experience, sometimes not having a writing plan is the best thing!
As you gather advice and information, when you sit down to write, you’re going to discover what works best for you! Please don’t be deterred by any critics!
“Only you know what works best for you! This is your path, this is your journey! You make the rules!” – Tamara Kulish
Have you discovered any unorthodox writing methods which word well for you?
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