Thursday, February 9, 2012

This Blog, Plotting and Muses

I have another blog I started about a year ago:   On it I share stories about my books:  what inspired me, cool things I've learned in my research, thoughts of interest to my readers. I decided I needed another blog to share some of my writing journey with other writers and with friends. So here it is.
I titled it "Into the Mist" because that's how I always explain how I write. Little plotting or planning, just an idea and a blank screen and I start writing. Over the years I've attended at least a dozen workshops on plotting and outlining but it never works for me. I sit down with the plotting template or grid or whatever tool the presenter utilizes and then my brain freezes. Nothing comes to me; my mind is blank. My muse runs and hides.
I think that's because my muse is the little girl I used to be. The little girl who used to tell herself stories for hours, riding her bike outdoors on the sidewalk or skateboarding in the basement. Around and around in circles, lost in imaginary adventures. That little girl was not a plotter. That would mean planning and organizing and she didn't do that. She was spontaneous, messy and emotional, and kind of a problem child.
Over the years, she learned to be more organized, to plan and follow schedules and rules. It was the way females were supposed to be. And when she had children, she had no choice. As a working mother, planning and organizing were essential to survival.
But when that woman—me—sits down to write, she has to go back to being that little girl. Because that little girl is the creative one, the one who can imagine she is a cat, or a boy or black panther. She can slip into the magical realm of fantasy and the real world around her vanishes.
The writing trance, I call it. When things are going really well, I'm definitely in another place, far beyond the stresses and problems of everyday life. That joyous escape has led to ten published books, seven finished manuscripts and another dozen partially-written story ideas. Now that e-publishing has come along, some of those unpublished works are finally going to be available to readers. But that's a story for another post, coming soon. 


  1. Hi Mary,

    I love this first post to your new blog. I want to be that little girl again. The one who could make things up on a whim and not worry about structure and plot. I strive to be her every time I sit down to write. :) Thank you for sharing this. It really brought me back to where I need to be.

  2. I love the writing trance. The hardest thing for me is to take a writing class where I'm forced to write to a prompt. Sounds like we have a lot in common.