Guided Spontaneity

My dog Sophie and I really enjoy our morning walks. If it was up to her and I let her do what she wanted she would walk all over the neighborhood for who knows how long and enjoy every single minute of it. With no thought to the fact that she might get lost, or get too tired and thirsty to get home in time to satisfy those needs.

When the weather is bad or I’m not feeling good or I don’t have a lot of time I make sure we get back in plenty of time by deciding which route we take, how many blocks we go around, and how quickly we walk. This is not as pleasant for Sophie or for me but it still gives her a walk while also giving me the time I need to do things.

The best walks, though, are days when we have the time and the weather is gorgeous and we can split the difference between the other two types of walks. Sophie has loads of choice as to which side of the street she walks on, how fast she wants to walk, what direction she wants to take. I even occasionally let her lay in one of her favorite yards for several minutes as she looks around and observes everything in the surroundings.

I use gentle guidance commands and leash tugs to keep the walk from being too long or dangerous, but I mostly let her choose when to go, where to go, and how long to contemplate the universe from a fresh patch of green grass.

I think that’s the way I want to approach my life. Free will to make my choices and choose my path but I am in favor of having a little gentle guidance along the way keep me from going too far astray.


Okay, I may have jinxed myself with my last post. “The words are actually working,” I posted. And: “Wizard is not only going well, but it is still fun!”

Fun is relative, I guess. And I am still very excited and hopeful about the Wizard Within. I still believe it has great potential. But three chapters into Part II and the plotting is snarled.

I have lots of notes, lots of expectations, lots of ideas, and I know where it’s going. That, at least, is an advantage I haven’t always had in the past. My concern right now is WHICH scenes to pick, where to put them, and am I blindly missing something that is vital to getting to the resolution?

I have always been mostly a panster when I write. For those who don’t know, it means someone who goes with the flow instead of following a figured-out-in-advance, rigidly plotted outline. Yet I really like things organized in most of the rest of my life. Spreadsheets, To Do lists, Reminders set on my electronic calendar.

The Wizard Within is much more plotted and planned than my usual stories. I had fun creating elaborate back stories for the characters and deciding what rules this magical world should follow. That, I think is responsible for why writing the scenes went so well at first.

Part II, though, relies mostly on what I want to happen going forward, not revealing the world I created before I began writing. I now have to make the kinds of decisions that I did when creating the backstory. So that means rereading and reworking my notes and scene ideas, moving chapters around, coming up with new ideas and making sure old ideas still work.

In other words, writing Part II is a lot like starting a whole new book, which I hadn’t anticipated. I will get there, but I have to allow myself time to do more prep work and subconscious wool-gathering to get this right. I know I’ll get there. I will, I just need to trust in that.

In the meanwhile, here’s a link to an excerpt from Chapter 5 that I put on Birthing the Next Book:

“Why are you here, son? What brought you?”

Birthing the Next Book