Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Necessity of Cages

I haven't been blogging much, which is because I've been telling myself that I'm ever-so-busy. Partly true. Mostly, I've been cycling between discontentment and a vicious kind of unrelenting hope that refuses to die. The discontentment is largely based on inability to speed along events that said unrelenting hope won't allow me to abandon.

Dreams are devils, I think. If we let them, they'll master us. Aspirations run amuck if left on their own. They blind us, they steal away our time, and ultimately they take their toll on our lives and relationships.

We don't talk about this, because we're worried about being discouraging. Well, honestly, if you're so easily discouraged then you've likely never had a true aspiration. Devil-dreams don't let you go—never without a fight.

Thus, the necessity of cages. The more I write, the more I come to value outlines. They are a place to capture all those ideas that would run around and break things while I was doing paying work.

I used to believe an outline would take away the joy of discovery. It doesn't. What it takes away is the amount of clean-up I have to do in revision and the time I spend staring into space trying to answer "and then what?" during the first draft.

It's part of the wonder of ideas: Even when you put them in a cage, they can still find a way to escape. They're not such fragile things that a little structure is going to destroy them. If anything, it only makes them stronger.

3 comments:

relliott4 said...

"Mostly, I've been cycling between discontentment and a vicious kind of unrelenting hope that refuses to die. The discontentment is largely based on inability to speed along events that said unrelenting hope won't allow me to abandon.
"

This is a perfect description of me lately. So perfect. I can barely stand to live with me. Which reminds me...I should go make cookies for my husband. Again. ;)

Chandra Rooney said...

Sugar cookies fix EVERYTHING!

Leigh said...

I think a lot of writers will recognize themselves in this post, Chandra. A perfect encapsulation of the roller coaster we live on.

I am a huge proponent of outlines but oddly enough, the book I am writing now has only the barest minimum of one - and it's a daily struggle. Massive revisions ahead.

Keep the faith, girl~