Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's that time of year...

The temperature is dropping like a deflating balloon, and I want it to stop! But, it's not going to. Instead, I have to pull out my furry slippers. I'm okay with that. Really, I am. It's just that I don't want to hibernate all winter like I usually do. Don't get me wrong; my writing is more productive than ever during this season. But, I abhor the cold. How you people up in Alaska deal with it, I'll never know. So, in preparation for my winter writing wonderland, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I've prepared an outline for my next project. This is something I've never done before, but after writing the synopsis for my last project, I realized the two are really one in the same. Doing it ahead of time could save a lot of frustration later on. As most of you know, I'm more of a pantster type of writer because I am afraid an outline will stifle my creativity. But, even with an outline, I can go astray if I want to, right? The outline just gives me a path to follow. If you were around here on Wednesday, you read my post about writing a synopsis. I want to thank all those who shared additional resources on the topic. One stood out to me, though. Katie Ganshert has some great advice for writing a synopsis. These same tips might prove helpful in outlining as well. Go check it out. What about you? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone to improve your skills as a writer? Whether you are participating in NaNo, in the midst of another project, or just taking a break, I wish you well. Have a great weekend!

19 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm always trying to push myself out of my comfort zone to improve as a writer. Hopefully it's working.

And you're right about outlines. They're just a path. You can just add some side trips when necessary. :)

Trish said...

I hate the cold. I live in Texas. It's not supposed to be cold.

I have stepped out of my comfort zone once. For two weeks straight I wrote NaNo style with no idea where I was going, who I was writing about, or the ending. Scared the hell out of me.

But it worked. I was blocked at the time and it freed up my block.

Best of luck to you!

Diane said...

Not just the cold but lack of sun too..... aaargh! I have a feeling my time is going to be more productive then ever with my new schedule change.... either that or I will be sleeping more than ever.... either way, win----win. :O)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I enrolled in an online editing class. It was awesome. Out of my comfort zone, but way worth it. Camy Tang.

Katie's tips rock!
~ Wendy

Paul Greci said...

Good luck with your new project! Thanks for the link to Kate's blog. Great thoughts on stepping out of your comfort zone. I think they apply to life as well as writing. Thank you!

Nancy said...

Yes, even though you have an outline, you can still go off on a tangent if your characters lead you there. What fun mixed in with all of the being professional part, eh?

Faith said...

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone would definitely be writing a detailed outline, though I know I'm going to do it one of these days. I tend to outline after the first draft, if that makes sense... though, I might try the 'write your query first' approach. I've been hearing interesting things about that lately, and wondering if it might help me stay on track a little better!

Jessie Oliveros said...

I have been flirting with the idea of creating an outline for my next project. Yes, it's scary.

Stephanie McGee said...

I hate the cold, too! Boo winter! LOL

I've stepped out of my comfort zone before. And really didn't like it so I quickly retreated back to safety.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I hate the cold, too. It's supposed to be nice here this weekend, but the mornings are so chilly and we might actually get some snow next week.

Anyway, I think stepping out of your comfort zone is necessary for being the best writer you can be. Joining a critique group a few years back was stepping outside of my comfort zone--and so was going to the conference I just went to. But both have improved my writing and taken me further along in my journey. Totally worth it. Have a great weekend!

Patti said...

Outlines are really just guidelines. I'm thinking of doing the same thing, because even writing the query before I finished the book helped tremendously.

It's hard to step out of my pantser pants, but maybe I can slip on an outline skirt over top.

Laurel said...

Hope your outline experiment is a success!

My comfort zone stretch has been to draft and not endlessly tinker with earlier material. My editor muscles are twitching!

Heather Sunseri said...

I think it was writing the synopsis that changed my life as a writer. There are a lot of things in the writing life that are "just part of the process." I learned the hard way that writing the synopsis and answering some of the questions that go with writing the synopsis changed how I'll write future projects. Not doing that first made my current story MUCH MUCH harder to write. I don't regret any of it, b/c learning the hard way is "just part of the process" and I know I'll be much better in the future for it.

I took Cami Tang's synopsis class. You can also purchase her synopsis class outline on her website. It is well worth it. Even if you don't follow it exactly, she really made me take a hard look at Goals and motivations for my characters.

There is something awesome about writing by the seat of our pants, though, isn't there?

Have a great weekend. Wow, that was a long comment. I think I've been alone too much today.

lotusgirl said...

When I read at a conference, that was way out of my comfort zone. I'm not sure that it helped my writing though. I don't feel the need to do it again.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I try a lot of different way of plotting or writing--that's kind of out of my comfort zone. I wrote a synopsis BEFORE I finished writing my book. That was way different too.

My outlines are very brief. In fact, I wrote a post...I think it was last Monday or maybe Friday on outlines and how I never follow what's there. LOL But I like to have a back-up just in case I get stuck. :)

Susan Fields said...

Good luck with your outline! I'm a total plotter. I suppose I should try writing without one sometime, just to see what happens.

L. T. Host said...

Yeah, I still can't do it.

I will say that writing my second novel was stepping out of my comfort zone big-time. And the effect it had on my writing is that there is no subject I am not the right person to write about if I have a story to tell.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Usually if I have the first and last scene in mind I'm good to start writing the book. HOWEVER, on my current WIP I finally broke down and outlined the novel chapter by chapter to the end. I'm loving it. :)

#167 Dad said...

Good luck with your outline.
My latest project is a new genre(science fiction) and it ain't goin' so well. But I will finish the thing...