A few months ago we had some friends from out of state come for a visit. It was an amazing time and I have some great memories from it. One of my favorite memories is from when my sister and I went on a day-long trip with them. When we got off at our exit coming home, our friend who was driving informed us he wanted to try and find his way to our house without any help. Now, they’re from a flat, rather treeless part of the country and we live in rolling hills with trees all over the place. I’m sure it had to be confusing.
My sister and I sat in the back seat laughing until we were almost crying as we drove back and forth on the same roads for almost an hour and listened to our friends discussing “Is that the right road?” “No, we’ve never been here before!” and “I think that looks right…” as we drove past the same house for the third time in a row. It took three times longer to get home than it normally does.
And that’s kinda the same way with writing. When we don’t have a plot, directions to get us to our final destination, our writing begins to ramble and take side roads that really aren’t helpful in the long run. While it may be fun or enjoyable to add all sorts of crazy information to our stories, unless what we are writing actually adds to and builds our story, then we’re not being as productive as we could be.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like writing just to write, but I’ve found that when I’m actually working on a story I need a good guideline so I can know where the story is supposed to be heading. I don’t stick 100% to my plot, but I do always write a plot.
What about you? Do you think it’s important to have a plot when you write? Why or why not?
One thought on “Driving Without Directions”
I'm the kind of person who plans everything, so I pretty much have to do a plot and a detailed one at that. If I didn't do a plot I'd get stuck on chapter one and probably give up. I honestly don't know how the “pantsers” do what they do, but that's just me. 🙂