Thoughts for Friday – 28th February 2014


This week’s quote comes from E.L. Doctorow, a well-known American author of historical fiction.

I can really connect with the analogy that Doctorow makes here; writing, for me, is very much like driving at night in the fog – it’s both dark and bloody hard to see more than a few feet in front of you. Having limited vision of the road ahead means that one has to take more care and concentrate on where it is that they are going – the same can also be said for the process of writing.

Sometimes I will start a piece and only have a vague idea of where it is that I want it to go, perhaps only a few feet or steps in front of me. At the time, I have no idea of the destination and only know that my imagination will somehow take me there through a myriad of twists and turns. I don’t know exactly what lies ahead and can only see a few yards in front of myself, but this is OK as I have faith that my subconscious will take me where I need to go and as long as I keep my concentration I can’t go too far wrong.

Writing a novel-length piece of work is both daunting and exceptionally hard work. I know that I for one do not have more than a vague idea of where I want a story to go. Some folks like to plan out every detail in advance and then write their chapters around that set plan, but for me that doesn’t work. I may have an end goal in mind but how I get there is left up to my subconscious and the way they subsequently control my fingers on the keyboard.

Some writers have a map of their story but I prefer to take a walk off the beaten track and leave myself open to surprise at what my mind may come up with. I can’t write with no idea as to what I want to write about but if I only see the next couple of steps in front of me then that is fine by me – I can make this journey a few steps at a time and enjoy the scenery along the way!



Filed under Thoughts for Friday

12 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 28th February 2014

  1. Great post and quote. It’s very true that writing can be daunting and you can be unsure where the story is going, even with a plan! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      For me, half the fun of writing is not knowing where my stories will end up. I usually start with the germ of an idea and then let my imagination takes me to where it wants to.

      I much prefer ‘free-styling’ when writing rather than writing to a specific plan as I’m much quicker at the former than I am at the latter!

  2. Wow, isn’t that the truth. I am like you when it comes to writing. I may know where I want to end up or what I want to get across, but I never follow a mapped out plan. Actually, I’m like that with pretty well everything in life. I have recently watched the movie, “My Life in Ruins” and I love it when the bus driver says to the tour guide, “I don’t think you plan life”.
    Have a great weekend Heather.
    Blessings =)

    • I don’t think that you can plan life either. As they say, ‘The best laid plans of mice and men….’

      Life, like writing, is a constant surprise. Time and life are fluid, constantly moving and undulating, washing us this way and that in its wake.

      I think it makes things more interesting to not know where you’re going – in writing and in life. Just take it a few steps at a time, that way you’ll have time to admire the view πŸ™‚

      Have a great weekend, too xxx

  3. Another apt Friday quote – I enjoy these so much. I think Doctorow’s words are true, and your remarks expressed my own feelings about writing. Good quote!

  4. Wonderful quote, and I especially like how you unpack it. I see writing in the same way – like it’s a journey, and perhaps I’m the vehicle, or I’m steering, but the road will take me places and show me things I never thought I’d come across. Lovely!

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed the chosen quote πŸ™‚

      I believe that writing is a journey and I like your analogy of being the vehicle on the road of creativity. I think that allowing the writing to take you where it will is one of the most fun aspects of being a writer and brings me a great deal of enjoyment when I do so.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts! πŸ™‚

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