Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Five P's

Long ago when I worked in Marketing you had to know all about the four P's - product, place, people and price (I think). Turn's out writing goes one better - there aren't just four P's there are five.

Panic, procrastination, process, planning and plotting

‘Have you got a plan’ one of CP’s asked me sternly yesterday? (I assume she was being stern, it was on Twitter so conveyed in 140 typewritten characters. It felt stern though). ‘You need a concrete plan of what you are going to do before you start.’

She’s right. That is the sensible way to approach things. And I have a got a plan, sort of. I have summarised, into one terrible, stream of consciousness paragraph, the current plot of Summer Fling. Then I have added my R&R email, highlighting in red all the changes I need to make.

There is a LOT of red.

Then I have done a second, terrible, stream of consciousness summary paragraph of the plot incorporating the changes. Because there were things they liked so I don’t need to change everything, just the beginning, middle and end.


And on Monday I started to revise. They want a change to the event at the end of the first chapter. Technically I could just change that bit but then I’m not sure where that chapter leads, rather a problem for any chapter but especially a first chapter. So a new starting place was needed. My plan (see, I told you I had one, only not concrete, more shifting sands) was to make the plot changes first and then edit properly so I wasn’t too constrained by style.
Only it just wasn’t flowing.

Last night 8yo was out at a friend’s house so I had four hours to write. Four Hours. I swept the floor, hung out laundry, read a craft book, phoned my mother, had a bath, ran 8yo’s bath. Do you know what I didn’t do? That’s right. Write. I couldn’t face it. I didn’t like the new beginning, it felt wrong. Maybe, I thought, I should look at the end of that R&R email when they say if I prefer I could send in a new project. A new, shiny project. That would be fun.
No said my CP. Sternly.

And of course I felt guilty, for not writing, for not seizing this chance.

Thing is I always do this with any big project, work or writing. Every time. I sweat the small things first, play around on social media, answer the unimportant emails, tidy files, make cups of tea, bake cakes. Blog.

And panic. Feel guilty I’m not getting on with it. Worry. Start and stop.
Then a break through. A what if? How about it starts like this? Why don’t you try this?
This is obviously my painful creative process.

I procrastinate a lot, I panic about procrastinating but carry on, only feeling guilty and miserable while I do it. Only, the whole time my brain is slowly, painfully processing the project. I find myself planning, plotting. Slowly, very slowly, I get a glimmer of hope.
And then I get to work.
This is my process. It’s a rubbish one but there it is. I should recognise the signs by now. Which means, in theory, I should be able to embrace the procrastination and stop the panic, make peace the fifth P.

Never going to happen!

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