Exuberant Imperfection vs Type-A Perfectionist

Organic Story Development

A part of the process to write 50,000 words in 30 days is about exploring possibilities, including (but not limited to) allowing stories to develop organically.

What do I mean when I talk about ‘organic development? Writing with little to no interruptions from your Inner Editor, Inner Naysayer or Google: the process is 100% creative writing in its truest and simplest form. You listen to the story in your head and then you write.

Prior to starting this insane challenge, I had a few days to pull together a mini-plan and do some basic research into what I thought was going to be the heart of my story’s plot. Almost four days in and my narrative is already very different to what I had planned.

Usually, I would have stopped writing by now, however, I signed an agreement (the “Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding”) to follow the commandment of Exuberant Imperfection!

Exuberant Imperfection vs Type-A Personality Perfectionist

Imagine that for a Type-A Perfectionist, the theory of writing a novel might look like this:

your_plan-reality-plan A

Diagram 1: your plan

You’re the writer, pedalling along the smooth tarmac of a well-planned narrative. After 30 days, you’ll reach the finish line and brandish your ‘I WROTE 50K WORDS’ flag victoriously!

You expect no snags, bumps, sharp turns, U-turns, punctures or breakdowns of any sort for (a) your story (b) your characters (c) yourself writing in the real world.

However, reality is never smooth sailing. Instead, replace diagram 1 with the image below:

your_plan-reality-plan B

Diagram 2: reality

It starts off smoothly. A few days in it’s all an uphill struggle until wham – you’re swerving to avoid potholes, battling freakish storms and climbing Kilimanjaro with nothing but a spare box of spearmint dental floss!

Meanwhile, your characters are having temper tantrums, your spouse/kids/cats are sulking in a corner somewhere and you’ve managed to run out of all forms of caffeine, smack in the middle the most difficult paragraph in your novel!

You get to finish line after 30 days of blood, sweat, tears and mild RSI, wrapping your victory flag around like a protective blanket, while you fall sobbing to your knees and praising the gods you made it.

 Where does that leave me?

I’m still sticking with the agreement and EXUBERANT IMPERFECTION has become my new mantra.

I still fight urges to fact check or Google something, this is a learning process after all. But I like where my imagination is taking me, so for now, I’m just along for the ride.