Whilst I admit to a vivid imagination, I have never been what you would call artistic. I cannot draw for toffee, indeed games of pictionary are just a chance for everyone else to laugh at my feeble attempts to draw even the simplest thing. I cannot hold a tune or play an instrument; a short spell in the school choir saw me demoted to playing the triangle – which speaks for itself!
Obviously my talents lie elsewhere – yes, someone, somewhere decided that I didn’t need to draw, paint, sing or play instruments – instead, my skills would nurture a different need, a more practical and functional one. I know, it sounds boring already doesn’t it? But, remember the old saying – all that glitters is not gold!
So, what exactly is my area of expertise?
Yay, delightful rows and columns of dazzling formulae – surely an art form in itself! – with snazzy controls and tools, super cool graphics and functions – the wonders of glorious geekdom at it’s very best.
OK, well, that’s all very interesting – but how does that help me as a writer?
Ooo, am I glad you asked that question ….
I am a list person, so, when it comes to writing, I have a few special lists, or rather – templates! For characters, timelines, locations, plots, names etc. Therefore, whenever I get stumped by a story, I revert to type and delve back into my spreadsheets, looking for features I have listed to jump out and say “use me, use me!”. All too often I find something to kick-start my writing and away I go. It’s a bit like having a comfort blanket, always there, safe and soothing, but with an inevitable dig in the ribs to get back to writing. (I may spend a few hours tweaking my lists, cross referencing , creating links and generally geeking out, but hey, I get easily distracted!)
I realise that this kind of preparation doesn’t work for everyone, in fact when I write my first draft, it’s always just pure writing, I start off as a “pantser” and then become more organised when it comes to rewrites, editing and fine tuning. As I said at the outset, “each to his own”, well you can take a girl out of geeksville, but you can never take the geek out of the girl!!
How do you get back on track?