Each to his own!

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?

accountant_mousepad_i_love_spreadsheets

Spreadsheets!

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?

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