On the surface of the “how to write” debate, there seem to be two kinds of writers: the planners who advocate outlining, and the pantsers who advocate writing full steam ahead and not looking back until the first draft is done, however bad it is.
This division is a fallacy: both of these writers are actually doing the same thing – trying to control their creativity – and then they wonder why they have so much trouble with writer’s block, and later on, such a hard time editing.
That’s why I’m an organic writer who edits as she goes: I don’t force myself to write in a linear fashion, so I don’t get writer’s block and lose momentum; I don’t lose the sudden insights and inspiration that improve prior work; and when the last plot hole closes, my first draft is so much closer to completion that it’s not too hard for me to go back and edit the last things that need fixing.
This doesn’t mean that writing my way is “easier” or “faster,” but that it makes the process much more relaxed and enjoyable, and that it comfortably fits into the rest of my life. (I began writing Irish Firebrands when I was in the middle of graduate school.)
All writing is therapeutic, and I’m in favor of anything that gets people to do it. So, whether your millstone is powered by wind or water, or it’s a rotary quern or a metate, or just a mortar and pestle, you shouldn’t feel as if it’s been hanged round your neck, to drown you in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:6).
The myth of the tormented artist needs to be laid to rest.
If writing isn’t fun, then we’re not doing it right.