Writing System

I am not a big believer in rigid systems that govern how you write or what you write. I am not sure that I am against systems that facilitate more writing, but the whole need for them to be prescriptive is problematic for me.

I feel like these kinds of artificial exo-skeletons for the writing process are for the lazy, who want to push towards a formulaic way of writing that is the antithesis of being creative.

Outlining for non-fiction articles that have to hit certain beats is something I have started doing, but there has to be a flexibility in the process or my head locks up and I can’t write anything. Given a brief that calls for certain points to be made, but which allows for the freedom needed to navigate between those key elements is required.

Fiction stretches different muscles, and I start on a really loose framework – sometimes set out by titles of chapters; sometimes laid out by the necessity to hit a certain number of chapters, and sometimes just a controlled free-fall through concepts I have strung together in a first chapter that the book will unpack into a longer narrative.

I write free verse when I write poetry, but that doesn’t mean there is no structure, as some kind of rhythm usually emerges as the piece develops. I can write to a predetermine formula if I am aiming for a classical poem, but in order to use that tool I have to have a job in mind that requires it.