Slumber calls me several times a day, tempting me to settle on the couch, on the bed or anywhere I can close my eyes and rest. I’m stuck in this repetitious cycle and have been for the last few weeks. As much it takes me away from my writing, I cannot complain. The cause for my constant desire for sleep is my new prescription. A prescription that has finally given me freedom from pain, which could be temporary, but regardless, it has brought me normalcy, which I craved for more than a year. I can speak, eat and move around without cringing from pain. Pain caused by Trigeminal Neuralgia. The shocks that used to frequently torture me slowly dissipated. Now I’m challenged by this medication’s side effects. I battle with drowsiness and grogginess throughout the day, while I force myself to write and attain my goal of writing my second novel in 100 days. 100 days is fast approaching and the pages appear blank in front of me. Instead the sheets on my bed call me.
I haven’t been able to jot down my thoughts in weeks. I wanted to. I was itching to, but couldn’t. I didn’t fail to, I just couldn’t. I wasn’t well enough and I couldn’t function properly. But let’s skip the sob story and go straight to the good news—I feel better now! So I’m back to writing. I know I’m waaaay behind with my second novel and my goal of completing my first draft in 100 days, but I’m optimistic about catching up or at least trying to.
I made a deal with my creative side a long time ago. The deal was, if it decides to dictate ideas, like plots and dialogues and I am unable to write them down, that I can simply press “pause” and then go back to them when I am able to. This way I don’t entertain the thoughts and I don’t lose any of them.
I am about to press “play”. I hope it still works.
It’s really late. I haven’t written much today. Been busy doing chores and catching up with sleep.
I wrote a little in the afternoon. I wasn’t satisfied with the results. It felt like I was just writing to write with no real direction. So I went back and looked through my old files and came across an incomplete outline I wrote a year ago. It only covered chapters 1 through 8, but it was enough to get me back on track with my story.
I’ve mentioned before that it took me a while to finish my first book because I was distracted and I didn’t set a deadline. But now I wonder, could it also be because I didn’t have an outline?
An outline never crossed my mind when I wrote my first novel. I simply typed as ideas flowed. I knew how I wanted the story to begin, the conflict and the resolution, but that was all I had. The rest of the story created itself as I wrote. It was exciting that way. I surprised myself. But now that I’m writing my second book and have a set deadline, it feels appropriate to have an outline. A guide. A map. Something to keep me focused and organized.
I’m beginning to think outlines and deadlines have to go together. But does having no deadline necessarily mean you don’t need an outline? I guess it all depends.
I think I will spend the rest of the night completing my incomplete outline. I hope following one will not make it less exciting to write. I hope to still surprise myself in the process.
What about you? Do you believe in outlines?