We had four bushes on the side of our garage that were diseased last year but coming back alright this year. I didn’t like the look of them and even though I could have cared for them and brought them back to health, they just didn’t suit my taste.
We made the decision to rip the bushes out and found that they were more scraggly and worse-for-wear than we thought. Not to mention, one had an entire two-and-half-foot tall maple sapling growing in the middle of it with roots so thick we had to bring the shears out. (I actually felt bad about cutting it down, but transplanting it would have been difficult since we had nowhere to relocate it for now. Also, it was attached to the shrub…which didn’t help its case.)
Initially, I wanted to wait to do the “hard” yard work until later in the year because I felt like it was more important to ease into my gardening in this new house. But, when we were at the garden center, my partner brought up the bushes. He offered to help dig them out, and suddenly the task didn’t seem as monumental.
Sure, I wanted to wait to do the bushes until later, but help is offered now and the weather is cooperating. Might as well right? Sure, I didn’t have a plan at the moment for my side garden, but I can still start by tearing out the bushes and replacing them with my base plants to get something started this year. Perennials can be moved.
Planting felt more exciting acting within the moment than it did planning out my garden all winter. All because my plans got changed by a sudden offer of help. My creativity was renewed.
How does this relate to my writing?
Rewriting a book is ALL ABOUT changing your mind. The amount of compassion you have to have for your previous writer-self that developed the story is almost insurmountable. I’ve changed my mind about the character motivations, the plot, the backstory, and the underlying themes. Almost everything has changed. But, I’m learning that it’s making things better.
Sometimes…I change it back. But, that’s okay too.
You may think “well shouldn’t the first draft be close enough if you did the prewriting well enough?”
I think that no matter how much planning you do for a book, or a painting, or a song, or a garden, anything creatively minded, it’s going to need something different as you develop it. To try to create it exactly to the plan, or worse, to plan it out so strictly that you leave no room for it to change, means that you’ve taken out the creativity.
So yes, stick LOOSELY to your outline/plan, but don’t treat it like everything will fall apart if you step a toe out of line. It’s more like…taking a map along so you know where you are or where you’re trying to get to. You can still wander around, but in the end, you know where you want to go and where you should probably end up in the end. (The first draft is honestly MAKING a map; second draft is seeing if the map is the most efficient way…)
To be creative, I think you need to have room for change in the process.