Today’s guest post is from Amanda Linehan, a fiction writer, indie author, and INFP. I absolutely love Amanda’s take on writing without an outline, and I think you will too.
I remember the first time I ditched my outline.
I was working on my third novel, Dragon, and the second one that I would self-publish, and I was about two-thirds of the way through. I had a loose outline that I had prepared prior to starting, of course, and something about it just started to bug me.
I’ve launched three different books in the past couple years and I’ve definitely noticed a pattern. Every time I go into “launch mode” I tend to also go into “marketing frenzy,” which means I’m frantically researching, emailing, posting, and overthinking about my book of the moment. My main drug of choice to support the frenzy is the internet. Because no matter what question I might have, the online world seems to have the answers.
Well, this is true. Sometimes. But at other times—a lot of other times—my overthinking is only made worse by reading around on what I “should” be doing to market my book.
I was one of those kids that just never really fit in. It wasn’t any one thing that separated me from the herd, it was more like a collection of things. I wasn’t competitive and I didn’t like sports. The latest trends tended to escape me and I usually gave weird answers whenever anyone asked me a question. I also asked weird questions when it was the other way around. During elementary school and then junior high and finally high school, it was always the same. I had friends. People did like me. But there was always something off, something about me that just didn’t fit.
I tried a variety of different strategies to deal with this. I tried being a chameleon and copying what the other kids around me were doing. That didn’t work. I tried swinging all the way to the other end of the spectrum and being totally and extremely weird, and that didn’t work either. So, somewhere around late adolescence/early adulthood I resigned myself to the fact that I was an odd-shaped person in a regular kind of world and I would probably always feel out of place.
I was in the middle of writing a steamy sex scene toward the end of my novel and writing so fast my hand was cramping up. My two main characters were finally hooking up and the chemistry was sizzling. But then…I got stuck. I had to describe something that was, ahem, an intimate body part in a somewhat contorted position and I just didn’t have the words. I paused and started to think, but as I was thinking I could feel myself losing the magic of momentum. So, I pushed on as best I could, using horrible clumsy words that weren’t right at all, but knowing I needed to place priority on pinning down the emotions in the moment. I could come back later and fix everything else up.
Okay, this might sound weird, but I’ve never done a subscription box before. I know what they are, because I have friends who get them, and I’ve always thought they were interesting but…meh, not really for me. I’m not into makeup or toys or collectibles or anything that seems to go into these oh-so-popular subscription boxes.
And then I discovered The Wallflower Box.