As I get ready to teach this week’s From Ideas to Income tele-class, “I don’t know how to start,” I’m now considering the question – are writing structures our friend or our foe?
The answer? Quite simply, both!
On a call with a client this week, we came up with a simple test for when to use or stay away from a writing structure (such as a Top 10 list), and here it is:
If you’re bubbling over with ideas, then step away from the structure. Get your ideas out of your head and down on paper – with a pen or a keyboard, in words or pictures, into a voice recorder or to a “scribe” or ghostwriter – however feels best for you in that moment.
In this phase of the creative flow, structure is not your friend. It can stunt your creativity and force you into a box before you’ve gotten all of your ideas out.
However, when you’re facing those piles of ideas and it’s time to shape them, OR if you’re facing a blank page, writers block, procrastination, or a deadline, embrace the structure.
At this point you can rely on structure to call ideas out of you, to fill in any holes, to keep you motivated and to give you a template to work with, so that you can get it done!
Gail Sussman Miller says
This is a great follow-up to our coaching session this week in which you helped me to get from the gushing of ideas stage to a typed article. You helped me to realize, as you state in this post, that I cannot stunt the creative flow stage. When I try to go to the computer too soon, I tend to try to go for a final layout, final language.
I’ve been given permission by you, and now by myself, to realize there might be 1 or 2 in between steps before I can get to the typing stage. And I now realize that my FLOOD of ideas don’t all need to make it into each artcle! I can save some goodies for a sequel and also trust they will come back if they are really good or “called” for by the world.
Thanks for your wisdom and help on WHEN to use structure. For a perfectionist and creative soul I feel relief and these two parts of me can now co-exist so much more peacefully.