In my household, we buy bananas on a weekly basis. They sit in a hanging basket above my kitchen sink, all yellow and perfect. No refrigeration needed, full of vitamins and potassium and blah-blah. And yet I cannot — will not — eat them. As a child, my mother sliced bananas on my Cheerios and I gagged, tossing the mushy nuggets over my little shoulders onto the floor. While I love banana bread and will eat banana cream pie, I avoid eating actual bananas like the plague.
I also avoid math. Unless it’s crunching numbers to get paid, I don’t care for algorithms, formulas, long division, or multiplication. As far as I’m concerned, X and Y are chromosomes — not something I am eager to figure out as a math problem! Mind you, I know how to do math. Like bananas, math is a choice and I choose to avoid it.
So what do bananas and math have to do with writing? Whether I have a pen in my hand, or my fingers on the keyboard, there are various aspects of the writing process I avoid. We all have them, and each person is unique in what they will do and not do for the written word.
At least once a month, the question goes out into the Twitterverse chat arenas, asking whether writers outline their stories or fly by the seat of their pants. Look at mine — see the patches on the back? I avoid outlining because it reminds me of school and being forced to think logically about the creative process. I wanted to fly off the cliff, my arms outstretched, and dive right into my stories. To please the teachers, I did my outlines, but not without cussing under my breath and swearing I’d never do one again as long as I live. You may love outlines and need them in your creative process, thereby avoiding the loss of good fabric at the back of your own pants. It’s your deal, right?
Another thing I avoid is editing after the story is written. I edit as I write. This way I don’t have to go back at The End and slog over shizzle and other stuff. Granted, I still have to edit and proofread, but the job is that much less messy if I take the time while I write. I’ve tried after-writing edits and let me tell you, they were about as exciting as math! In any case, do whatever works best for you — as long as you get the manuscript edited.
I also avoid storyboards and drawing pictures for my stories. There are a few writers I know of who paint the portraits of their characters. I am in awe of their ability to flesh-out the players in their worlds. Even though drawing is my second love, I draw the line (believe or not, no pun intended) at patience. See, I don’t have any. I just want to write, hence the reason I don’t sit down with my Berol pencils and a drawing pad beforehand. Might as well eat a banana!
These are just a few of the things I avoid. I’m sure I could come up with more, but the point is we all have our own unique way of writing. What works for one author, does not work for another. That’s okay… it makes our stories stand on their own legs, able to carry our dreams, hopes, and desires away and into the reader’s mind. So even if you don’t like bananas, math, textured walls, or bottled water, you still need to respect that the reader might.
Besides, you can always get potassium from orange juice.