I have to be honest: I’ve been a bit (okay, more than just a bit) paralysed this last week. I finished this round of edits for Chorus, and then… nothing. Not nothing-nothing – I went to work, did some stuff around the house, caught up with friends, and so on – but I didn’t do any planning. None. For a whole week, or more than a week, I don’t know, I wasn’t keeping track.
I couldn’t face it. My mind was frozen somewhere between future manic workaholism – write the next book and the next book and next book and do it now – and current clamouring need to plan the series. I needed to plan it, I even had a plan for how to plan it… and I just couldn’t face it. I didn’t know where to start, I didn’t know how to start.
My stacks of index cards had been sitting on the table, staring at me accusingly from behind their plastic wrapping. I hadn’t even opened them.
So finally I said: stuff it, I refuse to let this paralyse me any longer. What was I so afraid of? That I’d mess up writing a card? I have hundreds of the things. That I’d write a few dozen before finding that this method of planning doesn’t work for me? I can just move on to the next method. That I wouldn’t know what to write or how to write it? It’s just like any other writing: slow and torturous for the most part, with flashes of inspiration at the most inconvenient times possible.
Of course, life being what it is, my sudden determination to get on and plan this Thing was interrupted by the fact that I had to go to work. I ripped open the wrapping on one of the packs of index cards, grabbed a few, and tucked them into my bag with my notebook. Maybe I could get something done after I got there.
And I did! I found a park, checked the time, and still had ten minutes before I had to head inside. So I pulled out my notebook…
… retrieved a pen and an index card…
… and, right then and there, wrote my first index card.
I only wrote on half the card because I’m planning to cut them in half, on account of a) I don’t need all that space and b) I’d rather have 400 cards than 200. Twenty one books is an overwhelming thought sometimes, and it’s going to take a lot of cards to plan the series.
Fear conquered. That’s not to say that I’ll have my first hundred cards written within the hour, but it’s certainly progress.