Monday, March 21, 2011

Control Issues

I'm sorry this post is a little late today. This weekend--heck, the whole WEEK--has failed to follow any kind plan.

This was Spring Break at our house, and what was originally envisioned as a multi-state road trip, with numerous bookstore appearances, book signings, and a family visit to the Happiest Place on Earth, dwindled and degraded until it was one long, partial-family daytrip to Houston.

I would like to say I handled the disruption with flexibility and good humor, but truth be told I was rather sullen and grumpy, spending the bulk of my time preparing for a business trip and wishing something--ANYTHING--would go the way I had planned it.

The coup de grace came yesterday, when the washing machine died and resisted all of my desperate, ox-from-the-mire-pulling efforts to repair it before leaving on this above-mentioned, week-long business trip. And since I failed to fix the thing myself, I'll have to let someone else fix it. There is simply no way for me to do the repair myself.

And now, cruising at 32,000 feet, I have to wonder if I have developed some control issues.

If I have, I blame my writing habit.

When I write, I need to have a solid idea of what I'm going be writing. Sure, I allow my characters leeway within a scene to do what they want. After all, there are few things as fun and exciting as putting a handful of imaginary people into a situation and having them provide laugh-out-loud entertainment. But if they don't eventually show up at the destination I had mapped out in my exhaustive, multi-page outline, I have to scrap the scene, reset the starting variables, and try again.

Of course, the fact that I CAN start over, and boss these characters around, is one of the things I like most about writing. Which probably proves I have control issues.

Now if I could just figure out how to controll the rest of my life.

Or maybe I should learn to let go a little; let life happen, and give up a little of that control.



Renae W. Mackley said...

First, I want to thank you again for sending the book I won, Blackberry Crumble. I'm just getting started on it and am thrilled to be your winner!
Second, I like some control too--an outline or whatever--over the direction my story is taking. But you might want to read what I just learned from John Brown about following a formula too closely. Check out my latest post on
Great post, Don.