Pinterest and formulas

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I look at Pinterest when I’m too tired to function, and the site is always eager to suggest infographics and articles about how I should be writing; everything from tips to make scenes more emotional to character questionnaires.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being told that I have to follow a formula.

Ages ago, I didn’t want to go to college, but everyone told me I had to if I wanted to have a future. Two years in, I was so badly burnt out that I cried every morning when I got out of bed. Then one day it hit me: I didn’t have to be there.

I dropped out, got a full time job, and rented my own apartment. Complete strangers had a meltdown over my actions. Didn’t I care about my fuuuuture????!!!

Meh. I was happier. I met my husband during that time period.

And yeah, so life did get crappy when the job market crashed. Having a college degree wouldn’t have saved me from that, however, and experience isn’t a bad thing. I didn’t cease to exist, and I learned how to really appreciate life. I like who I am now, scars and everything.

Unfortunately, formulas seem to make a lot of people happy. You know, guaranteed results in three easy steps! If you follow the formulas perfectly enough, you’ll be rich and famous. And my knee-jerk reaction is: you can’t tell me what to do! I make my own paths.

When I create characters, I don’t fill out worksheets. I give them names, ask them, ‘what makes you tick?” then listen — that’s the important part. It’s chaotic and unpredictable. It doesn’t follow any rules. It’s fun.

I can’t guarantee results. Heck, other than really enjoying myself as a writer, I haven’t seen any myself! But you know what I’ve learned? It’s the journey that counts.

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