Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Crockpot Oatmeal and Writing

I have been meaning to do this for some time and it wasn't until last night that I finally took the plunge and did it. Others had talked about how great it was to cook your oatmeal in the the crock pot. Before you go to bed in the evening, you prep that crock pot and wake to something warm and delicious. I have to say, I am now hooked. It only took one time, but this is indeed the way to go. 

What made it so great? Obviously the flavor wasn't different. In the end, oatmeal is oatmeal. What made it though was the fact that, after a few minutes in the evening, taking the time to just do that prep work, made the morning go by so much faster. I didn't have to prep breakfast. I didn't grab and "eat and go" meal for the ease. I didn't just get "something to get by." I had a great breakfast.

So what does this have to do with writing? You know that I am a big fan of plotting. I know there are a lot of you out there that complain over and over again that plotting ruins your creativity, it ruins your voice. In all honesty, I think these are nothing more than excuses. You don't want to change what you are doing. I get it! Change is tough. But the benefits so out weight the negatives.

One of my clients just signed her first contract. Up until now, we have been lingering over stories. We get to the project when we get to it. She is also someone who was always writing from that pantster approach. She just let the story evolve. But now that approach might have to go out the door. With the deadlines of new projects on the horizon, waiting to see what will happen next in her story isn't going to work. 

During this transition from pantster to plotter, we talked about her upcoming projects. As we "plotted the story" she saw how meeting that deadline wasn't going to be an issue. Please understand that by plotting, we did nothing more than identify a premise, create a beginning middle and end, and really work out what the conflict in the story would be. That was it. We weren't outlining chapter by chapter. We weren't creating story boards. We just needed a vision of where to go with the story.

The other benefit to prepping the story in advance, is the time it saves having to go back and edit again. Those writers who did the NaNoWriMo are probably feeling that as they are sorting through a huge mess of a story. Seeing that project before they started writing would have saved them a lot of time.

Look, I can't tell people what to do. Like the oatmeal, people have told me the great benefits but I always complained that "I didn't have the time in the evening" or "But what if I wanted something else in the morning." But I tried it. I took the plunge. And it worked.

Now, will I have oatmeal every day? Probably not. Will there be days when I wake up and think I want an Egg McMuffin instead? Probably. But that doesn't mean the benefits of that oatmeal are not there. 

I dare you non-plotters. Try it. You might like it.


  1. I tried to be a pantser. I really did...which is why it took me 3 years to finish my first story. It never really came together until I plotted it out. Last weekend, I covered an entire section of my wall with a plotting board. Instead of shutting down my creativity, the ideas began flowing and I discovered a hidden set of conflicts for my characters. I love plotting! Oatmeal, not so much.