From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chaos Writers vs. Structure Writers: Which are you?

I wanted to tell you guys about a conversation I had with my roommate last night. And let me just say, I love being able to have these kind of literary analytical discussions with my friends. Anyway, since both of us are in the recent graduate trying to decide what to do with life phase, we've been talking a lot about what options we have and which ones are best and that kind of thing a lot, especially lately. We were both English majors and both have novels in the works, and a lot of our conversation revolves around how to make our lives conducive to writing careers, among other things.

This is what we discovered last night. For her, when life is structured and relatively calm, the writing suffers. She feels dry. When life is exciting and a bit chaotic, it fuels her creatively and the writing somehow happens on top of everything. She even said that writing is her way of making sense of, and even putting structure on, all the chaos.

This is totally foreign to me. I crave stability and structure. Heavens I need stability. And actually, this is a relatively new realization for me. But really, when I can plan (back to planning. Of course) for writing time, marketing time, all that, and when I don't have a million little worries and stresses and undecideds crowding my mind, and can just WRITE, things work out so much more easily for me. I love being able to start from a solid, stable, structural base, and then building and adding more things from there, perhaps even some adventure.

Of course, the key here is to make the writing happen whether or not life is boring or chaotic. But knowing which end of the spectrum you fall on may help you make some life decisions. It can maybe tell you why the writing hasn't been going well for a while and what you could do about it. I know thinking of things this way has helped me understand that for me personally its best to find me a stable, structured place, work from there, and not necessarily feel bad or lame for not doing something totally crazy. Maybe later, when my feet are planted on solid ground. But solid ground first, at least for me.

What do you think? Is this a fairly accurate dichotomy, and can it help? Which type are you, chaos or structure, and why do you think that is?



  1. Totally structure! I have to have a routine otherwise I get distracted really easily. Making a plan or schedule, totes helps me be productive. Though when things get hectic, I just have to remember I can't wait for time to happen, I have to make it happen. (But I still prefer routine/structure!)

  2. Yup. Structure. I need to make an appointment everyday with myself to write or it may not get done. And sometimes like today, it's not going to happen. I had resumes to e-mail. Looking for something away from the hairdressing field.

  3. I LOVE the chaos. LOVE it.

    The only time I've ever written in order is when I co-wrote a project with a friend who always writes in order.

    NOW I'm co-writing with a girl who doesn't write in order. Our MS in a HUGE mess, which makes me smile. I have to hunt around for the scenes she added.

    It's fab.

  4. Hello Sarah,

    Just dropped by to say good luck on the A to Z Challenge. You are number 338 on my blog hopping through the Eights journey. You can check out my post about it @ JennsScribbles

    I would like to think I am a structured writer. However, every time I look at my MS I am reminded that I am not.

  5. Ah, you're lucky to have a writer for the roommate. Writers are sort of awesome. ;) I'm starting to realize that I need structure and routine. Or else everything falls apart and nothing gets done. I guess now that I've noticed that, I can start moving forward, right? Awesome post!

  6. I sort of need structure for my writing, because as interesting as a chaotic life could be, my writing becomes dryer than the Mojave desert when any part of that chaos bleeds into my writing life.

    I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but to put it another way, when the real world intrudes on my little fictional world, absolutely nothing gets done.


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