Your process is your process

In the dream, there were an awful lot of people milling about, in what started off as my home but turned into some sort of hotel. It took me a while to realize they were mostly writers. They were all making elaborate representations of the plot and structure of their novels–huge sheets of paper, colored pencils and detailed illustrations that were works of art of their own, each writer’s schematic different, but all of them–extensive. Complicated.

I thought of my own books, which I just sort of jump in and write, without building anything like this sort of scaffolding first, and I felt strange. A little disconnected.

“Wow,” I said to these unknown writers. “You’re all way more structure based than me.”

No one answered me. No one looked up from their work.

“Who are you all, anyway?” I tried instead. “Did you go to Clarion together? Writers of the Future?”

“No,” someone told me. “This is just a professional development day.” Turns out this particular group of writers had been getting together once a month, pretty much forever, to work on their stories. The rest of the dream devolved into a discussion about the great rates they got on the hotel, which was somewhere in Phoenix.

Pretty mild, as writing-related anxiety dreams go. And in retrospect, it seems worth remembering both that I had no desire to reach for the paper and colored pencils myself–and that no one suggested that I should.

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