What is Discovery Writing?
Discovery writing is basically the opposite of outlining, or planning. It is starting a story without a specific path for it to follow. I’ve also heard discovery writing referred to as “write by the seat of your pants” writing, which I would say fits to some degree.
Not all of the writing I do is discovery writing, but the best stuff all fits the category. Not just the best material, but the most fun as well. Which brings me to the number one reason why I love discovery writing.
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Discovery Writing is More Fun!
Let’s be honest, most people who write probably don’t make a living from it. Furthermore, most of those people will never make the kind of money they would need to be able to quit their day job. Which makes the aspect of ‘fun’ much more important.
When I write an outline or have a specific plan, even for one chapter, my writing feels more like a job. I ‘have to’ get from point A to point B, there’s no choice in the matter. That isn’t ever what I wanted out of writing. In fact, it’s the opposite. The most fun I’ve ever had at the keyboard was when I was learning the story ‘live’, as it was being written. The ups and downs, the unexpected twists in the plot, they hit much harder for me when I had no idea they were coming.
That isn’t to say that they’re better than the ups and downs, or the twists in the plot, that are in my pieces of ‘planned’ writing. It’s only to say that they’re more fun to me. That sounds a little selfish, but in the end, I believe that writers should be doing things that they love and that bring them joy. After that, if it ends up appealing to a wider audience, that’s just sugar on top. Any dollar I’ve ever made from writing I have viewed as a bonus to all of the fun I have gotten to have doing it.
Writing Shouldn’t Be Mechanical
Whenever I’m writing just to get to a certain place, my writing becomes very rigid. I feel it loses a lot of its fluidity and creativity. This is not the same for everybody, some authors would say exactly the opposite is true. For me though, there is nothing better than the keys tapping away while I’m meeting a brand new character that I didn’t expect to show up.
It probably sounds odd to some people to just start typing. Authors should have ideas, that’s what makes them unique. I would say that employing discovery writing doesn’t mean you have no ideas, it just means you’re allowing the story to shape the ideas rather than pre-establishing them.
Discovery writing is not for everybody, and that is perfect. There is no writing style that is for everybody, just like there is no story-line or character that will appeal to everybody. It is, however, the right style for me. The first and most important reason why is that it’s more fun.
Reason number two will be up shortly, join our newsletter down below to stay up to date with our posts. Until then, happy writing!