I sit at the conference luncheon, enjoying Roland Smith’s tales of nature and preservation of species.  I always love hearing where authors get their ideas. This time last year,  it was Gary Paulsen who inspired me.  And this time, I can hear the familiar voice in the back of my mind. It is no longer discouraged that I didn’t have similar experiences. Theirs is not my story to tell. I have my own ideas.  No, the voice is not discouraged,  but overwhelmed. How do I get my thoughts together enough to turn it into something that actually makes sense?

Then Roland (like how I call him Roland, like we’re BFF’s?), he shows us pictures of his process.  Says that he spends twice as much time researching as he does writing.  Describes how he plans his novels through a storyboard of 3×5 cards “scene by scene by scene, almost like they’re movies.”  And then, it’s like he is speaking directly to me at this point when he recommends this process (at least for my first few novels), because keeping all those details straight is “a real daunting process.”

So tonight, almost two months later, I have begun my own.  Storyboard.  And it’s working.  I’m seeing connections that I hadn’t known were there, between characters and plot lines, between the beginning and the end.  And though I don’t yet have all the details and all the scenes planned out (and don’t know yet if I will), I feel like this writing thing is less daunting than it was before.  And less daunting has – at least for today – quieted the voice in my head and replaced it with an energy and excitement for the writer’s work ahead.


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