Monday, November 29, 2010

You don't have to be prepared if you can improvise.

Aw, jeez.  I am less than 2000 words from the 50k mark on my nano project.  I had planned to spend my lunch time pounding the last bit out so that I can be done, but dang it, I saved the file to the wrong place.  At least, I hope to God I saved it!  It sure isn't on the flash drive I brought to work today.

I know, I could just open a new file and combine them later, but I get such satisfaction from seeing the increase in that little word count at the bottom of my document.   So plan B it is.   I will just have to see what I can do during lunch time, add them together when I get home, and then make a pot of coffee if I need to stay up late and finish up. 

I have been a girl scout leader for the past 6 years, and I am kind of an organizational mess (stay with me here, this paragraph does really have something to do with the previous one).    I no longer handle cookie sales for the troop, because it always turns into a major disaster, and noone ever gets the stupid prizes that they HAVE to have, so the girls can fill their Stupid Prize Drawers and not open them until their next fundraising opportunity.  We do alot of fun stuff, and although the girls are 13 now and not so much interested in all of the seat of my pants craft projects I come up, they still like to show up and hang out and go places.  We went caving a couple of weeks ago, and we are going to the art museum in a couple of weeks to look at wedding dresses.

We try to go camping at least once a year, and these are the days when my leadership really shines through, because I never remember to bring everything I'm supposed to have. One year we didn't even have the reservations we thought we had, so we mde friends with another troop and shared their cabin for the weekend.  Early on, I developed my own motto:

 "We are Girl Scouts, not Boy Scouts.  We don't have to be prepared because we can improvise!"

 I live by this motto, not only as a girl scout, but as a mom, a wife (you really don't want examples for that one), and a scientist.  I am the MacGyver of womanhood.  Give me a can of shaving cream, an ice cream scoop and a shoelace and I will make you a car.  Okay, maybe not.

The point is, if things don't go the way I originally hoped, I can rearrange my plans and my expectations.  The book I started to write 29 days ago is NOT the book I am going to end up with. If my heroine's dead husband suddenly becomes her comatose brother,  I can introduce him to a hot nurse who might just manage to wake him up.   Who needs a stinkin' outline?  I'm a girl scout, dammit! 

What about you?  Do you stick to the script, or do you improvise? 


  1. In a time crunch like NaNo I have no improv skillz whatsoever. You, my dear, are a goddess.

  2. Yeah! I'm glad to hear you are so close to reaching 50,000 words.

    I do not like to improvise. I much prefer to have a plan and then be able to execute it flawlessly. Much less stressful. However, real life is far from flawless and so I often have to improvise. I just don't especially like to. Maybe that's why I was a Cub Scout leader. That 'be prepared' attitude appealed to me. (The fact that no other parent volunteered had something to do with it, too)

    The funny thing is that improvisation is what I live by when it comes to writing. For someone who loves to plan and make to-do lists for every other aspect of my life, I just can't manage it when it comes to writing. I can't put together a plot outline to save my life. Nothing scares away the muse faster then trying to put together a plot before I start to write.

  3. improv all the way baby! even when i plot a 20 page outline with my CP what do i do? I start to improv and ignore the outline(my cp would kill me if she found out)

  4. Love this! I'm an improviser too, both in fiction and in life. It's a great skill to have!

  5. I love that motto! I am an improviser all the way. Plans are okay, but only if they are extremely pliable. :)

  6. Tina: I am WAY better at improvising under pressure. Give me an empty house and three months, and I would write nothing. Nothing.

    Mary: Thanks! And thanks for not laughing at my almost love scene.

    JSJ: I'm tellin'.

    Summer: Maybe we could start a club. Or a Life Skills Improvisation Olympics. Just don't ask me to act or give a speech.

    Linda: I think there is some old proverb that goes something like: Man Plans, God Laughs. I try to remember that.