Is it a straight road to the end or are there detours? Happy accidents? Destinations you hadn't thought about before you started?
Oh my goodness, this happens to me so often. The clearest example right now is the camping memoir that I'm working on, a long piece that undergoes significant changes every time I respond to notes from my beta team. By the time I finish my work it will be totally different from what my audience has seen in previews here on Substack.
I have fifteen ideas in my draft folder right now, and every time I sit down to work on one of them to finally hit publish, they take on a life of their own, often looking very different from the original reason I wrote down the title in the first place.
I wish my high school students understood that this is just part of the process 😉
How often? Probably every time I write! Writing helps me untangle thoughts, ideas, and experiences, so I always have to work that out on the page before I realize where my point is *really* headed. Kind of backwards, but it's more effective for me. 😊
Like the others here, this is normality for me. Even though I'm a passionate plotter, my stories always, always take their own detours. Wouldn't be fun otherwise!
All the time, Ramona! This piece ended up turning personal, so I kind of leaned into it (a stretch for me!):
I love it when it happens. I wrote a little about this here:
Ditto every comment so far.
My latest piece was like this - I wrote a short reaction to a letter I received, but it wasn't quite "anything" yet. I put it away for awhile and when returned to it, I was surprised at where it took me. Instead of being about my snarky reaction to a negative doctor's note, it became more about the reasons I need this letter in the first place, fears and identity and safety for my son. My first little freewrite ended up completely rewritten as I dug into the real issue. This process is scary at first - Oh no, this is not working how I thought - but it's really fun and intriguing when I can I see it through... https://itslikethis.substack.com/p/36-identification-please
I always start with an idea and then suddenly it takes a turn. As I always use my intuition to write, this seems to be normal. But I can be surprised by the ways some writings change while just sitting with it and let my hands do the writing.
I think that's what writing is about. You have to relinquish control in some sense and let the writing decide what it wants to be, which is often different to what you start out with. There is definitely a part of the writing process which is unconscious. Things come out that you never would have thought of once you are in it. And in the end it's given away to the reader, and takes on a new life there.
I am a little late to the party here but these comments are great. I love how the community echoes what you said Ramona. I am the same. I sit down and then meander around. I admit to being a tad concerned about what happens if this DOESN'T occur. What if there are no twists and turns? I don't think I would know what to write.
I write non-fiction but have often wondered how amazing it must be for fiction writers. They sit down having little, maybe no, idea of what their character is going to do. That process would be both fascinating and frightening!
It's always so encouraging to see the comments that land in response to your questions Ramona. To know that others have similar experiences and "unfolding of stories" reaffirms that I'm not unique and I'm not alone. That's a heart and soul connection that results in the most lovely sense of always being "Perfectly on Time"... LOL! :-) Thank you!