There is a lot of free advice out there for fiction writers on the Internet. Much of it is vague, subjective (to the point of not being clear who it’s intended for), or just plain bad.
Here’s one that instantly didn’t make sense to me:
“Don’t write your story until you’ve plotted it out and know what it is you’re going to write first.”
It’s entirely possible that someone, for example, who is new to writing may start a story without having a structured narrative in mind and find themselves unable to sort it out.
However, is the problem really not having a preconceived story figured-out beforehand? Or is the problem that you aren’t allowing yourself patience (and perhaps a little bit of outlining on the side)? Depending upon how experienced a writer you are, or how comfortable you are reaching into your imagination, perhaps it’s a question of giving yourself the time (and opportunity) for perspective, say, looking at your piece after a week’s break with a new set of eyes?
Writing fiction, for me, is an exploration. It’s a journey, regardless of what it’s about, even if I happen to know the beginning, middle, and end of the story. What makes it a journey is the discovery of your characters’ depth and how this inflects the arc of the story; it’s developing your idea into something more than two dimensional. Having something planned out does not always necessitate a successful venture. If I knew everything that was going to happen in advance, I’m not sure I would be quite as excited than if I felt there was an unknown variable or challenge to what I was working on. You’re writing a story, not raising a house.
I would wager that, particularly if you are a new or emerging writer, waiting until you have figured out the structure of the story in advance before attacking it only delays your ability to put what you have in your mind into some sort of form (and using that as a starting point). Learn as you go, in other words. Explore.
Note: I mentioned “outlining”. What’s that? Well, sometimes it’s good to have some notes on the go while you are working on a story. These notes can be as simple as the question “What’s it about?” (so that you stay on track and don’t let your story become something too burdened with marginalia or tangential), or maybe the notes keep track of themes and ideas, or characters’ thoughts that you are trying to develop in the piece.