Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 10

While rummaging in a drawer, I came across my old flowchart template. B.C., before children, before calligraphy took over, I was a computer programmer. This in the early days of computing when computers where the size of full-size, 1950's Buick.

I earned my programmer's certificate from Control Data Institute and on the first day, along with the first module, I received the flowchart template, a plastic rule of cutout diamonds, rectangles, and
other shapes. For each program we wrote, we were required to first diagram all the steps it would take to complete the program. I'm a linear thinker so I loved flowcharting. I knew the direction my program would take and if it should crash and burn, I could go back to the flowchart to see where my thinking had gone wrong.

Send husband to work
Is husband home?
No - Watch TV and eat bon bons
Yes - Look busy
Send husband to work, etc.

When I got into the real world, I found I didn't have the luxury of creating a flowchart. Clients wanted changes made to the software, and they wanted the changes yesterday. In the real world, I wrote quick and dirty programs aka programming by the seat of my pants.

Now in a completely different field, I make thumbnail sketches (artistic flowcharts) of my projects. I like having an idea of what the work will look like before I put ink to paper. That's not to say, I can't change the plan if the need arises. The thumbnail gives me a good idea where I might encounter problems in spacing or layout, and I can make adjustments accordingly.

If you are involved in a creative endeavor (art, writing, textiles, etc) do you make a plan before you start the actual work or do you just jump in and drive by the seat of your pants?


  1. I'm definitely a plotter. My books don't always stick with the outline I've created, but I have to have one before I begin or I'm sure to get stuck.

  2. Sometimes I plan sometimes I don't. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And then there are the times when someone else takes over! LOL