As pantsers (for those of us who are such writers) we often lack a plan regarding our tales unlike our plotting counterparts; our stories are spontaneous and fantastical but boy can they be hard to get on the page sometimes! They are, in many ways, reliant on a spark of inspiration and an insatiable need to write.
The hardest part of writing is getting started.
Writing everyday is not something that happens on its own, not in the beginning at least, it’s something that needs to be forced. This is especially the case for us pantsers as our lack of planning can sometimes get us in trouble, unable to write and procrastinating.
I reckon pantsers are more likely to be binge writers—thoughts?
Is there a way past this? I hate planning and plotting just as much as, if not more than, the next pantser, but surely there’s a happy medium that lets us explore new ideas as they come but reigns us in and gets us writing?
I realise plotting and planning is not as rigid as I make it out to be, but in my mind it’s rather skeletal and difficult to majorly change.
To be fair, I always find it easier to write if I know what’s going to be written; this knowledge doesn’t have to be very detailed, but if I know a series of events that needs to occur in the near future, it sets me up with a bunch of targets to hit though the order and other factors are yet to be decided to satisfy the pantser in me. Further, most of these ‘targets’ will never get hit as the story takes a veer in another direction into another field.
Also, this may be due to my visual nature, but I like to have imagined where the story is going prior to writing it. This, of course, changes after each writing session, but the very action of imaging frees me to write, even if I write something completely different. I find that when I’m in the midst of writing and am consumed by the action, words cease to exist and a movie unfolds in my mind. My task is simple: transcribe the movie.
Where am I going with this?
One of the things I’ve found extremely helpful as of late, is writing up what has recently happened in the story and what will need to happen after each writing session. Not only does this allow me to collect my thoughts, but it starts the process of imagining what is to come in.
At the beginning of my writing day, I sit down with my notebook, read where I got up to yesterday and then the ideas or clues for the day. With a map loosely held before me, new ideas blossoming by the minute and little else to distract me (see post about a controlled user for work), I have no choice but to write.
Now this could all, of course, mean I’m not as much of a pantser as I like to believe, but seeing as words are being written and stories are being told, I’m very happy being this weird mix of plotter and pantser. Which are you? Pantser, plotter or mixed?
Thanks for reading!
P.S. This is, of course, something that will most likely only work for those of us working on first drafts. It’ll be interesting to see how this transfers to edits; I’d love to develop a note-taking system for all stages of novel writing.
Do you ever take notes on where you’re going?
The lovely photo used in today’s post is by Carli Jean.