According to the Urban Dictionary a Pantser is a person who fly’s by the seat of their pants while writing. Yup, that sounds about right. I am a Pantser and I’m not afraid to admit it (anymore). I’m also not afraid to admit that until about five minutes ago I was not only spelling it wrong but also saying it wrong.
How Did I Know?
As soon as I jumped into the #Writingcommunity on Twitter I saw all sorts of crazy lingo being thrown around. Most of it I was able to Google. Let us all say a quick thank you to the lords of Google. But some of it I had to rely on others to teach me. After some time, I not only sat back listening but also watched videos on writing, read books on writing and listened to podcasts. There was one common thread, they all were teaching people to plan (or Plot) a book. The whole idea of it gave me hives, literally. Early on I kept thinking to myself, if I can’t plan this book in advance, make a outline, a story board and all the other things people are teaching me and I even a writer? Spoiler alert… I am.
Yes I am a Writer
Writing doesn’t have to follow a liner path that someone set out for you. Not everyone writes the same, and for those of us who can not pre-plan… that’s okay! The Plotters of the world may unite and teach us things but we have a few things that could help them too. I have met Plotters that have spent years plotting their books, developing characters, drawing maps of worlds and although that may work for them, and never getting it to a place they are comfortable with publishing, it takes some years to even start writing. Sometimes you just have to sit down and let things flow.
Let me take a second and explain my process. Usually an idea will spring to mind, like a voice in the back of my head. Sometimes it’s just a name or a idea. Then after a couple days it won’t go away. Enter my characters. They turn up the volume in my head where I can hardly concentrate on another thing until I pick up my laptop and write their story. It comes hard, fast, and messy (much like some terrible boyfriends of the past) however when it’s over I feel a huge sense of relief and nine out of ten times I really like the story I wrote. Very prescriptive huh? I should write a book on this.
A Look Back
Today I took a look back at the creation dates for each of my books. I wrote book one at the end of 2018 and it just kind of sat around as my own guilty pleasure. Between August 27th and September 20th in 2019 I wrote the next four books in my series. Thinking I was done, I would read them occasionally for my own enjoyment. You can read one of my first posts on Deciding to Publish for some more info on what came next. Then in February of this year came the story of Cage and Hope. Once again I had this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. The two of them felt like the perfect ending to my series, and so their book was born.
Writing Fast Isn’t All Rainbows and Butterflies
The only problem with what I have done in the past is, by the time the story is finished it still needs a lot of work. Revisions and edits have been the most difficult part of the process for me. However, I have committed to myself to learn how to write cleaner first drafts. The general advice most writers give is to just write and worry about edits later. This may work for some but it doesn’t work for me.
It’s almost painful rewriting a book because the ended came out different then I expected. A Plotter knows their ending before they start. I do not. So by default I end up needing to go back and make adjustments. I always felt so guilty because I wasn’t following the advice of others, but I’ve come to learn I need to just do what works for me.
If you are a new writer, or even one who has been writing for a while; what advice have you been given that just doesn’t work for you?
– Nikki Rome