As writers we dedicate a good deal of time to honing our skills. I don’t know any author who doesn’t seek to improve and grow in the craft. But sometimes I think we place a little too much emphasis on technique and not enough on instinct.
You see, I’m a pantser.
I wrote my first 3 novels without any kind of outline at all. It wasn’t until I contracted a novel on proposal that I even considered plotting a story. That kind of structure doesn’t come naturally to me. For me, half the joy of writing is letting the story unfurl. My characters sometimes veer off course, but I find the detours enhance the story in ways I could never imagine. To me, pantsing is storytelling in it’s most basic form.
There are about a thousand worksheets, software programs, and seminars on how to improve your plotting skills, but you rarely see classes that focus on pantsing.
Writing without a detailed plot is often treated as a bad habit to be overcome, but I don’t see it that way. As a matter of fact, I hope to get back to writing by the seat of my pants. I’m not saying my Excel sheets and Scrivner outlines don’t have value. These are useful tools and I value them. But I also value my own instincts as a writer, and I don’t want to bury them in paper anymore.
I think I had to ride the learning curve to get here, but I’m finally getting to a place where I’m more comfortable with who I am as a writer.
My name is Margaret and I’m a panster. I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me next!
How about you? Panster or plotter? What writing advice as been of the most value to you? Which words of wisdom do you wish you’d ignored?