Half of October is already gone and I’ve been working on planning and plotting my novel. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded. Well at least not in the way that I envisioned a “real planner” would. perhaps I’m a combination of planner and a pantser
Planner v. Pantser
They are two approaches to first draft story writing. Why Planner and Pantser? Planners are writers who plan their novels, and Pantsers write their stories by the seat of their pants. Detailed outlines are the purview of Planners, typically completed before a single word of the actual story is set onto page.
Most of my life I have been a planner, I love my check lists and I live by my calendar. I carefully make sure I have all my to-do’s organized and worked out every evening before bed and like most planners, I sleep much better when I know what is on my plate for the next day. I know, of course, that things change and I am fully capable of changing course if an unexpected issue comes up. Having said that, I was fully prepared to be the same way about my writing.
I should have known better!
Turns out, I’m not so much into knowing every single detail of my novel before I start writing it. I tried, but besides feeling completely stressed out and uninspired, I achieved very little else in the past two weeks.
Last night, I sat at my laptop while watching some NaNoWriMo videos and began working in Scrivener in cork-board mode and the excitement of the story began to resurface. So, for what I can tell, being a planner in some aspects of your life does not mean you will be a planner as a writer. Although, I would not say that I’m a pantser either.
I have tried to write many novels. I’ve had a million ideas for novels. However, this is the first time I am actually going to put myself out there and write something. I say all that to say that I’m not sure how or where I fit in and honestly I’m not sure I want to fit in any of the boxes already laid out for me. So what, I’m not a planner and know every single little detail of the story before I write the story? Also, so what I’m not a pantser and I can’t just sit at my computer and start typing something without some sort of “map” to show me at least a direction? the point is to write and discover who I am as a writer.
A lot has happened this year. Some things have been great and others… well, not so much. I’m no longer bitter and right now I’m choosing not to fight the tides. Going with the flow has allowed me the opportunity to relax and see into the future a little better.
I remember a conversation I had with my father at a pretty young age when I revealed the fact that I wanted to be a writer. Perhaps a journalist…. the practical side of me knowing that a journalist would at least have a steady paycheck and that would make dad happy. It didn’t!!!!! I remember being told that writing was a hobby, not a profession and that I needed to get a profession where I would be able to support myself. Not bad advice but not great either. I don’t remember specifics at this point in my life anymore. I don’t know what happened once that advice was imparted but I believe that was the moment when I gave up my dreams of ever writing for a living. I didn’t even give it another try and I think I put away all my writing tools to focus on making my father happy.
Don’t get me wrong, we arrived at an agreement. I would not become a doctor nor a writer but I would be something that made both of us a little happy. It’s been a good run and I’ve enjoyed the benefits of being very good at what I do. However, as I said in the beginning of this post. A lot has happened this year……. some great and some not so much. In the midst of all the happenings I have set out a challenge for myself. I have found the courage to at least try to do what I want to do.
Write….. I’m going to write!!!!!
I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. If you don’t know what that is NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. In the month of November many published authors and some that are not published yet get together and form a community of writers who set goals for the month to write a novel or finish one… some make goals to edit a novel and get it ready to print and publish. This year, I’ve decided to enter and write 50,000 words of a novel I’ve been “cooking” up in my head. Through the month of November I will be writing and posting here with my progress. I don’t particularly care if no one reads it. This is for me, my dream, my life. As I said, some things that happened were good and some not so much but they all have allowed me to see that living others’ dreams is worth it. We all have disappointments but it’s far better to be disappointed having done something you loved and set your heart on fire than be disappointed having lived someone else’s life
A lot has changed this year…… and this is not the only dream I’m working on.