This blog was featured on 12/05/2017
Are you a plotter or a pantser when you write?
Written by
Stephanie Elliot
December 2017
Written by
Stephanie Elliot
December 2017

What kind of writer are you?

According to a Google search, a Pantser is “someone who, ‘flies by the seat of their pants,’ meaning they don't plan out anything, or plan very little” when it comes to their writing habits. Pantser is derived from the saying of doing things ‘by the seat of your pants,’ and is the term used for writers who just sit down and let the words unfold.

If you’re a Plotter – if the words don’t come as fluidly as they do for a Pantser, you may find that outlining and planning works best. Some writers thrive by creating a plan prior to getting down and dirty in their writing work. Plotters may require extensive outlines and plans before they dive into the page.

I feel like I am mostly a Pantser. But in reality, I’m plotting in my head all along – I just don’t write my thoughts down previous to the actual writing project. I like the feel of not knowing what’s going to happen next. Have you ever been in the middle of a scene and out of nowhere a new character emerges and you discover that this character is an integral part of your story? I love the feeling of creating something new and unexpected, and I get a certain thrill from Pantsing my stories. 

However, if you’re a Plotter, you may have a different approach to your writing strategies. Perhaps you have already written personal bios for your characters; maybe you storyboard your ideas and characters; or maybe you splash color-coded Post-it Notes with chapter ideas all across your wall for inspiration of what is going to happen next. You may know your story from beginning to end and inside out without any trouble. I am actually envious of the Plotter, but know in my heart that I am not capable of working this way. 

In the end, no one way is better than the other. You have to work to the best of your ability and choose  to work how you’re most comfortable. Can someone be a Pantser and a Plotter? Absolutely! Find the format that works best for you and run with it. And if you feel like you need to plot and outline one project, but for another you simply dive right in, just roll with it because that’s okay too. 

It’s your writing process and you should revel in the fact that you are writing and creating absolute magic. And the amazing thing to remember is that you’re doing it the way that works best for you. And that’s never a bad thing!

So, what do you think? Are you a Plotter, a Pantser, or somewhere in between? 

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