Monday, October 11, 2010

The gray in between

As NaNoWriMo approaches I'm noticing the differences reactions from both 'plotters' (those who like plotting out their whole book before they start) and 'pantsers' (those who 'write by the seat of their pants' and have absolutely no plan at all).

Plotters are freaking out because the clock is ticking and they haven't even finished their outlines yet.

Pantsers are more laid back, because this is the way they always do it. But even the more hard core Pantser has some concern that when the time comes they will go to their creative well and find it empty.

Whatever you consider yourself (plotter or pantser), the truth of the matter is, none of us are total plotters or total pantsers. We all fall into those shades of gray in between. You can find this depressing or comforting. I found it freeing.

That's one of the greatest things about NaNoWriMo. Plotters are forced to loosen up a bit and just go for it, instead of getting dragged down into the mire of spreadsheets and outlines.

Pantsers are forced to wait until November 1st. All they can do is just sit there and think about their story and what you want to do with it. Maybe even jot down an idea or two.

I found it so freeing when I realized it was ok for a pantser like me to jot down ideas for the ending of my story. It didn't make me any less of a pantser. It just made me a little more efficient. I had a goal. Somewhere to aim for.

Too often we (consciously or unconsciously) lock ourselves into a roll or a cretin type. "I'm a pantser, I don't plan out anything" or "I'm a plotter, if I don't have everything plotted out then I'm hopelessly lost."

The truth is in the gray between. Put aside any label and just try to find what works for you.

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