I have heard the term “pantser” before, but had no idea what it meant. It came across my path again, and I happened to be in front of my computer, so I Googled it. Urban Dictionary says that a “pantser” is “A NaNoWriMo term that means that you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ when you are writing your novel. You have nothing but the absolute basics planned out for your novel. This outlook towards writing is often opposed by the ‘planner’, who knows exactly what is going to happen, when it will happen, and where it will happen. There is often enmity between the two types of writers.”
Okay. First things first – enmity? Seriously? I’m sure it’s plain to all experienced writers that I am a newbie in the community of authors. I have just barely jumped in while others have either been treading water for a while or have done a few laps. I sure hope that once I get comfortable in the depths that is the writing community, I won’t find any kind of hostility. I hope to only find support and encouragement. Am I being far too naïve?
Next, I think it’s super cool that NaNoWriMo has a word of its own in the Urban Dictionary. I hadn’t even heard of NaNo until a few years ago, yet if I say it now, it’s much more likely that someone will have at least heard of it. And I love that I’m a part of it (I have two winner shirts to prove it!)
Okay – on to the question you’ve all been dying to ask: Yes, I am a pantser. I wouldn’t have it any other way. To me, it seems like the other way would be so much more difficult! To first have to plan it all out and then make it all work? No thank you! I am not talented enough to do that! Actually, I admire someone who is able to do that.
I love being a pantser. I’ve literally, in the entirety of my writing career (almost 30 years) never suffered from the horrors of writer’s block. I attribute that to the fact that I am a pantser. I don’t plan anything. I sit down at the computer and start typing. My characters tell me what to type. They take me down the path, telling me the story as we go.
Well, that’s not entirely true. One night, I awoke to the sound of one of my characters telling me her story. She wouldn’t leave me alone until I got up and wrote it down.
That’s normal for artists, right? I don’t need medication, right?