I’m a pantser. And I’m okay with this.
There are many kinds of pants.
What this means is that I rarely outline, rarely attempt to control where a story is going, feel it out as I go, generate characters and worlds as I go, and often write in violent spurts. I mention this because the last few days have been just that: three days of double my usual quota of words. Mind numbing, and the reason why I’m blogging instead of working right now.
I used to think that all writers did this (It’s so fun! Why wouldn’t they?). But no, most of the folks I talk to are the opposite, they outline, sketch, and build, and then meticulously get it all down. For them, this results in a polished product right off the hop, requiring very little editing.
And then there is a spectrum between the two extremes, with varying ratios of planning, writing, concurrent editing, and rewriting. One process is faster, but longer (pantsing), and the other is slower, but requires less work at the end. I imagine that they are, at their core, very much the same process, but I have to get everything out and written before I can change it.
Anyway, here I sit, a little bit blank with something of a brain cramp, with five chapters of Raw Material to edit and mold into the shape I want. I feel a bit like producer and manufacturer in one: alternating between disgorging the content and coming back later to work with it.
Sometimes I feel as though I chose the wrong career, that I’m not good enough, not fast enough, or don’t enjoy it enough. Not right now, though. Right now I feel like I’m right where I belong, doing what I was made for: Sitting in a dark corner, emptying myself into a word processor, forgetting about housework and making dinner, forgetting to shower, wearing sweat pants and a tatty plaid shirt, and losing myself in another world.
You can tell a pantser by the poorly drawn stink lines and how blocks of text obscure everything about them.
How about you? Do you do your work ahead of time? Or, like me, do you come along afterward and put the pieces together?