Pantsers and Plotters

Are you a pantser or a plotter or a planter (should that be pottser)?

Pantsers are writers who do not write with a plan. Outlines feel like handcuffs. They sit at the keyboard just to see what happens next, or who will show up.

Plotters are the exact opposite. They come ready to write, plan in hand. They already know what happens next, and next, and next, and there will be no surprise guests in their character roster.

Then there are the rest of us: some combination of pantser and plotter who has at least a loose plan in their head and enough flexibility to meander down a creative stream when it appears.

Which is better?

To be clear, there isn’t a “right” way to write. No extra brownie points, or fans leaving reviews, if you plot over pant, or vice versa.

But I think it’s worth the time to occasionally check in with how your particular process makes you feel. If you’re always a pantser, but you find you’re often experiencing resistance, maybe that strategy is no longer working for you. Try jotting down a handful of notes, or even a rough outline, before you begin. Or know where you want to end up, but be open to how you’ll get there.

Same goes for the plotters. If you’re always prepared with an outline, but lately your writing feels stale, or you’re not having as much fun, try a handful of spontaneous writing exercises to see how your writing changes. Experiment more than once to really feel out the process.

Evolve

In the same way that we sink deeper into our writing voices over time, it’s likely that your writing style will also evolve. Be flexible enough to try something new if the old way begins to let you down.

Photo by Terri Anne Heighway on Unsplash