Writing

Planners vs. Pantsers

It’s Monday, it’s morning (barely, almost noon), and I thought: what a good time to let you know more about myself!

Well, not many people care, I know, but I need to get used to this ‘more frequent blogging’ thing, and I’ve never really tried to talk about my own life before, so bear with me, y’all! I know I can talk as much and as little as I want, but for this to work I think I need to at least give the basics. Otherwise I feel like the rest of the blog would be completely without context and, yes, I realize people just jump in to read any blog post at any time, but that’s not really how I roll.

That’s kind of a little fact about myself, isn’t it? How I roll? Well, there’re these loose categories writers tend to fall in – or at least according to NaNoWriMo (that would be National Novel Writing Month) – and those are the ‘planners’ and the ‘pantsers.’ They are like they sound: planners are people who have to plan out everything before they write, pantsers are people who just open a document and see where words takes them. (There’s also a blend one called ‘plantsers,’ so I guess it’s more of a spectrum, but for this purposes let’s just pretend it’s two categories.) Guess which one I firmly falls in? Yeah… planner to a T. In fact, I feel like I’m an über-planner, because sometimes I plan my stories down to the paragraph before I write anything. It wouldn’t be that bad except I also like really convoluted plots with multiple protagonists and viewpoints. Which means I write slow, I tend to get confused by all my plots, and because I get confused, fear then takes over and I freeze and don’t write anything at all.

Do you now see the problem? Do you see why I am still on the second draft (more of a 1.5 draft, but I’ll talk about that later.) of a novel that I’ve started writing three years ago and is long, long overdue to be finished? Do you see how I had severe depression because of my inability to produce anything due to fear for three years before that so it’s more or less five+ years since the concept of this novel materialized in my head and I still don’t have much to go on? And I’m still here, on the precipice of falling back into depression and just barely managing not to. I’m not on any antidepressants and I’ve stopped going to see my therapist, which is good! But if this continues on I may have to revisit him again. I hope not. There’s not much he can do for me because the solution is clearly ‘work more,’ but maybe he can at least provide me some encouragement.

So, I’m an über-planner, and it’s kind of ruining my life.