Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coming to Terms With Being a Pantser in my Crazy World

I'm a pantser. Complete and total, write the story as it comes, perhaps foolish pantser. Writing with no plan but find myself driving down the road, struck with the missing scene I didn't even know was missing kind of writer.

I'm also a divorced, co-parent of two active and involved boys, a full time Communication Arts teacher to an average of about 70 students a year, and girlfriend to an amazing and hard working man.

These many "hats" I wear (not even including daughter, friend, etc.) are proving to be mildly incompatible with my writing style. I'm often time or energy challenged as I attempt to complete my first novel and maintain any kind of blog or writer network. Yet, I refuse to give any of it up.

Recently, I saw this quote about commitment (see picture). While I may be filled with guilt to say I am a writer, while rarely truly writing over the past several months, I am continuously noting scenes, crafting their connections, observing speech patterns in my students so as to replicate these in my characters and reflecting on what I learn from the writing world around me. Slowly, sometimes painfully so, I am morphing and adjusting to the life around me, learning the skills and tricks to keep me writing. And this kind of thinking, has to still count as commitment to my craft on some level. I refuse to let myself believe otherwise and be held back by negative self-talk.

So far, my biggest challenge is letting go of the need to write scenes in chronological order. As a pantser, or perhaps just as a neophyte writer, I want to sit and write the story as it comes to me, in order, beginning to end, despite challenges along the way. Simply crafting a scene as it hits my head really doesn't work for me. Or should I say, I haven't allowed it to work?

Lately, it has struck me that I could craft a scene as it strikes and then later weave the scenes together in the order they should be in. "Revision is precisely for that," as I so confidently teach my students. Yet, I still struggle to make this happen.

Perhaps, now that I have a strategy, albeit one that I'm struggling with because it has no order, I can better utilize or structure my time to include "writing windows" each day. No matter how long this takes me, I WILL NOT GIVE UP THIS DREAM! I WILL FINISH THIS BOOK!

For my fellow writers who also have full-time work outside of your writing lives, how do you balance it all? How has your writing style had to adjust to fit your ever changing life? What skills, tricks or tools have helped you stay on track the most?


  1. I would just like to comment on your FB page...nice do. Is it new?

  2. Great post. I know for me, I just write whenever I have a spare second... I've tried many different approaches, but I dip in and out of my manuscript all day, each day. It's working for me right now, but I'm sure I'll change again soon! It's HARD... but you're rockin' it. I can feel your passion. :)