Words From a True Pantser

In the midst of a blink at times, you come across a magical moment where a problem and a solution meet in a cross-point. Sparkles and fireworks light up the gloom created by said problem, and the world makes a little more sense again.

Rambles, rambles. Let me get to the point. This equilibrium blessed me recently.

Novel writing is a chore (one I love, never doubt that) and as much fun as it is there will inevitably be moments in the process when the confidence takes a bashing for no apparent reason and makes a head-dive dip into lower levels. For me, this exact thing occurred as I realised my plot line was flawed, characters were not fully developed, and the story symmetry was not up to scratch.

I found an explanation: it’s just the way I write. I write a draft and then another, and another, and another, until I reach a level of contentment (or time constraint depending on the situation). And for some reason I labelled this method unprofessional and a failure.

Until I came across Jennifer Lesher’s fabulous blog post, that is. She talks about Plotters and Pantsers, terms I’ve now found out are old news, but I’d never heard of before.

She writes:

If you’re a Pantser your initial round of sustained effort will most likely produce a lot of words, words that hew to a vague plotline.

And here I was thinking I was doing something wrong!!! In an instant all my doubt was cast off and a sense of belief once again seeped into my writing. Silly, I know, but true nonetheless. Without Lesher’s post I would most likely still mentally beat at myself for being a substandard writer.

Here’s the morale: whether it’s about Plotting/Pantsing or another aspect of writing, it’s okay to be different (or, in this case, not different at all).

A creative mind works in mysterious ways and I’m quite sure that writers as a group are far too quick to deem themselves not-good-enough. We are among the most insecure kind of people I’ve come across and that’s a shame because there are so many brilliant ones out there!

To write anything substantial requires guts, and plenty of it. Stephen King, for example, is a hell of a gutsy writer – and also a Pantser! How about that?

Be brave, be daring, and be creative. Know the rules and then break them gleefully. Me, I’m off to write the next two thirds of my first novel. Full on Pantser-style!


Find Jennifer Lesher’s excellent article HERE !


4 thoughts on “Words From a True Pantser

    • Hi Daniel! Glad to hear this categorisation of writers, so often denied in the name of artistic diversity and abstractness, can provide comfort to others as well! Thanks for Reading 🙂 JS.

  1. Pingback: Finding my way through the outline | Burgess Taylor

  2. Pingback: Writing More, Faster: 5 Tips for Writing Like a Pantser… A Guest Post By Julie Israel | The Literary Syndicate

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