Planners Vs. Pantsers (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 5)

If you’re a writer, you know the terms “planner” and “pantser.” Other writers will ask you which one you are.

There are no sides, neither one of them is the “right” way to write a novel or the “wrong” way to write a novel.

Our brains and minds all work differently and we work at our own pace and rhythm. If you have great ideas and have to follow a basic outline to stick with said ideas, then go for it. If you have an awesome idea and want to see where the word flow takes you, go for it.

However, there are pros and cons to each side.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep: Planners vs. Pantsers

What is a planner?

A planner is someone who figures out most (or every) details of their novel. They outline, they plot, they character develop long before the character is created on the page, they draw maps, and do so much more. They are the definition of prepared, especially when NaNoWriMo comes along.

Pros of being a planner

  • Writer’s block doesn’t hit them that hard, if at all, since they already know what is going to happen next.
  • There’s always room for improvement. An outline isn’t set in stone, it’s a guideline. If something needs to change or new ideas pop up, the writer can add and delete.

Cons of being a planner

  • It’s a lot of work. Not to sound lazy, but creating an outline takes a lot of time, effort, and brainpower before the actual writing even begins.

What is a pantser?

A pantser “flies by the seat of their pants.” They don’t go in with any sort of plan (or something even an idea). They just go with the flow and see what happens next.

Pros of being a pantser

  • Flexibility. Since they have no outline, they can do whatever they want to their characters and create twists and turns. There are no limits.
  • They can dive right in. Do you want to write a story right now? Go right ahead. No ideas? That’s okay, just write whatever comes into your mind.

Cons of being a pantser

  • They may get writer’s block and that can put their story on hold for a long time.

Of course, take these pros and cons with a grain of salt. Like I said, there is no right or wrong side. There is no right or wrong way to write a novel.

As long as you have an active imagination, that’s all that matters.

Are you a planner or pantser? Let me know in the comments below!

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Go Team You! (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 1)

Writing a novel is no easy task. Sure, writing a novel is definitely doable if you’re up for the challenge. But it’s emotionally draining, mentally challenging, and physically difficult.

NaNoWriMo is great for a lot of things: motivation to begin chasing your dreams, a difficult challenge and the feeling of accomplishment once it’s completed, and so many resources for the writing world. Yet, it is a stressful 30 days. The pressure is on as soon as the clock strikes midnight on November 1st.

Despite the pressure, NaNo helps out with one more thing (whether you join the challenge or not): a writing community.

If you strive to be a published writer, or even if you just write for yourself, it’s so important to have a support system.

NaNoWrio 2016: Go Team You!

Why you should have a group of writer friends

Writers understand what other writers go through on a day to day basis like no one else does:

–Writing is hard
–Good days are high word counts. Bad days are staring at a blank screen
–You want to write when you can’t. But when you can write, you have no motivation.
–Killing characters is the easiest and hardest thing ever
–Caffeine is the best invention
–We don’t do it for the money
–We know the success rate is low, but we keep trying anyway
–Writing isn’t a hobby, it’s a passion
–Talking to yourself (or your imaginary friends) is totally okay
–The best ideas come in the shower

You can bounce ideas off of your writer friends. You can write stories together. You can read and critique each other’s work. You can ask spelling and grammar questions and argue over who’s right. Writers truly are a writer’s best friend.

However, while you need at least one person who fully understands what you do and why you do it, you need a second support group.

Why you should have a group of non-writer friends

They’re your first readers. Hand out your draft to a few friends and they’ll let you know what they think through a reader’s perspective. Some may even critique it for you.

They’re your cheerleaders. They may not understand what goes into creating a book, but they know enough to realize what an amazing accomplishment writing and publishing a book is.

Share the wealth of your writing world. Grab a writing buddy and a cheerleader of your work. Hold your head up high, put your thinking cap on, and get to work.

Even when you start to feel discouraged whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or just writing for yourself, remember to cheer yourself on and you have a huge support system rooting for you.

Go you!

Are you a part of any writing communities locally or on the internet outside of NaNo? Do you have any close friends who support your writing but don’t fully understand it? Let me know in the comments!

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