Plotter or Pantser, which are you?

Now, until I’d joined Instagram and befriended other writers, I had never come across these two terms, let alone contemplated which I might be. However, since joining Instagram, I’ve quickly realised I am neither. It turns out I am a Plantser or Plotser, or whatever a hybrid of the two is.

This revelation shocked me quite profoundly as I am OCD. It doesn’t rule my life but it’s there. I like things clean and tidy but I’m not obsessive. My ‘thing’ is checking things: locks, windows, items, is my alarm set? Did I lock the car? Is the window that’s been locked all winter, still locked? Double check, triple check, quadruple check. It’s not (totally) a bad thing because I know for certain if something’s amiss, but it does waste time and I know it’s not healthy. But, I digress.

So, despite being OCD I’m not with regards to my writing. Contradictory, right? I mean, I plot. I have a basic timeline, chapter outline, back stories for my characters, I research names, terms, phenomena, anything and everything that’s relevant. But I don’t have the full outline written down. I know the key points, I know some of what happens in between but not everything; and writing like that suited me fine for Book 1.

However, for Book 2 I’m trying to plot more, not necessarily the entire story, but more. So far, I have worked on my Beats, but I could only plot so many; I have plotted and planned my key characters in more depth, using Sarra Cannon’s freebie “Plot your Novel”; and I am 5,000+ words into typing up my Series Bible (using the free outline courtesy of Bethany Atazadeh). And I’ve still got my plot embryos to draft!

I really recommend the freebies, they’ve given me direction and have made me contemplate things about my characters and world that I would never have done. Which can only be a good thing, right? Nonetheless, it’s been difficult. Not the plotting or Series Bible, they’ve been fun; but the Story Beats (a section within Bethany’s freebie). Bizarrely, pinning them down was really tricky; my brain reached a point where it couldn’t take anymore and suffered a meltdown: “I don’t know! Let’s just write and see!”

I’m certainly not a Plotter! I am determined though to do a month’s more plotting before I start writing. I have a feeling it’ll save me time later, and time is my most precious commodity.

Does this resonate with you? Are you in Team Plotser/Plantser? Or a clearcut Plotter or Pantser? Any tips you’d be happy to share? I’d love to know!

A writer’s life ruled by naptimes

As a very lucky mother to a young toddler, I don’t get much free time for my writing (Yes, I could wake early but I’m so shattered from teething that that’s currently impossible). So my writing time is restricted to naptimes, unless that naptime is needed to do planning for my lessons.

So, yesterday I had a clear naptime and had got my laptop out to start writing when my neighbour comes round for a chat.

An hour’s chat!

I could have cried! I probably should have asked to get on with the work I was blatantly about to undergo, but I didn’t want to be rude. Then my toddler woke up and all hopes of writing were gone.

What would you have done?

Hopefully today will be more successful…

Traditional vs. Self Publishing

Now, back when I dusted off my novel in 2017, all I dreamt about was finishing it. After editing, I then just foresaw me sending it off to agents and waiting. Waiting for them to tell me I’m amazing *cough*; that they had to represent me; that great things lay before me; that I’d be the next J. K. Rowling (I know, I know)

I then stumbled across Joanna Penn and her website and learnt about self publishing. Of course, I already knew of it but never condidered it seriously. Why would I self publish? I have little time to write let alone manage everything else.

But then, on reflection, why wouldn’t I? Why wait on someone else to decide if people will or won’t like it? Why not let the people think for themselves? And I’ll get my free-time back one day. Right? Plenty of time then to edit, market and publish my book.

The Creative Penn

It was whilst doing some random research three weeks ago that I came across the author Joanna Penn and her brilliant website, The Creative Penn.

It never crossed my mind that there were authors out there who shared their writing and publishing experiences so openly. It’s been an absolute revelation and so, so useful. If you are serious about your writing, I highly recommend it.

Due to being extremely time-poor at present (I think I’ve had about an hour to myself in the last two weeks), I’m finding Ms Penn’s YouTube channel an excellent resource bank filled with interesting interviews, lots of advice and things to ponder that I hadn’t even thought to ponder; such as what is my definition of success (which I’m now pondering and will let you know soon).

Even if you are already published via traditional means or more alternative means, I guarantee you will find something of use. She provides tips on marketing and author wellbeing, not to mention suggestions to help with your creative side.

I’m so glad to have discovered her and her tutorials as I can listen to them when I’m doing my mundane chores and actually feel like I’m progressing as a writer (even if I hadn’t had the opportunity to write in days) Thank you, Ms Penn! You are keeping me sane and motivated!