This is a concept that I am well acquainted with as a writer. I do not know if every writer is like this, or if it is only me. After all, I am a pantser not a plotter. If you do not know what that means, a pantser is someone who sits down and starts writing without a well planned out course of where the story is going or exactly what they characters are going to do or say. Think of it as like where Bilbo Baggins set out after the Dwarves in such a hurry that he didn’t even take the time to pack properly. He still had an incredible journey, but it was probably quite different from what it would have been if he and the Dwarves had sat down and planned out a solid course of action.
A plotter on the other hand, has a very well laid out road map if you will. They sit down and plan out the book in its entirety. They know where the novel begins, where it ends, a loose idea of how their characters will get there, exactly who their characters are, and a rough idea how every chapter will go. While this is a marvelous approach and I honestly wish I could write like this, my characters are much to rebellious to ever agree to anything like this. They like to change course mid-book, mid-chapter, and mid-scene. I’ve learned to just go with the flow.
So yes, my writer’s life is filled with frantic joy. I frantically type trying to get all of my thoughts out while the characters are agreeing and the plot is going to smoothly that it makes me want to weep with joy, but I can’t, because I have to get it all typed. I frantically argue with my characters about staying in line with my idea of what the story is only to get stubborn refusal (although they are usually right and the story ends up being better for it). I also stubbornly try to keep my storyline on track, although usually by the second chapter it is totally derailed.
Also, this past weekend, I frantically typed trying to write 25k words in only four days. But then, I finish the novel and the franticness ends. I can take a deep breath, cry a little bit like a shell shocked survivor that can’t believe that they somehow, impossibly, survived the crisis. I dance around the room a bit (drawing curious and concerned glances from my cats) and treat myself with one of my favorite snacks. And after about five minutes, the next story is whispering at me, starting the process all over again.
So what causes frantic joy in your life?
5 thoughts on “Frantic”
When I go out drinking (which is uncommon) I will travel to a bar or two with a handful of friends. At the finish of the first cocktail or beer I start to unfold like a flower that blooms at night. One after another I’m enjoying the space, the people, and paying attention to the paradigm shifts that alcohol tends to cause.
The day after is usually extremely peaceful. When I have nothing to do I reflect on the events of the previous night and there it is found, a great burst of the will to write and pants my way through the rest of the day.
25K words in 4 days is a HUGE stride for pantser, so congratulations! A set of short stories totalling 9K words required 3 months of ‘planning’, so thanks for letting myself and other pantser know that it can be done!
sorry, 23K, but it remains the same. A lot of Novel contests requre a book in that range, ahve you thought of submitting?
Actually, I was working on the second book in my series, “In Search of Healing”. You can see more about it on my blog or it is available to read for free on Amazon. It was great to get that much done 🙂
I really like the way you describe your writing – and I relate. In my “real” life I am a planner. I am a perfectionist and by profession I am an in Accounting/Finance/Operations – so planning things out and being organized is critical. In addition, I have 3 kids who are very active in sports and other activities – so just one more reason I have to be organized and have things planned.
When writing though I’ve found when I try to plan it all out I just come out blank. However, when I just sit down and let things flow I am able to write for hours. I do have a problem with being able to write or type as fast as my brain is flowing, but it works out in the end. I think maybe that is one of the reasons I have not pursued my writing more in the past, because I thought I had to have the story all planned out in advance. And that is why this post is so inspiring to me. I see someone who had been successful and admits that she writes in the same way as me – and I realize it is okay for me to not have things planned out. In fact, for me it may be the best way because writing tends to help me deal with anxiety. So maybe planning things out in advance is counter-productive for me.
I guess what I am saying is – Thank you for this post! And in answer to your question – what brings me peace is sitting down and just letting my mind flow without any constraints. Writing in the way that I was obviously created to write is what brings me peace.
Honestly, your comment made me cry a little. Don’t worry, it was a good cry. The fact that I helped even one person realize that it’s okay for them to be their unique selves and shine makes me feel validated. I am glad that writing the way you were meant to write brings you peace.
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