On Being a “Panster”

I can plan with the best of them, whether it’s for a business project, for a garden design or menu, or for a vacation.  In my writing life, though, I clearly fall into what we call the ‘pantser’ group – the ones who don’t use an outline and like to see the plot develop organically from inspiration and ideas that aren’t always obvious or conscious.  When I outline, it feels like a noose around my neck, tightening until I fall into unconsciousness/writer’s block in a desert parched of creativity.

Personally, I like the sensation of seeing my characters reveal themselves slowly, heading in a direction that feels right for them with me hanging on for dear life for the ride.  But I like flying by the seat of my pantaloons because my characters and their stories always seem to have other plans for me!

To me, they’re complex and interesting people.  I live with them yakking away in my brain for days or weeks before I finally get the opportunity to share their specifics.  They’re busy telling me all about themselves and their developing relationships, and I’m typing as fast as my fingers can fly!

Other writers feel compelled to outline, plotters just as dedicated to that style because they need to have everything mapped out to get the creative juices flowing.  There’s plenty of room on the virtual bookshelf of life to accommodate every method.  It’s simply a matter of finding what works for you.

Do your best-laid plans sometimes fall by the wayside when life happens?  Are you constantly planning or making room for spontaneity?  How do you approach the opportunities that stand in front of you, jumping up and down, each day?