I Am Definitely Not a Pantser

Pantsers versus plotters, everyone knows people that fall into both categories.

I know I’ve talked about this before in the past, I’ve even explained that I used to be a pantser, never really understanding the difference. I never liked plotting because all through school teachers became so focused on the way that they wanted you to plot and it was nothing I enjoyed. I got nothing out of it because the way I write is so fluid and I don’t always write in order. So the rigidity of the way they made me plot hindered my imagination, it didn’t let it bloom and come forth.

So a few years ago, I tried plotting. It didn’t go so well, but it got done, it was almost like pulling teeth trying to get the outline/plot down for Goddess Born. I had so many issues trying to get from point A to point B and it wasn’t because I didn’t know where to go, it was because I was trying to fall back on the rigidity of the plotting days of school.

But I got it done, and with getting it done, I finally finished my full length novel.

Yay me!

That was a couple years ago. Then I started being a bad girl again, started writing a story without a plot and – shocker – I ran into roadblocks about four or five chapters in. This just confirmed for me, as a writer, I couldn’t be a pantser. I needed something to help me lead me through getting from start to finish in a timely matter.

But I needed to figure out the best way for me to plot. I couldn’t spend months pulling teeth to try and get a plot put together, because that wasn’t very productive. I needed to figure out a process to make my plotting and planning process more efficient so that my writing could become efficient and I could get more progress done.

So, I’ve been trying to make that process better. As my For Me post said, I really haven’t gotten anything done writing wise in the last 18 months. Life has made that difficult, my self-doubt has made it difficult to get anything done.

About two months ago, I sat down to try and figure out that process, because I wanted to get back to writing. And I think I figured out the perfect process for me.

I talked about a workshop from last year’s conference that helped spark this process. Basically here is the process I am going through to get an outline down on paper:

• First – I come with a brief “book blurb” type description of the story. Something to describe the main idea of the story.
• Then – I follow the “Five Major Scenes” workshop and determine what the five major scenes of that story are going to be.
• Finally – With those five points I have a basic map of where I need to go for the projects.

This seems to be the best process. The best evidence of this: I finished writing eighteen outlines within 2 weeks.

So I have a bunch of stories – obviously – in my head that I want to get started on.

I have a few things I need to do before I do – some basic world building and some research.

I am finally to a point where I finally feel like writing again, hopefully this will get me in a place where I can do that.

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Life – It’s Not Just a Board Game

Life these last several months has almost seemed like one of those crazy games that keeps throwing rocks into the gears so things go wrong left and right.

This last 7 months or so has made me have to re-evaluate what it means to be family. And I learned something big – it doesn’t mean blood in a lot of cases. Sometimes that blood is toxic and causes more problems than good.

My last big family post talked about changes that happened that changed our family dynamic. Well changes occurred again that once again changed the dynamic of things. Our three oldest children, who thrived with us educationally and stability-wise, ended up not thriving emotionally and socially. For their well-being we made a very hard, and very sad, decision that they needed to be with their mother.

That is the simple way of putting it, if you’re part of my inner circle you know the drama, the challenges and the heartbreak that came with it. Though this blog is for me, I don’t want to readdress that emotional stuff. I’m not in a good place to do that yet.

With the changes to my step-daughters leaving, came changes in our family. We didn’t just go from a household of six to a household of three. We stayed at six. We welcomed into our house some roommates, friends that were first friends of my husband and now are more life family.

It’s been an interesting change, but it’s nice having a household full of fun and family.

There have been a lot more lows in my family, other than the change of the dynamics in our household. There has been a lot of loss of family members in the last several months as well. There has also been a few new additions. I miss those that are gone, a slight ache in my heart when they cross my mind. But I enjoy getting updates of all the new members of the family.

I am also enjoy so, so much my little girl grow up. It is amazing seeing a tiny human grow and develop into a beautiful person, someone with some much personality. I love seeing her learn and do things on her own. I love her little laugh that lights up my world. I love seeing her interact with her daddy and the love of our little family.

Despite all the drama, the sadness and heartache, the happy things make up for it. They make life worth living and experiencing.

Hopefully, this year will be full of a little less drama and a lot more happiness. We all deserve it.

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The Light Of My Life

A Year for Me

This year my life has been different.

Usually – at least for the last several years – this time of year is me planning and plotting my strategy for PPWC since conference is about two months away. I would be looking through information on keynotes, haunting PPWC’s website for any updates on workshops and presenters, as well as setting up my Twitter feed so that they were nicely organized to see all of the conference posts (granted this is something I’m still planning to do).

This year is different. Granted, I don’t know how many of you actually read these or follow me on any of the other social media places I haunt, but if you do read these or see me talking on those other places, you’ll know my feed hasn’t been getting overrun with conference talk.

What’s different? Life, me, and any number of things that have effected both.

This past year and a half (probably longer, but this is a good even number) my family life has gone through a lot of drama. There have been some really high highs and extremely low lows. I’ll probably write a post shortly on a more personal aspect of those changes, but right now I want to focus on conference and my writing.

My writing has been hugely effected by all of the changes in my life. I’ve really put no new words to paper at least since last year’s conference where I got a little bit down after a new idea sparked. For a long time this last year and a half I’ve basically felt lacking, like I wasn’t the writer I thought I was.

Did I want to give up? Yes, I really, really did.

Could I give up? Never.

Even just admitting that out loud, or here on the interwebs, my heart skips a beat. I couldn’t imagine actually giving up writing. Even this last 18 months, my mind has been full of worlds and characters wanting to get out, even though I never got the chance to get words down.

So, this year, despite my husband usually preparing for me to pounce on him to get my registration to conference, I didn’t approach him. I knew that this year, I couldn’t be part of that world. I need to reevaluate my writing, to actually get writing done.

Boy-oh-boy, will I miss my friends and peers and the comradery that comes with going to conferences. Those are my people and I love them.

But this year, it needs to be for me.

I need to try and write (and I’ll talk about my plans for that later). I need to focus on me and get myself back to that place where I feel confident in my ability to write and feel like a writer again.

So, this year will be for me.