The greatest pleasure I derive from writing is also my greatest curse.
There are two general types of writers; plotters and pantsers.
Plotters are kind of the Type-A personalities of the writing world. They have an idea, they plan out the characters, and lay out the plot line in great detail. Then when they write all they have to do is connect the dots.
Pantsers are those who write “by the seat of their pants”. They start with an interesting idea, a character, and they just write. It’s a very organic process, they just see where the characters take them. Planning is usually limited to a couple chapters ahead.
I am an unashamed pantser. What drives me to write is curiosity. Usually I start with a hook and I’m genuinely curious where the story is going to go. How is the manly man going to react when he has to direct his daughter’s play? I don’t know but I really want to find out. Every story is a puzzle that I really want to solve.
As much fun as that is, it’s also my biggest hurdle towards becoming a novelist.
You see, as long as I don’t know what’s going to happen I’m hooked by my own story, but there’s always a point (around 80% done) when I figure out how it’s going to end. I can see how the last little bit plays out. The puzzle is solved but the draft isn’t finished. Suddenly, I don’t have any motivation at all to finish the last 20% or so. It’s work, it’s trudging, it’s painfully boring.
When I get bored, my attention starts to wander toward other story ideas, until I drop the original project and start something new. The new project gets to about 80%, puzzle solved, and my attention starts to wander again.
Right now, I’ve got two books 80% finished and I’m struggling to maintain my focus on them instead of the flashier, new ideas that have been cropping up. I really, really want to be a published author but there are so many difficulties that I never anticipated, this being one of many.
So, I desperately need to work on my writing discipline. Not just in hours/words per day but in finishing what I start. Even then, I can only imagine how painful it’s going to be to do the multiple cycles of revision to make the story readable.
I keep telling myself, “if it was easy, everyone would do it.” Pantser or not, I’m working on it.