By the seat of my pants

Recently I’ve been working on a new book that I was asked to beta test all about “pantsing a novel.” I think Stephen King is the most popular proponent of this method of writing. Basically, it’s the idea that instead of slavishly working on an outline or a syllabus for your novel, you just sit down start spitting out words (literally, in the case of me and my dictation) and then…see where the story takes you I guess. Even at the risk of running into a dead end and then having to backtrack, you just start throwing words out on the page and see your novel come to shape.

It’s something I’m very intrigued by but that doesn’t come very naturally to me. I think my personality lends itself more to obsessively planning over things, even at the risk of never actually doing them. I’ve talked about the novels that I want to write for probably twenty years now. I have one incredibly rough draft. That’s as far as I ever got with the project and I had to really whip myself into shape to do that.

At the end of the day it’s all about the mental approach. “Pantsing” Is very much a mental trust exercise. How can you possibly write something on the fly, you’re worried that it’s going to be absolute Shit? The outline does. Inherently come with an element of mistrust. I don’t trust myself to carry this route. so I’m going to do the literary equivalent of printing out my directions on MapQuest ahead of time.


One day I still wanna come up with that big writing project, whether it’s a novel or something else. Now I’m in this ironic position where I’m spending time planning when I’m going to spontaneously do something. I don’t know when that’s going to be, is my days are filled with numerous excuses, both psychological and physical. Having a wife and kids in a daytime job eat up a lot of time where the creative muses could be flowing. There’s just no two ways around that.
Anyhow, I figured writing about my non writing still counted as writing. So at least this was a way to get my creative muscles flowing on a Friday morning. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest you check out Michael La Ronn’s book, which I’m gonna link here.

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