Thursday, June 27, 2013

Confession of a Pantser

I am a complete and total pantster. I don't plot, I don't outline. I just sit down and write and I don't always have the map of where I'm going or I just let the characters do their own thing and go along of the adventure.

But here's my problem. I notice that the number of projects that are stuck, problematic, or will never see the light of day keeps getting bigger. I don't have that one novel that is perfect and wonderful, yet.

I'm also faced with some interesting challenges at work. Mostly that there is less work than previous years and that means less money than previous years, a lot less money. I've had to make some tough choices about the time I have carved out for writing because I need to pay my bills.

It's been tough as I look for that part time thing that fill the huge gap in what I made the last couple years to what this year is shaping up to be because it feels like such a huge road block in my writing life.

But it is also a big wake up call. The fact that I've been writing all these years and I basically have a bunch of problematic WIPs to show for it means that something needs to change.  If I'm going to have less writing time then I need to make the most of it. I need to have a plan and not just sit down at my computer and write by the seat of my pants.

So I am going to change my pantser ways and do whatever it takes to become a plotter.

I downloaded the Storyometer app a while ago and I just haven't used it that much, mostly because I've been too busy panicking about money. I have a project that I'm not very far along on that I think could really benefit from some plotting. I feel like the story has legs and think it that plotting could really help it become something that doesn't end up keeping the other manuscripts company under the bed.

What about you? Are you a plotter, a pantser, a reformed pantser, or a reformed plotter? If are a reformed plotter or pantser(especially pantser) I'd love to hear how you changed to a plotter.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Power of a Challenge

I love a good challenge. By challenge I mean something like NaNoWriMo or the fitness challenges my Y holds in the spring. I love committing to do something with a group of people and reaching a goal.

I've probably talked about doing the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge this year. I did it last year and it was very motivating. So far this year has been even more motivating. See, this year I paid for the Gold Membership so every month I've been able to submit a finished picture book manuscript to an agent.

That commitment is a lot of fun. I've been reading stacks and stacks of picture books. Writing new ideas that pop into my head. Researching topics for nonfiction picture book ideas.

This challenge is the one thing that is getting me to the page on a regular basis, writing-wise. I've been spending a lot of time worrying about having less work this year than I've had the last couple years and adjusting to the reality of that. Thinking about picture books, reading picture books, and revising picture books, is about as far away from worrying about bills that you can get.

One day, maybe, I will be at a place in my writing career where I won't be as worried when I have 6 weeks off from my day job because I'll be able to use the time to write instead of scrambling to find work to fill up huge chunks of time.