Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about when I say planners vs pantsers! Where are my writers at??
While I learned about planners vs pantsers (and plantsers!) from the writing world (specifically NaNoWriMo), you could apply it to many creative endeavours. I’ll be talking about it in a writing context today since that’s where my expertise lies.
Let’s talk about what planning and pantsing are, and how they might be useful for you as you create your next piece!
What is planning and what is pantsing?
Planning is the term used to describe creating an outline for your novel, AKA making a plan. Planners like to have characters, plot points, scenes, settings and everything else that comes with writing a novel planned before they start writing.
Pantsing comes from the phrase ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ which in turn describes making things up as you go along. Pantsers are the kind of writers who do little to no work before sitting down to write their novel. This means they’re making up their characters and scenes and plot points as they need to.
Do you know if you’re a planner or a pantser?
Pros and Cons of Planning
Pro: It’s front-heavy, but much of the work that goes into a novel is done before you even start writing, meaning once you write, all you have to do is write!
Con: It’s front-heavy, so you don’t get to write for a while.
Pro: There’s no getting stuck once you’re writing, because you can just turn to your outline for guidance.
Con: If you find yourself needing to go in a direction that veers away from your outline, you might find yourself extra lost.
Who would make a good planner:
People who are detail-oriented, organized, disciplined, enjoy structure.
Pros and Cons of Pantsing
Pro: You get to just follow your creativity wherever it takes you.
Con: Sometimes the creative juices run out and, without planning for what comes next, you might get writer’s block.
Pro: There is lots of room for adjusting the story and writing your way out of plotholes.
Con: Without direction, you might end up writing in circles, or writing without purpose, which will make your novel unnecessarily long-winded.
Who would make a good pantser:
People who are free-spirited, spontaneous, like a little messiness.
- Life Lessons I Learned From NaNoWriMo
- Fiction vs Non-Fiction
- What I Did After Writing My First Draft of My Novel
What about Plantsers?
A plantser is a person who falls somewhere on the spectrum between planners and pantsers. I suspect most people would identify as plantsers – I do! They might like to make a rough outline of plot points but let the in between scenes come to them as they write. Or they have nearly every scene planned out, but have a few holes that they trust themselves to fill when they get there in their writing. It’s simply a combination of planning ahead of time and making it up on the fly!
Once you’re done writing your novel, you might be interested in traditional publishing. You can check out this free road map that guides you from drafting your novel to getting it in the hands of agents and publishers.
Are you a planner, a pantser, or a plantser? Comment below to get the conversation going! There’s no right or wrong answer, just what works for you as a creative!
Enjoy the journey!