When it comes to writing, I am a pantser. For those of you who are not writers, what this means is that I do not plan out or plot ahead of time what I am going to write. I start with a hint of an idea about characters or story line and then sit down, type, and see what emerges. This process has helped me write two novels.
I love being a pantser. It’s exciting because I never know what’s going to happen. The characters in my books come to life, with the help of my fingers, and show me the direction the story needs to take. I usually have some ideas about what I think should happen but most of the time the characters have different ideas. In Bits & Pieces, there is a twist at the end that I truly didn’t know was coming until I typed it which is amazing because then I, as the writer, get to experience the same thrill as the reader. It frustrates my friends and family when I talk to them about what I’m working on, or ask them to read parts of what I’ve written, because they will ask what’s going to happen next. Most of the time my answer is that I have no idea. And usually, that’s exciting to me.
But lately, having no idea about what’s going to happen next has been scary. Intimidating. Perhaps this is because of my active involvement with other writers on Twitter who have a different process or plot extensively before writing a word. Perhaps its because I’ve written two books now and know how much work it is to fix plot holes during edits. Perhaps it’s my Imposter Syndrome whispering nasty little lies convincing me that I don’t know what I’m doing.
I’ve come to the decision that I need to remind myself over and over again to Trust the Process when it comes to my writing. What this means for me is:
- I need to trust that the way I’ve written two books that I love works for me.
- I need to believe that even though I feel a bit anxious about not knowing what’s going to happen next, it’s okay. The characters will tell me. The words will come. It will all work itself out. It means I simply have to do my part and sit down at the keyboard and type words.
- It means that I need to tell that nagging little voice in the back of my mind, telling me I don’t know what I’m doing, to shut up.
- It means continuing to put word after word after word until I type The End on this first draft of my 3rd book.
- It means accepting that being a pantser is what has worked for me in the past and embracing my process.
I may have to remind myself to Trust the Process a hundred times each day and that’s okay. As long as I’m getting words on the page, that’s what’s important. I was able to pour out 10,000 new words in the past week by constantly reminding myself to just trust the process.
I’m excited to see what happens next in my current work in progress as I sit back, get words on the page, and trust that something amazing will emerge.