What to do when the words stop

I usually start my workday with my usual work tabs and one writing tab open. I use Google Docs so I can easily access my most recent draft at any given time. Whether or not I make any progress really depends on the day.

Take today. Saturday. I work 9am to 5pm and today has been uncharacteristically quiet for a weekend in June. I had a tab open and I had fully intended to write; I’m currently working on a fanfiction and it’s starting to reach the climax so it wasn’t that I was out of ideas. I just couldn’t write. I told myself I had more important things to do.

Which is naturally a lie.

So what do you do in those situations where you fully intend to write but simply can’t? You just don’t.

I know it sounds crazy. Normally people would say you have to force yourself to write. But every time I do that, I end up writing crap and somehow I always forget to delete it and it’ll get published (in the case of fanfictions, at least) or it’ll stay in and I’ll lose all interest in continuing.

Trust me; don’t force yourself to write what you aren’t 100% passionate about.

Instead, put that project aside and focus on a different one. Or a new one. Do something else; organize your Goodreads lists, read something, take a walk and play some Pokemon Go. Just don’t force yourself to write something you don’t love.

Whether you heed my advice or not, just remember to edit your works before posting or publishing. It takes maybe 20 minutes (depending on length or complexity) and can really help you in the end.

As always, stay creative my friends,

Dana

Are You a Planner or a Pantser?

Ahh the age old question posed to writers by writers. Are you a planner or pantser? This refers to how a writer writes their stories or novels. Do they plan every step, make a complicated outline, list their characters with their flaws and triumphs, and have the plot ironed out? Or do they have a vague idea with vague characters that they develop and iron out as they write?

Most writers classify themselves as one or the other. For some, it’s very obvious. You either plan or you don’t. But I’m a plantser. I both outline and still fly by the seat of my pants (where the term pantser originated) and I think there’s merits to both methods.

Here’s some pros and cons of being a PLANNER.
PROS:

  • You know what you’re doing, making cranking out the word count easier
  • You know your characters inside and out, so you won’t have them do things out of character unless it’s part of the plot
  • Outlining counts towards NaNo’s word count
  • Knowing what happens in the plot and mapping the settings helps make it less confusing

CONS:

  • You can feel restricted in your creativity since you have everything planned
  • Since everything is mapped out, it can be hard to get the inspiration to start flowing

Here’s some pros and cons of being a PANTSER.
PROS:

  • Random bouts of¬†inspiration can take the story in new ways you might have never planned
  • Makes it easier to get back into the story when returning to writing after breaks
  • Can really make you think about what sort of choices a character would make in the moment
  • Sometimes small ideas can become larger than life

CONS:

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what happens next
  • When inspiration doesn’t hit, you have no plans to fall back on

Honestly, I see the benefits in both. What makes me a “plantser”is that I make a very vague outline. These characters go here and do this, they encounter a conflict and then go here. I do tend to build my characters heavily, so I know who they are and what they’d do in certain situations, but I don’t have those situations lined out exactly.

Which ever type of writer you are, don’t feel you have to change to fit a certain stereotype. I tried just planning and I got bored with the story since I already knew exactly what was happening and going to happen. I tried just flying by the seat of my pants and ended up stuck because I was uninspired and had no idea what to do next. Just find what works for you, and run with it.

As always, stay creative my friends,

Dana