You know, being the pantser* that I am, I’ve managed to surprise myself these last few days. And that, in itself, is saying something. It takes a lot to surprise a pantser.
Let me explain:
With NaNoWriMo still being seven days away, and with me already having decided on my story and not wanting to lose any of the plot that’s coming to mind (and seeing how you’re not supposed to begin writing your actual novel until the gun fires) well, I’ve actually done a bit of outlining. Outlining! Yes! Me! And you know what?
I love my outline!
Granted, it’s extremely loose and resembles a worn-out, moth-eaten, shot-through hockey net. But an actual outline IS there, even if just barely. Some of the threads are holding! And I’ve fallen for those threads. They make me want to cry. I’ve never had this experience before, thus my surprise. (Am I crazy? Plotters, please tell me.)
My main reason for joining NaNo this year was to face my fear: My fear of thinking I’ll fail the challenge because of my obsessive revising tendencies. Fear of not being able to move forward at a pace that will reward me with 50,000 words at the end of 30 days. (Gah! That thought still makes my heart stop!) But I decided to do it anyway; decided to channel Hemmingway and with him declare, “The first draft of anything is sh*t!” And be okay with that. I’ll be okay with that and I’ll try my best to get my word-count in. And I’ll be a better writer because of it. Either that or I’ll be driven to drink.
So, I’ve already reaped an extra benefit from doing NaNo, and it hasn’t even officially started yet. Not only will I (hopefully) enjoy the experience of bulldozing my need to revise as I write, I may never again be afraid of outlining. (Geez, I sure do have a lot of writing hang-ups, don’t I?) I’ve already experienced the joy of having an (almost) outline, something I never thought was possible. I always thought the only way for me to write was to dive right in and ask if there’s any water later. (Most times there’s enough water. Other times … ouch!) But not being able (allowed) to start writing immediately, and having no choice but to wait and write down my ideas so I don’t lose them has resulted in something amazing. I actually have a foggy idea of where I’m headed!
Huh. Who woulda thunk that could be a good thing? Not this pantser.
*pantser = one who writes by the seat of her pants