If you've spent any time in writer spaces, you may have heard the terms "pantser" or "plotter". But what does that mean? And what does that mean for you?
A Pantser, sometimes called a chaos or discovery writer, are people who "write/fly by the seat of their pants". They get an idea and they just start writing, discovering the story as they go along.
A Plotter is someone who spends time outlining their book. Before they even start writing, they have plotted out the story, characters, world etc. Some plotters go hard-core, with story boards and an outline so detailed, it's almost a book itself. Others write down basic plot points and character descriptions.
Then there are the "plantsers". These writers do a combination of plotting and pantsing. They may write out a rough outline, knowing their story may change. This is OK too!
Remember, what works for one writer, may not work for another. When you see advice online, take it with a grain of salt. Someone who plots their books, will recommend what works for them. I can't tell you how many tiktoks I've seen recommending outlines. I don't use them. But that doesn't make that advice invalid.
If you are starting out it may take you some time to figure out what kind of writer you are. Try a little of everything, until you find what works for YOU. If sitting down with zero plans isn't working, then step away and work on an outline. If you wrote an outline, but find out you ditched it within the first few chapters, you may be a pantser. Maybe a basic idea, with a few plot points and basic character descriptions allows you to get started, then you may be a plantser.
Don't let anyone tell you your own process. Once you've found what works, don't worry about what others are doing.
One of the biggest traps authors fall into, is comparing themselves to others. Writing is a skill. Writing a book, is a big deal. You're going to be slow at first. You're going to make mistakes. But you're improving your craft. And the more you do it, the better you're going to be. Comparing yourself to speed writers, will only hurt you. Comparing your prose to published authors with 20 books out, won't help.
Asking how to write your book faster may not get you the results you are looking for. There are so many factors that go into writing a book, the simplest being your typing speed. Then you start talking about the length of your book. Then add in edits, rewrites, revisions, more edits!
You could possibly cut down time by using dictation, but I heard (haven't tried it myself) that using dictation requires more time on edits. If you're OK with that, then give it a try.
Some people use writing sprints. They set a timer for 15-20 minutes and write as much as they can in that time. Then they take a break and do it again. In an hour, they can get upwards of 1000 words (depending on their typing speed).
There's a common saying, "You make time for what's important", and in a sense, that is true. However, if you are not in the right headspace to write, don't. Some writers will tell you to write everyday, even if it's a blog, a journal, a poem, whatever. Once again, that's good advice. But it doesn't work for everyone. If I try to force myself to write, I get frustrated with myself and my work, which only makes me not want to write even more. I also have medical issues that prevents me from writing at times. At the end of the day, if you want your book written and published, you'll make it happen. But don't let yourself suffer for it. If you're suffering, your book suffers.
In my next post, I'll go over some things writers do either before or while they're writing, such as listen to music.