author, creative writing, writing

Reasons to Stop Planning and just WRITE

NaNoWriMo is a great form of motivation for many writers. And getting words down on a page is so important while writing the first draft, even if those words aren’t the best. That’s what editing’s for! The project I’m working on is the one I have planned the least. I’m very pro-planning, although there are a number of cons as well as pros.

However, I’ve realised recently that sometimes you just have to stop planning and write. Here’s why:

You are putting off starting
It was Stephen King who once said “the scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” And he’s right. Planning a novel, though not easy, is a bit of a comfort zone. You can play around with all the fun things, like choosing character names, exploring their personalities, figuring out plot twists. And I do agree that these things should all be done, especially if you’re a planner by nature. But don’t get so caught up, that you never actually start your story. It’s an easy trap to fall into.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” – Stephen King

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Your characters will evolve
No matter how long you spend planning a character, you’ll never truly know them until your start writing their story. They evolve once they are on the page, and often assert their own authority, making choices you never thought they would. In writing you get to explore their reactions, their inner thoughts, the way they handle conflict and hardships. Planning them is all very well, but they don’t breathe until their story is being told.

novel writing (2)

Plot lines will work themselves out
Planning the plot is great, and I am somebody who really tries to do this. But it’s important not to make it too rigid, otherwise you restrict your story to stay within the boundaries you set early on. When you write the plot, much like the characters, will figure itself out. It’ll change direction, throw up new ideas, and generally fall into place.

novel writing (2)

You’ll connect with your story
As I said, the story I’m writing now is my least planned project ever. As such, I’d not really connected to the characters or the plot. But I had to start writing, because NaNo demanded it, and now, 25,000 words in, I am fully invested in the story, and in love with my characters. Sure, it took a while, but I’m not sure I’d have got there if I stopped at the planning stage.

novel writing (3)


What are your thoughts? Planner, or panster? Comment below!

Until then,
Keep writing,
M
x

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20 thoughts on “Reasons to Stop Planning and just WRITE”

  1. I usually get the idea, decided on my main characters and then sit down and write. The plot often changes as the characters do things I’d not planned for them to do. Although I think I know the story before I start, I truly don’t.
    This surprised me when I wrote my first novel, a fantasy novel. I thought I knew my characters until one, a young boy, confessed to actually being a girl. I thought, “What the… ?” She told how she was hiding her identity so she would not be sent to the local brothel! Well, how was I to know that? I wouldn’t have planned that! But she was adamant she was a girl, so I had to believe her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pantser all the way. Sometimes I do a bit of planning or a sparse outline. But like you said, the plot and characters will evolve, and even when I plan I find things change and problems arise that I would’t be able to notice until I actually started writing. Good luck with Nano!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What great advice! I’m a combination of a planner and a panster (does that make me a plantser?) whilst writing. I’m afraid that I’m had to stop NaNoWriMo, because I suffered complete burnout. However, I’m hoping to write a few more words, before the end of the challenge. Good Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an informative post. It is a bit scary when we’re sitting at our desk wondering what that first line will be. Like anything, once we start we realize things aren’t as bad as we feared. That’s why first drafts are fun. It’s a start but not the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

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