Your Writing Life: Plotter or Pantser; Introvert or Team Player

Your Writing life: Plotter or Pantser; Introvert or Team Player
By Norma J Hill (aka Pen And Paper Mama) ©2020

In our last series for writers, on “Self Exploration,” you had the opportunity to work through a set of nine checklists/questionaires to discover who you are as a writer. If you missed that series, it starts here.

In this new series, we will explore “Your Writing Life”: your writing and related activities in the past, your present writing and related activities (personal and with your writing community), and your future hopes and plans. This series has five sections:

Tribe, Team, Community
Your Writing Pursuits
Your Writing Related Activities
Plotter or Pantser; Introvert or Team Player
Ideas for Writing From Your Own Life

At the end of each post in the series, there is a link to a downloadable and printable PDF copy on which you can write your responses. Put them in a binder or Duotang-type folder (you can continue to add to your series #1 binder if you wish). Then, periodically along your writing journey, return to your answers, read what you noted previously, and add new thoughts and experiences. Through this process, you’ll end up with a wonderful personal record of your writer’s journey.

4. Plotter or Pantser; Introvert or Team Player

Are you a pantser (a writer who sits down and writes a piece “by the seat of your pants” or “off the top of your head”)?

Or are you a plotter (a writer who prefers to plan first: brainstorm, use graphic organizers and webs, create outlines, write synopses and summaries, compose blurbs and elevator pitches and queries and proposals before you ever start actually writing your manuscript)?

Or are you somewhere in between? Do you try different approaches for different sorts of writing or even for the same type of writing?

Write your responses to these questions in the space below:


Are you an introvert who likes to revise and self-edit, poring over your written material repeatedly by yourself until you’ve got it “just right” according to your needs and dreams?

Or are you a team player who prefers to get help from writing group members, critique partners, friends, editors, beta-readers, and anyone else who will discuss your work-in-progress with you?

Or are you somewhere in between?

If you’ve been a lone writer until now, how do you think a writing team could help you? Or if you always do your writing in a “team” situation, how might some alone writing time help?

Jot down your responses to these questions in the space below:


Putting your notes into practice:

Whatever your usual practice is—plotter or pantser; introvert or team player—step out of your comfort zone and try an alternative approach.

If you usually write alone, attend a few meetings of a writers’ feedback group or go to a writers’ conference and take in workshops that require active participation from all the attendees.

If you usually work with a group, take a weekend or even a week and have a writer’s retreat in a cabin or other place by yourself, and write, write, write (alone).

If you usually are a plotter, try writing a story or poem “by the seat of your pants.” Just write: no research, no self-editing, no outlining—just write until your first draft is finished.

If you are usually a pantser, try carefully planning a story or article or poem, doing research, taking notes, creating an outline or web, coming up with a summary or blurb—all before you even start actually writing the story.

Then reflect: How did this different writing approach feel to me? What did I learn? How has this experience affected my writing? Would I do it again? In full or in part? Why or why not? Write your reflections here:


PDF LINK (Your Writing Life: Plotter or Pantser; Introvert or Team Player). Download, print, fill in your responses, and place them in your binder or Duotang.

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