People write in their comfort zone. They write in genres they know and are passionate about. They write about topics that interest them. Most importantly people find a niche that works for them and when they feel ready to venture out and try something new it becomes something else to add to their wheelhouse. I am one of those writers. I get these ideas and I follow them, but if something is too foreign to me either because of lack of experience or fear that I would step on too many toes I back off until now.
The Rush of Something New
I always write with an intensity. Yes, it may sound cheesy, but when I’m really into something I want to do nothing more than write. However, I recently ran into a roadblock. Partially because I attempted to do something new. I tried to write a story without an outline. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t decide this on the outset. Instead, I actually started writing another story with an outline, but after 3 days and never feeling the enthusiasm that I am used to when writing, I put that project aside. Instead, I decided to work on a project that had been festering in my mind for the past year. Despite the festering, I developed an interesting concept with a vague outline. I could have followed my usual plan and decided to write an outline get everything in order. I didn’t. I had already wasted 3 days and a weekend and my month was dwindling. I had to act right then.
I sat down the next morning and just started writing. I went in with the vague plan I had thought of over the past year, but before my eyes the plan faded away and it became its very own story. I was pantsing for a story for the first time in my life and by golly it was working. It worked splendidly, but I quickly learned that my normal style of writing went out the window. Since I started writing I was an outliner. Maintaining that outline allowed me to write 4,000 to 5,000 words every day I sat down with the keyboard in front of me. It filled me with a sense of accomplishment. As I’m pantsing, I’m lucky if I get 2,000 a day. It’s not because I don’t have the time. It’s not because I couldn’t write that many words a day. But If I write any more than that, the quality dips. Characters start acting stupid. Giving myself the time to rest has allowed me to think about what is going to come next.
That ability to think and let my current feelings drive what is in the story has allowed for a story that I never would have imagined. This new way of writing has me writing characters I never would have touched before. Now I am thriving them and really enjoying bringing these characters to life and driving them through their actions. It’s a liberating feeling and that rush returned. Rather than fostering my prior fear that I could never finish anything that I pantsed before, I’m now plowing through my story with vague ideas that are driving the narrative making for something that is far more about character than plot. I’ve finally did it. Well almost (I still have about another 30k to write). I guess I can officially call myself a pantster, but what I really think I am is someone who is recognizing that every project needs to be approached differently.
Do you venture into writing things outside of your comfort zone, either by method or subject?