The other day I was reminded about an upcoming milestone: the one-year anniversary for this blog, which will take place next month. Time has flown, hasn’t it? I suddenly realized that I need to come up with a grand plan to commemorate this event. Guess I’d better add that to my to-do list. Though I have an iPhone with a notes app, I usually jot down important things to remember on the backs of old receipts or bill envelopes. That way, I’ll remember them. I’ve come a long way since college, where I had a habit of writing important things to remember on my hand or arm . . . which indirectly reminds me of a post I read a couple of days ago.
Um, I didn’t write on my arm to cheat like this person.
I won’t say where I found it or who wrote it, but the gist of the post was a suggestion that pantsers stop writing by the seat of their pants and put some effort into outlining. According to the post, “pantsing” probably is a bad habit some writers developed.
Instead of being encouraged, I came away wanting to punch a wall. I feel like that whenever someone tells me what I ought to do, especially if what that person thinks I ought to do fits that person’s plans or personality more than it fits mine. I also feel like punching a wall when someone insinuates that my process is somehow “bad.”
In writing, I fly by the seat of my pants quite a bit. I start with a character and let the story flow. This, however, does not mean I never give any thought to story structure or the need to research and plan. Nevertheless, I usually don’t start with an outline.
Another aspect of flying by the seat of my pants involves goals. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time (a week should do it) you’ll notice that I haven’t posted any writing goals like other bloggers have done. I greatly admire them for that. They’re organized and probably live in nicely vacuumed houses where the back issues of magazines are regularly culled. (Last year, I finally got around to throwing away the 2009—2011 issues of Entertainment Weekly.)
My housekeeping could stand some improvement obviously. And perhaps someday I’ll get around to thinking of goals for writing besides finish this novel and get it to beta readers. After all, for the first time ever, I went the outline route for my current novel, which proves I can pull one off. But that doesn’t mean I will always go that route or should always do so.
Another aspect of flying by the seat of my pants is this here blog. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I maintain this blog because it’s fun. If it begins to feel like work, I won’t do it. Interviewing authors, writing posts about the inanities of my life and the videogames I play or the movies or animated shows I watch—that’s fun. You can expect more of that and maybe a few surprises along the way. For example, I’ve been dying to host an ice cream giveaway. I just have to figure out how. And I wouldn’t mind dabbling into some flash fiction or creating a game readers can play (with prizes) if I feel inspired.
The contents of this blog have always pretty much been a guessing game. I’m reminded of a quote by director David Fincher, which comes from an interview in Entertainment Weekly about his upcoming movie, Gone Girl (based on the mega-bestseller by Gillian Flynn). Perhaps you know him by the films he directed, which are Fight Club; Se7en; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Fincher quips, “All you need to do is look at my filmography to know that I have no idea what people want” (21). That pretty much sums up this blog. I don’t know what people want. But I know what I want: to do things my way, warts and all.
If that doesn’t scare you, then welcome to my world. Hope you enjoy your stay. And now, I’ll leave you with this.
Lee, Stephan. “Gone Girl.” Entertainment Weekly. 17 Jan. 2014: 18-22. Print.
Gollum cat from LOL Cats. Gone Girl cover from Goodreads. Inked arm photo from spotonlists.com.