Woman writing, pantsing

The Art of Pantsing

There is so much information available about how to write a book. Directions on creating intricate outlines, storyboards, character profiles, fancy writer’s software etc. can create anxiety in so many potential authors paralyzing their creativity. I say, if conventional organizational writing methods do not work for you, toss them! Contrary to popular belief, there is no magical formula for writing a great book. That’s why I prefer pantsing.

The term pantsing refers to writers writing in a freeform manner. They put their fingers to the keyboard and liberate their creativity from the shackles of literary conformity. Pantsing is writing whatever comes to mind allowing stories to form organically in real time. Nothing is needed but a willing writer, an active imagination, and a computer or pen.

The art of pantsing is allowing yourself to relinquish control over your imagination and the anally retentive desire to organize. For some, this is extremely difficult because it fights against the need to regulate every step of the creative process. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with outlines, organization, and the like. Brains function in diverse and beautiful ways. Do what works best for you. If plotting works better than pantsing for you, go for it; however, when writing speculative fiction, taking the imagination off a leash is a glorious thing. Pantsing can allow stories to take spontaneous twists in turns that planning the plot may not have allowed. Although it sounds simple, pantsing forces writers to dig deep and tap into their innermost thoughts, interpret those musings, and translate them onto paper.

As an exercise, next time you’re at your laptop, push your outline to the side and just type. See if pantsing works for you. Happy writing!


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