Are You an Every Day Writer or a Binge Writer?
I’ve heard there are two types of writers: pantsers, those who write by the seat of their pants, and plotters, those who plot everything out in detail. I’m beginning to think there are two other types of writers: those who write faithfully every day, and those who write when the spirit moves them. (Could there be a correlation between the two? The pantsers being binge writers and the plotters being the everyday writers?)
Since I have transitioned from ministry to writing, I have been reminding myself that I have to treat my writing as my job and my business, both requiring full-time effort. I’ve also been telling myself I need to set up regular hours for writing and stick to them, like a regular nine-to-five job.
Thing is, having been in ministry all my adult life, I never had a set nine-to-five schedule. I frequently had meetings, services, appointments, during the evening, and I worked every weekend. I also spent hours processing events, planning and praying, especially when dealing with conflict. I did this best outside of the confines of my office. Preaching required hours of prayer, reflection, reading and research before a word came out of my mouth.
I didn’t check in at nine and check out at five. And so, I don’t have a lot of experience with being on the clock. I was always on the clock to a certain extent. And such is the case with writing. I’m always thinking about writing, even if not actually writing anything.
There have been times when my children were still home and I was working full-time, that I would go for months without writing anything substantial outside of what I had to write for my position. I longed for the ability to write full-time. Now that I have that freedom, I can’t seem to stick to a schedule. Sometimes the best thing I can do for my writing is give myself a break for however long I need to in order to allow the next project to grow in my brain.
There are great writers who follow a strict schedule and other great writers who write like a fury at times, then go without for a while. There is room for both. What’s more, I think there is a hybrid option for both the pantsers and plotters and binge writers and everyday writers that includes both.
I don’t plot out my books in advance, but I do usually have a goal in mind. I have the big picture but how I get there is by the seat of my pants. Most days I do something on my “writing business” though not necessarily write on my WIP. In fact, the more I fret about not writing every day, the less I’m able to write. Despite my efforts, I’ve yet to be able to sit down at an exact time every day and write for a set amount of time.
William Faulkner is attributed with saying, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” It doesn’t work for me, but if it works for you . . . then maybe you are a plotter!
What are your thoughts? Are you an everyday writer or a binge writer? I would love to hear from you.