Saturday, March 7, 2009

Panster to Plotter

I woke up this morning in that place of still being half asleep and slightly awake. I believe this is when God sometimes speaks to me the most. But this morning I had an epiphany of why I gradually evolved from a panster to a plotter. It wasn't a conscious decision. It just happened. And it was God's divine intervention in my life.

I have to squeeze my writing in between thirty minute and one hour intervals before I go to work, during my lunch hour at work, in the evenings if I manage to stay awake long enough, and on the weekends between a dozen activities. Because of this inconsistent schedule, I would lose my thought process, forget where I had left off, go in different directions than I had planned and then later realize it didn't work for something I had written in the first three chapters. As a result my writing appeared inconsistent just like my schedule. In addition, there lots of holes and gaps in my stories.

I had to find a solution to this problem. I couldn't change my schedule. I had to keep working and my family came first--something I couldn't compromise on. Through a lot of trial and error, over a period of time, God finally weaned me off my tendency to write by the seat of my pants. He helped me to learn how to plot. Some of the workshops I took through RWA helped me with this preplanning process. But it also took time to learn how to do it this way. to gain experience, to build confidence, and to find a process that works for me.

Now that my debut novel is coming out and I'm not so busy concentrating on "when" I'm going to be published, I feel myself relaxing and the anxiety subsiding. I can see why my journey took 10+ years and how all the cords of my life have been woven together to bring me to this point in my life. I had to learn to write this way, because I'm going to have to be published this way. Publication isn't going to miraculously give me the ability to quit my job and stay home to write. It may happen eventually, but not for several years, unless God brings me an immediate miracle. And I'm finally starting to see His plan and accept it.

If you are in a place, questioning "when" publication is going to happen, or wondering if you're on the right journey, rest in God's peace in knowing that He hasn't forgotten about you. God is busy making you ready because you don't know where you're going to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically when it really does happen. He knows what is best for us.

Our precious Lord, has you in the palm of his hand.


  1. Thanks, Jennifer. I know we haven't met, but it appears we're in the same place. God has been bringing me through this process as well. It's nice to hear someone else voice those same thoughts, and have the same struggles of writing in the middle of life's roller coaster.

  2. Dianna,

    Thanks for stopping by. Life can really throw some distractions and time eaters our way. I noticed you're a teacher. Do you get the summers off or do you work someplace else over the summer? I know some teachers tudor and do summer camps. I've thought about going to get my teaching license so I can teach high school level writing composition/journalism, so I could have the summers off, but it would be a huge pay cut for me. And I don't think our family is ready for that yet.