There are two types of writers. Those who extensively plan and those who start writing not entirely sure of where their words will take them. The former people are the ones who compose outlines and are sometimes referred to as plotters. The latter group are known as pantsers as they are seen as flying by the seat of their pants as they write.
These two groups can also be categorized as Conceptual or Experimental writers.
Conceptual writers are those who extensively outline. Experimental writers are the panthers, and they figure it out as they go.
Some writers swear by their style and would never think about changing. But research suggests that even plotters might benefit from moving to the experimental style as they get older and have gained more experience.
In Adam Grant’s book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, he breaks it down like this:
“To sustain our originality as we age an accumulate expertise, our best bet is to adapt an experimental approach. We can make fewer plans in advance for what we want to create, and start testing out different kinds of tentative ideas and solutions. Eventually, if we are patient enough, we may stumble onto something that’s novel and useful.”
He wasn’t particularly talking about writing here, but you can see how it applies.
I love when I write something that I wasn’t expecting. The characters can sometimes drive the story in a way I hadn’t anticipated. These discovers make writing magical and exciting for me as a writer. I’m glad I don’t know everything beforehand. Where would the fun be in that?
What do you think?
Find a mention of this on my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and leave a comment with your thoughts. We can make things up as we go there just fine. In fact, it might be just the place to further this discussion and learn something new.