Musing with Authors: I Am A Skirtser

(Yeah, I changed the title of my writer/author series from Authors Anonymous to Musing with Authors.)

Pantser VS Plotter  We all know the controversy.

Some writers are Plotters.  Nearly everything in their book is written by design, thank you very much.  The trip has been planned, and here is your seat in the car.  Your suitcase for the adventure has been packed according to specification, and your bladder has already been trained to expect to be relieved at the planned bathroom stops along the way.  The book will be awesome with the planned rises and falls, and you will experience the planned emotions on a timely schedule.

Then there are the Pantsers.  They yank you off the couch, toss you into the car, and wink at you in the mirror.  There’s no point in packing.  You’ll have to just grab supplies as needed.  Sometimes you end up peeing at a gas station or grocery store, but then there was that one time that you ended up dashing into the trees at the side of the road.  The book will be awesome, you never know what’s going to happen next, and your emotions get a surprising workout.

There are pros and cons to both.  We know them.  It doesn’t matter much what they are, because we tend to fall in the group we fall in.  It just is what it is.  Some of us lean one way, and the others lean the other way.  Right?  Well, like most things in life, it’s yes and no.  Sometimes our personality does fit neatly into one group or the other, but I tend to believe that it’s more a sliding scale.  We can be Plotters with a wild streak for pantsing  here and there.  We plan the general trip, but leave room for side adventures.  Or we are a Pantser who likes to at least know what direction to drive in.  There are many combinations and variations of the two, because frankly, we are all unique as writers.

I am a Skirtser.  I care not that there are groups and boxes and approved paths of Writerhood.  I’m going to write what I’m going to write, and I’m not going to care about how I do it.  If one book needs to be written as a plotted book, then that’s what I’m going to do.  If I decide half way through that it’s not working, then I’m going to shove into the pantsing arena and give it a go there.  It’s not about not knowing what I’m doing.  It’s about being informed of all the choices, and choosing what needs to happen to move forward.  It’s a fluid way of writing.

I don’t know that we will ever stop this war of extremes in life.  The you vs me.  The Plotter vs the Pantser.  The writer in the box vs the writer out of the box.  I think those things matter on an elementary level, but once you know yourself, it shouldn’t be an issue anymore.  Both can write great books.  Both can have successful careers.  Life is so much more than two extremes, and the reality is that most people fall in the middle somewhere.  And that is okay.  Do you hear me?  You are not a weak writer because you fall in the middle.

That’s why I’m a Skirtser.  It doesn’t matter if nobody else in the world is a skirtser, or if others laugh or shake their head at my skirtsing.  I am going to kick off my heels and dance barefoot under the stars.  Then I’m going to slip my heels back on and do business in the morning.  Skirtsers know that there are extremes, and you cannot have one without the other.  So plan on laughing and crying.  Look forward to the planned museum in the morning, and the afternoon on the beach doing nothing.  In the evening we’ll have dinner with all the writers: the Plotters, the Pantsers, and the Skirtsers.  We are all going to laugh and share stories and eat good food.  We don’t care how each person got to the restaurant because it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we all came.

I am a writer of books.  A creator of worlds.  A musician of words.  And I do it all in a skirt.

Live Bravely,
Love Strongly,
Write How You Write
-AEM

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