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Pantsing vs. Plotting | Which Approach Works Best for Camp NaNoWriMo

Are you gearing up for Camp NaNoWriMo, the exhilarating writing challenge that pushes your creative limits? One of the critical decisions you'll face as you embark on your writing adventure is embracing the free-spirited approach of pantsing or the structured path of plotting. This blog post explores the age-old debate of pantsing versus plotting and which process works best for Camp NaNoWriMo. Whether you thrive on spontaneity or prefer a roadmap to guide your writing journey, read on to discover the pros and cons of each method and find the approach that suits your writing style.


1. Pantsing (Writing by the Seat of Your Pants):

Pantsing involves starting your writing project with little to no pre-planning. You dive into your story with a general idea or concept and let the narrative unfold as you go along. This approach can be exciting and liberating, allowing for spontaneity and creativity. It can benefit discovery writers who enjoy exploring their stories as they write.



Flexibility: You can explore different storylines, characters, and ideas as they come to you.

Creativity: Pantsing encourages creativity and allows for unexpected plot twists and character developments.

Faster Start: You can start writing immediately without spending much time on extensive outlining or planning.



Directionless Writing: With a clear plan, you may avoid challenges like plot inconsistencies, lack of focus, or getting stuck in the middle of the story.

Editing Challenges: The revision process may require more extensive editing and restructuring since the story may have evolved unpredictably.

Potential Writer's Block: As you progress, you might encounter writer's block if you need clarification on your story's direction or next steps.


2. Plotting (Planning and Outlining):

Plotting involves thorough planning and outlining of your story before you begin writing. You create a detailed roadmap outlining the plot, character arcs, and key events, providing a solid foundation to build upon during Camp NaNoWriMo.



Clear Direction: Having a well-thought-out plan helps you stay on track, maintain focus, and reduce the chances of getting stuck.

Efficient Writing: With a roadmap in place, you can write more consistently and productively, as you know what needs to happen in each scene or chapter.

Cohesive Storytelling: Plotting ensures a logical progression of events, consistent character development, and satisfying story arcs.



Limited Flexibility: Following a strict outline may feel constraining to some writers who prefer a more organic approach.

Less Room for Surprises: Plotting might feel restrictive if you enjoy discovering the story as you write, leaving less room for spontaneous ideas or creative detours.

Upfront Time Investment: Plotting requires time upfront to develop a detailed outline, which can delay the writing process.


Choosing the Right Approach:

Consider your writing style, personality, and the story you want to tell when deciding between pantsing and plotting. Some writers may find combining both approaches beneficial, using a loose outline as a guide while allowing creativity and new ideas to emerge during the writing process.


During Camp NaNoWriMo, where the goal is to complete a specific word count in a set time frame, having a clear plan through plotting can be advantageous. However, if you thrive on spontaneity and prefer exploring your story as you write, pantsing might be the way to go. Ultimately, the most important thing is finding an approach that helps you stay motivated and enjoy the writing process.



As you gear up for Camp NaNoWriMo, the decision of whether to pants or plot looms before you. Both approaches have their merits, and the key is finding the one that resonates with your writing style and helps you achieve your goals. If you revel in the joy of unexpected twists and turns and find inspiration at the moment, pantsing may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer a clear roadmap and crave the satisfaction of a well-structured story, plotting can be your guiding light. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer—some writers even find a blend of both approaches to be their sweet spot. The ultimate goal is to unleash your creativity and passion, whether through the thrill of pantsing or the discipline of plotting. So, embrace your preferred approach, trust your instincts, and let your imagination soar as you embark on your Camp NaNoWriMo adventure!


My Take:

Being both a plotter and a pantser can offer unique benefits to a writer's creative process. Combining these two approaches allows for a dynamic and flexible writing experience. Plotting provides a solid framework, offering a roadmap that ensures a coherent and well-structured story. It helps maintain focus and minimizes the chances of getting stuck. On the other hand, embracing the pantsing side allows for spontaneity and encourages unexpected discoveries. It opens the door to new ideas, surprising plot twists, and authentic character developments that may have yet to emerge through strict planning alone. By being open to both approaches, writers can enjoy the best of both worlds, enjoying the structure and direction provided by plotting while leaving room for the magic of exploration and the joy of unexpected creativity. This hybrid approach allows writers to strike a balance, fostering a harmonious blend of structure and imagination in their writing process.

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