Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

posted by Laurie Ryan

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on what 2011 was like and decide what 2012 holds in store for us. I try hard to not reflect too much on the past, because when I do, I tend to see my mistakes instead of my accomplishments. Is that normal or just me? 🙂

I do take some time to decide what I want for each new year, though. I don’t believe that fate runs our lives. It has a hand in it, but we also have a chance to rise above fate’s plans. I don’t want to wax too philosophic, so I’ll just say that I know I have control of how I handle the peaks and valleys fate tosses my way.

To that end, I look at how I reacted to life over the past year and try to improve on that in the new year. I have a few solid, reachable goals, like leading a healthier lifestyle, increasing my published booklist, and being mindful of expenses. Beyond that, though, I’d like to reach a point where I don’t let the surprises get to me. I’m a plotter, both in writing and life. My lists have lists. So I don’t generally deal with the unexpected well. My resolutions, then, will include trying to “roll with the punches” better.

How about you? Have you made any resolutions? Are you plotting out your goals for the year or will you charge ahead and embrace life as it comes? Whether you’re a “plotter” or a “pantser”, I hope it’s a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year for each of you!

Happy New Year!


11 responses to “Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

  1. Well as you know in writing I’m a pantster. But in real life I’m sort of an in between leaning more toward a plotter. Nothing unusual in that for me. And, like you my lists have lists. Both of my son’s are like this, daughter – – – direct opposite.

    Right now I’m busy coming down from a lazy week. It felt good and something I’m going to “plan” to do more often this year. But without the cold forcing it.

  2. Hmmm. Of my kids, I have three plotters and two pantsers. Michal, daughter, I know you read this. I count you as a plotter. lol. My husband is a pantser, which can make life difficult. I’ll ask if he wants to do this on XXX day and he’ll say “I don’t know. It’s not here yet.” lol Somehow, over 22 years, we’ve managed to work it out, though. 🙂
    Yes, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. I, like you, have spent the last couple days organizing myself. It always feels good to do that and know where I’m heading.

  3. I’m a plotter in real life, though I’m a hybrid plotter/pantser in my writing life. As for resolutions, I’m resolving to do things without putting names to them, because if I’m already afraid of failing in my resolutions without making them new year resolutions, I’ll feel like I failed in both not meeting what I wanted to do, and in not meeting that special goal that you only set one time a year. I think I’m overthinking, lol.

  4. Good for you, Jamie. I’ve tried doing specific resolutions to the point where I mapped out weeks and days. Didn’t work. Now I stay vague because I hate not meeting goals at the end of the year. 🙂

  5. I like to plan in my life but I also go with the flow a whole lot. So, like in my writing, I’m kind of a hybrid. I love the adventure of life and even though I plan a lot, I also leave myself open to take the “other path” when it looks promising!

  6. Jillian, that sounds just like writing a story. I plan it out, but sometimes life, or my character’s lives, take me in an entirely different direction. lol

  7. What an interesting way to think about making goals, Laurie. I’ve never considered if I’m a plotter or pantser. With writing, while I work to an outline I’m definitely a pantser, but I do plot my life goals for the year and until recently used to worry if I failed to meet them. Now I don’t worry so much, so I suppose I’m both a plotter and pantser in every area of life. It’s so much more interesting to go with the flow – you never know what surprises are around the corner. But then again, without a plan it’s easy for the time to pass without achieving anything. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

  8. Ah, I get just a bit too nervous without a plan. lol. I’m envious of folks who can wing it because you’re right. Plotting locks me in to a certain extent. Still, it’s my security blanket. 🙂

  9. Hey There, Laurie!
    Happy New Year to You! I don’t generally do resolutions for the New Year. Different from you, I don’t like being tied to a llist. I’ve become very spontaneous here. I guess that means I “embrace life as it comes.” 🙂

    I also don’t look back to the past any further than to not make the same mistakes again, either. The future is all I can do anything about, the past I cannot, so why be bothered with it?

    My life just happens and it’s happeining better all the time! I am really excited about all that 2012 has in store for me! I’m more of a patch worker than plotter or pantster. My stories come to me in random segments throughout the telling and I patch them together as I go along.

    Take Care in this New Year and I look forward to seeing you gain soon!


  10. Hi, Janette! I’m with you. 2012 is going to be a great year. 🙂

  11. Valerie J. Patterson

    Happy New Year to you Laurie! It all depends on the genre I’m writing whether or not I plot or fly by the seat of my pants. My best selling book is one I just sat down and let the words fly onto the page. I had no idea it would be as well received as it was. In life, I’m also a bit of a hybrid. It depends on the area of my life whether or not I plot or fly. I think life is best lived that way. You’re open for surprises…and life is about those surprises and the blessings they bring. 😛

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