Well, here I am — still showing up. Doing what’s hard. Actually, raising kids is hard; I should say this is terribly uncomfortable. Like squatting on a prickly pear cactus uncomfortable. But I’m trusting others and taking this next step from teacher to author. The blog thing is still scaring the shit outta me, so to those of you reading this, I want to genuinely thank you. My hope is to put something out there that’s helpful or encouraging!

Anyway, let’s move on. Let’s talk about socks! That’s right, the things we all put on our feet… Hopefully, not with Birkenstocks. Yeah, Dad, I’m talking to YOU.

My husband (we shall refer to him as “The Lumberjack”) has always teased me about my sock drawer. It’s a mess. But why should it be organized, I mean, really? They’re SOCKS. Who cares if they’re the same color and a perfect match? Not this girl. If I put two on and they’re the same style of socks, that, to me, is matched. I’m not a total psychopath, by the way; I never pair a sheer knee-high with a thick wool one or anything… But I get it and can appreciate that The Lumberjack likes his perfectly paired.

Writing is kinda like the damned socks. Some of us need it organized through plotting, and some of us let it fly by pantsing. Maybe you’ve done this writing gig a while and know precisely where you fall, or perhaps you’re newer and have no idea what I’m talkin’ bout — either way, let’s take a closer look, shall we?

• The classic plotters: they sit down with everything they know about their book and think it all through. These writers get their work outlined before hunkering down at the computer. Some utilize clever software or massive wall-organizing tools that are pretty impressive.

• The classic pantsers: they sit down at the computer with only a vague notion and let the words hit the page. Many have a sense of the character and place them in a “what if” scenario to guide the plot or know a few plot points but have no idea how the characters arrive there.

From what I’ve seen, there’s a decent divide among authors and some very strong opinions on which way is better, so let’s look at a few advantages/disadvantages of each.

  • Plotter pros: For a number of people, the thought of sitting down and successfully writing a piece, not to mention an entire novel, without a guide, is enough to have a panic attack — and definitely leave them with a blank page. Putting in the time and effort before and mapping out the plot/story can really pay off, especially if it prevents you from experiencing writer’s block. It can also ensure that an author has all the needed plot points and character arcs to create a successful piece and provide clarity for the reader. Planning before they write can often result in less time spent revising/editing later.
  • Plotter cons: There can be a stiffness to the story or a boringness that comes from a predictable plot. If a person is too rigid and unwilling to shift the outline they’ve created, they may easily miss out on something far more entertaining or authentic. At times, an author with a detailed outline can start to feel like they’re forcing a square peg into a round hole. As the words begin to form on the page, something about the outline just isn’t working — and they end up ditching it altogether. This means weeks or months of precious time/effort are wasted.
  • Pantser pros: People taking this route never limit themselves or their creativity. Some of the most brilliant twists and turns, as well as more profound character development, come from the spontaneity of this style. The “Yaaaaaaas! That’s it!” when a scene just falls right into place is a natural high! Pure magic. Often an author has nothing but an image or single thought that somehow grows into an entire novel! Just because we can only see as far as our headlights allow doesn’t mean we can’t drive in the dark.
  • Pantser cons: Placing your little fingers on that MAC keyboard and hoping something decent comes out… Every. Single. Time. It can be terrifying. The likelihood of experiencing ‘block’ is also higher. These authors can also blab on for hundreds of thousands of words without an actual story. At times, without a plan, a writer finds themselves at a dead-end and can’t finish the story. There’s a greater likelihood that more revisions and rewrites will be needed after the first draft.

So how to choose? Maybe you can’t, and you’re like me. For years, I explicitly taught outlining, so in my mind, that was what I should do to write a book. But we all know how well that didn’t turn out for me… I’m a forced pantser. But, I embraced it — leaned in. Hard. I’ve read book after book on writing, writer’s block, and the creative process. Regardless of which side you’re on, I’m here to tell one truth:

There’s no right way to write.

I’ll repeat that — there simply is NO right way. How could there be when no two people are precisely alike? And no two pieces of writing are alike, for that matter. A wise author opens their mind to the possibility that they might plot or pants depending on the project. Or even better, some combination. Regardless of what you think you are, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be so stubborn-assed that you can’t see the other’s benefits.

And let’s please stop telling one another that it should be done a certain way. Ridiculous. While we’re at it, let’s also quit telling other parents that there’s some right way… Work full-time, part-time, or stay at home, etc… You do what works for your family. There will never be some magic formula in life that works for everyone, so instead, let’s just encourage each other to do our best.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — anything worth doing is worth doing well. Research, read, and give yourself the grace to figure out what works well. Be open that what worked one day might not the next. If you tried plotting or pantsing and it resulted in an unfinished manuscript, try the other! Maybe, just maybe, you’ll surprise yourself. Perhaps your version of creativity is a little more or less organized than you believed.

But no matter what, just keep writing. Just keep creating. Don’t let the blank page get you; just put any two socks on you want and get out there!


Despite being tone-deaf, music is a huge part of my daily life. I’m including just a few of my current jams… These are songs that I LIKE. Something about the beat, rhythm, or melody just makes me play it on repeat over and OVER, louder and LOUDER. I’m not making any type of statement by choosing these; in fact, I didn’t really choose them—they just grabbed me. They make me MOVE, connect with my creativity, or just make me sing at the top of my off-key lungs!! And I’m sharing them with you for no other purpose than that—sharing a piece of myself. Enjoy 🙂

•Elif – OIJ Remix by Amy Root, OIJ
•The Last Goodbye by ODESZA, Bettye LaVette
•Flowers by Miley Cyrus
•abc (nicer) by GAYLE
•SNAP by Rosa Linn
•The Best by Tina Turner



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