Sunday, June 20, 2010
Two Types of Writers or Two Types of People?
Almost every day, here's how my work morning begins:
Before I run into the library, I look down to make sure I'm wearing shoes. I check to make sure I'm wearing socks. I give myself an extra point in my shoes and socks match. If it's seasonally appropriate and I'm wearing sandals, I make sure I'm not wearing socks.
I take a quick look at my shirt to see if it sort of goes with my pants. Then, I feel the lobes of my ears to see if I'm wearing earrings. All the while, I'm wondering if everything that should be in my bag (my laptop, cell phone, etc) is really there.
This tells you three things about me.
1. I have a hard time getting out of the house in the morning
2. I'd be a great candidate for that fashion show "What Not To Wear"
3. I'm not a planner.
Once, when I told a friend about my morning routine, she suggested that I decide what I was wearing the night before. She told me that on Sunday nights, she picks out her clothes for the entire week.
And there you have the great divide: My friend is a planner. And I am not.
If you're reading this and you're a planner, you're nodding at the good common sense of her plan. If you're like me, you're wondering how this works. After all, what if on Thursday morning, instead of that happy-looking turquoise number you picked out, you feel the need to dress completely in black?
There are planners everywhere. You can spot them instantly. They're the ones with the big orders in the supermarkets,the parents of preschoolers who are sitting at the playground wondering about college, and the friends who pull out their BlackBerries to make arrangements for your next lunch date.
You can also tell the non planners. We're the ones who see these things..and slowly back away.
Writers are often asked if they're plotters or pantsers (Pantsers refers to those who write "by the seat of their pants".) Personally I prefer the term "meanderer" but either way, you get the idea. It's not hard to guess which camp I fall into.
Here's my question. Is your writing process a manifestation of your personality?
If you're a planner in life, then are you a planner in writing? And if you prefer to take things as they come in everyday existence, then is that how you create a novel? Is it possible to be one thing in life and another as a writer?
...and is there such a thing as middle ground?
ADDITIONAL COMMENT: A friend (who is a planner) read this and said that it was clearly skewed. For the record, I am in awe of people who can plan and wish I could be more like them...at least, some of the time.