NaNoWriMo unites the writing community, and pits the so-called “pantsers” against the “planners.” Which method is best? Do you ever wish you could do both?
Pantsers are ready, fingers limbered up and pencils sharpened, just counting down the hours to November for the words to flow forth.
Planners have already started crafting outlines, timelines, and character maps and will stick to the plan throughout November.
Confession time. We’re conflicted. The structure of planners calls to us, but we love the flow of pants-ing. The dichotomy poses a real challenge!
This inner battle is why we created RamSync, to give structure while also allowing us to write with the flow tagging and connecting ideas in the moment for later review.
For example, I’m using this interactive graph as the springboard for my future novels.
Click the graph, I’m interactive! Feel free to zoom, drag, double-click, and explore in the window, or open a new larger window here!
Nothing may ever truly bridge the great pantsers vs. planners divide, but luckily with modern tools we can steal a few practices from the other side of the divide and make our own writing that much better!
Mind Mapping Structures for Creativity and Planning
Mind mapping is the perfect tool for brain dumping, clearing the mind, and opening up creativity channels. However, most mind mapping tools are focused solely on visuals, text is an afterthought.
Pantsers Solution: Don’t break up your typing flow. RamSync can create full mind maps without leaving the flow of typing. Just add an “@” to add a new connected note and never break the current train of thought. It is easy to come back to the visuals later for new perspectives or add in additional connections for the next writing session.
Planners Solution: Build and visualize the plan! Lay out those critical pieces, and then flesh out each component in more detail. Outlining is outdated and one-dimensional. Mind maps allow characters to move around the story, arcs to flow across the canvas, and details to connect at just the right time. Checkov’s gun anyone?
Going back to our interactive graph, we can get some initial planning structure, as well as the ability to just write with the flow. Both pantsers and planners can borrow, embed, or connect to as much or as little of the structure as desired.
Unlock a Flow With Tags and Reminders
NaNoWriMo is about putting words on a page. First drafts will never be perfect, and that’s okay!
The goal is to write the draft and then edit it later. But what about those instances that you know you’ll have to come back to later? The plot holes, the no-name-characters, the under/over worded sections, and the messy dialogue?
The solution is to add a quick #tag to flag that section. For example, a #rework or #addcharacter or even #deleteme are perfect bookmarks to help your future self.
Tags can also be a great way to help yourself pick up the quill (or keyboard) in your next writing session. For example, a #writenext or #TNT (the next thing) can let you quickly search for notes you planned to write next or mark where you last left off in the flow of writing.
Drop a tag and keep moving. Finish the draft and don’t lose your flow. You got this!
The RamSync Quick Start
Are Word docs and endless Google sheets not cutting it? Give RamSync a try, it’s completely free.
Below is a ~5 minute video showing just how easy it is to start building out a story and writing ideas while keeping your creative flow rolling.
Writing systems should evolve and support your writing process from connecting to planning to researching. Your tools should be flexible supporting you anywhere on the pantsing and planning continuum!
If you feel like you might need somewhere to spring off of to get started, maybe some general guidelines will help on your writing journey.
If you haven’t given RamSync a try yet, go ahead and jump in! It’s fast and easy to use and can immediately help with organization and staying on top of projects. Create your personal account here and take the first step in building visuals to support your NaNoWriMo goals!
As always, we’d love to hear from you! If you have questions, comments, or thoughts, send us a note, we love notes!