How to Write By the Seat of Your Pants

As a young buck (erm, young writer I mean), I thought outlining was just for scholars, essays, and all that red tape stuff. 

Who knew outlining applied to novels as well.

Since I discovered outlining was used for novels (and wasn’t as boring and tedious as it is for essays), I have started outlining.

Some things. Some things I just write, some I outline, and some I outline only partially. I do whatever I feel I need to do in order to write the story. 

But anyway. I do like to pantst my way through writing.

Pantsing. Writing by the seat of your pants. I think it’s sometimes looked down upon, because it isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to get things done, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. 

Here are the best things (I think) to do to make sure writing by the seat of your pants is successful.


You have to know what you are getting yourself into. 

Editing may be more difficult because you’ll be changing more stuff. You won’t have a plan for those days when you have no inspiration. Know that before you get into it.


Don’t worry about changing things as you go. 

Since you are making things up as you go, you may get better ideas, or new ideas that contradict old ones. Don’t be afraid to use them. Every time you write, it needs to be what you want the story to be right now. Not what you wanted yesterday, not what you wanted last week.

Right now. 


You can use outlining. 

It’s OK to think ahead and plan. Sometimes I’ll outline a chapter or two ahead. Sometimes it’s because I have so many ideas, sometimes it’s because I’m stuck


You have to be just as disciplined. 

Just because you are writing what you feel like writing, doesn’t mean you can write only when you feel like it. Still have a goal. Still keep to a schedule

border for blog

plotter and pantser


Header Photo by Kiki Siepel on Unsplash

One response to “How to Write By the Seat of Your Pants”

  1. This kind of reminds me of choreographing. I will either plot my choreo and write down formations, do research, look up things… or it’s by the seat of my pants and I’m making it up in class experimenting with my students or based on their improv.


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