Pantsing the Writing Life

So, it’s time for a check in on my 2019 goals.

I set some very lofty goals for myself this year.

I know there are planners out there as well as pantsers (people who fly by the seat of their pants). I have spent the majority of my life a pantser. One example, was when I graduated from college and was offered a job teaching in the Bahamas. I sold everything I owned, packed my belongings on my back, and headed out of the country with no teaching degree, no place to live, and no way to communicate with home again for three months. Definitely the heart of a pantser.

This year, 2019, I began to train myself to plan my life better. Discipline I learned, was the key, the main difference, between those who get published and those who didn’t, and I saw the writing on the wall. My inconsistency was killing my writing dream. So, it was time to implement life 102! 

Each month had an equivalent goal.

They weren’t assigned to specific months, but I was going to tick each one off by the end of 12 months. Bolded items are goals I’ve tackled or attempted to tackle.


1. Finish revising Book 1 – I began this goal in January, was blessed with TWO amazing critique partners who helped me whip my writing into sellable shape by the end of June.
2. Revise Book 2- I tabled this goal because it didn’t make sense to chase it until I’d sold book one.
3. Finish writing and revise book 3 in the trilogy. – Same as above.
4. Find a group of beta readers that give good feedback (Learned other authors make the best beta readers – built a crew on Twitter I call my #writingsquad. I have also met and fell in love with 3 people with whom I cannot live without.)
5. Find a critique partner that I enjoy working with. (DONE! DONE! DONE! Yes I’ve found 3 (Should that count as taking care of 3 months of goals?))
6. Begin the new series Cult of Blindness with Serenity and Mac Beginning is done. I’m now at chapter 22 and loving every minute of it.
7. Begin chasing down the ideas that are beginning to populate for the offshoot series I’ll be writing based off of my current trilogy. I now have 27 book ideas that I have written the premises for.
8. Balance all of the branches that seem to feed into becoming an author, and create a plan that keeps me from feeling so overwhelmed. I’m really proud of my progress on this one! My schedule is working, and I’m forgiving towards the days I don’t accomplish all of my goals.
9. Query as often as possible, and focus on all of the yes’s and positives that come out of my writing. (Participated in pitch events. Went to a Conference where I met and gained so many opportunities. I’ve had 100% full manuscript request rate from my current query. So that’s exciting.)
10. Revise my curriculum as this year of full implementation with 1500 students has illuminated some needs and necessary changes. Oops! I think I forgot about this one with the job change. LOL! That will happen I guess.
11. Go to a conference for writing this year. BEST GOAL OUT OF THEM ALL! GO TO ONE IF YOU HAVEN’T!
12. Make and BELIEVE that 2019 is going to be a banner year! (Not an achievable goal) Revising this goal to be: Build a platform that exceeds 10,000 interactive and engaged followers. I’m knocking on 10k’s door. I’m really happy about that. Research into what works has been integral in my success there. Also building a community of like minded supporters has been incredible.

My takeaway – planning works!

I’m happy to say that you don’t have to have a perfect plan, but if you have no goals, no plan, you are less likely to succeed.

So, step one in my plan is to write 45 minutes every day minimizing off days to only 2 per week. I try to only allow myself to take days that have afternoon things scheduled, like Wednesday nights for church.

Step two is the plan is going to fail and you have to accept that. This isn’t going to be a perfect experiment. Be ready for that. Expect it. Allow it.

You can’t force the universe to obey your whims, but you can discipline yourself to obey your dreams.

It’s inside the cages of discipline that we focus and finish.

Step three, give equal time to marketing and writing. You’re only 50% a writer. I know. I want to be 100% a writer, but that’s not the reality of the writing world. So, begin to cultivate that other half so that when you are finished writing that incredible manuscript you dreamt up in the secret places of your mind, you will have someone who wants to buy it.

Please let me know if this helps, if there is anything else you want to know about transforming from a pantser to a planner, or if this resonates with you and your life.

Thank you for reading,

Jennifer Lynn


  1. Reply

    Great post. I always found having my skeleton plan was invaluable in ensuring I was progressing at a good speed. This post has some great editions even I could make, as well.

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