Inwriting

The Two Types of Writers & Why It Matters

Types of Writers

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by personality tests. From the Myers-Briggs personality test, to Astrology, to figuring out my Love Language (I’m bilingual!), I find a lot of comfort in taking these tests and seeing myself reflected in the answers. It’s almost like someone holding up a mirror and saying, “This is you, isn’t it?” Often times, they put words to feelings or behaviors you don’t understand, or they validate characteristics of yourself that you have possibly doubted in the past.

The Two Types of Writers

When it comes to writing, there are two “personality types”. Generally, writers fall somewhere between the “pantser” – someone who writes by the seat of their pants, figuring it out as they go along – and the “planner” – someone who has all their characters, plots, themes, settings, and scenes figured out before they start. Understanding your writing identity helps you to draw from your strengths and work around your weaknesses.

Personally, I discovered which type of writer I was through experience. I was acting like a pantser for a long time before I figured out that something wasn’t working. I could never finish a story, and I found myself getting lost somewhere in the middle.

For NaNoWriMo last fall, I decided to embrace my inner planner and take the month of October to plan out my novel. And what do you know? I wrote a 50,000 word draft that month of a novel I had been working on for years.

I didn’t follow my plan completely – there was a bit of pantsing going on, but having that plan there helped to keep me on track and reach my word goal by the end of the month.

Why does it matter?

Understanding my writing process and embracing my writing identity helped me to reach my goal. Knowing that these types exist and are each valid in their own way helped me to find confidence in my own identity as a writer and use it to my advantage.

If you want to figure out what kind of writer you are, or you’d like to read what others have to say about these two types of writers, take a look at this blog post, this article, or this quiz.

Good news for planners!

I’ve put together a resource guide for my fellow writers who want to embrace their planner side. I’ve included all the tools and techniques I use to plan my novel and gather inspiration to carry me through the writing process. All you have to do is sign up below or click here. If you’re already a BrightMail Subscriber, click here to go straight to the WBT Library and download it there.

Want my FREE Novel Writing Resource Guide for Planners? Sign up here!


Understanding yourself as a writer is essential to becoming the best writer you can be.

Are you a planner or a pantser? Comment your type below and share why it works for you!

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The Two Types of Writers

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12 Comments

  • Carrie

    I’ve always been a pantser, but I’ve never attempted anything beyond a short story. I’m always in awe of novelists and assume that anyone who writes a novel MUST be a planner.

    February 17, 2016 at 7:24 am Reply
    • Haley

      I definitely think that you have to find a balance between the two that works for you – unless you’re able to just pants your way through a whole novel! (Which I know I cannot!) For me, I have to have the plan to feel comfortable enough to let myself wander away from it.
      Thanks for reading!
      xo, Haley

      February 17, 2016 at 10:22 am Reply
    • Nicki Savage

      Pantser, have two novels under my belt already.

      July 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm Reply
      • Haley

        That’s amazing! There’s definitely a place for both Pantsers and Plotters in the writing world 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and congrats on your two novels!
        xo, Haley

        July 30, 2017 at 3:38 pm Reply
  • Gail

    Totally a pantser. You can totally tell which blog posts I have planned and the ones I just sat down and wrote. I wish I was a planner though.

    February 17, 2016 at 9:34 am Reply
    • Haley

      I think it’s good practice to do both! They both have their benefits for getting those creative juices flowing.
      Thanks for reading Gail!
      xo, Haley

      February 17, 2016 at 10:24 am Reply
  • Kirsten Oliphant

    Love this! I found you from the Solopreneur society and I’m so glad I did!!

    February 17, 2016 at 10:08 am Reply
    • Haley

      I’m glad you like it! Thanks for stopping by.
      xo, Haley

      February 17, 2016 at 10:29 am Reply
  • Kristyn

    I made myself a planner during college because I thought it helped me. I’ve only discovered recently (as in just this last month!) that I am a “pantser.” I’m learning to write fully when the creative lighting bolt strikes and organize when my writing is used/shared. Very interesting approach… and you’ve given me something to think/write about. Way to go Haley!

    February 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm Reply
  • Carol

    I find your analysis accurate and interesting. Thanks for a good read!

    February 17, 2016 at 6:50 pm Reply
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    October 10, 2016 at 6:09 am Reply
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