I've been told there are two types of writers, those who plot out every detail of their story before they begin, and those who plod along, letting their characters take them where they will. I believe I'm a hybrid of these two extremes.
What kind of writer are you?
A story is a journey. Therefore, to figure out what kind of writer you are, it might be helpful to consider how you travel when you are on a real life road trip. Ask yourself a few simple questions.
1. Are you the sort of person who makes plans weeks in advance, or do you tend to hop in your car on a whim and start driving, content with wherever the road takes you?
2. Do you make reservations with or without a cancellation option? If you book a hotel and pay for it ahead of time with no way to back out without losing all your money, you may be a Plotter. If you don't book the room until you are sitting in the parking lot looking at the Holiday Inn Express sign, you may be a Plodder. If you make reservations with a cancellation option, you are probably a hybrid.
3. How do you pack? Do you check the weather channel for the five day forecast of your destination city and then plan your clothing accordingly or do you toss a few essentials into a duffle bag and hope to buy whatever else you need when you arrive wherever you happen to land?
4. Do you type out your entire itinerary and send it to family and friends ahead of time so they will always know where to find you or do you expect them to stay informed of your activities through your Facebook and Instagram posts?
There is no right or wrong way to plan a road trip and there is no right or wrong way to plan a story. It is helpful, though, to know what kind of writer you are and NOT try to squeeze yourself into the mold of what someone else says is the best way to navigate the writer's journey.
If you do that, you may leave people confused when they see your Instagram pictures from the Disneyland Light Parade when the itinerary you sent them clearly states you were planning to spend the night at the KOA Campground in Bakersfield. Know thyself. Everything else leads to confusion.