Pantsing: Is this optimal?

In the pantsing vs. plotting writing methods, pantsing, by far, is more fun.

However, it has not proven to be optimal. Because I don’t have a finished novel draft to show for it.

The thing is … I WANT to plot. I enjoy the plotting process itself. But it makes drafting so boooooring and my ADHD brain would rather ram my head against a wall than draft an already-plotted story.

I love planners and making lists and I enjoy planning my days, my weeks, and my homeschool year/lessons/activities. But I still struggle with doing this for writing.

I am a member of a website called Story Embers, and they have a great forum where members have posted questions and helped each other out.

Today, I searched through the forum looking for keys I may be missing in the skill of plotting. I found a topic titled “How do I prevent outlining from becoming a creativity killer?“. I clicked on it thinking it perfectly defined my current struggle. Only to realize — I POSTED THIS TOPIC!! Over 1.5 years ago. So apparently, it’s still a struggle.

Here’s something that happened recently:

I got stuck at 32k on a YA novel that a writer friend had been asking me to PLEASE finish. (He’s published 20-something novels). I finally just sent him my 32k and plot notes. I was so proud to tell him that I’d actually plotted this one.

Two days later, he sent me back some suggestions on plot, then sent a 12-scene outline, where he’d made a few sentences to summarize each of the 12 scenes that make up Act 1.

Y’all, it made the story STRONGER. And BETTER. But there were a few scenes that I’ll probably change, just because of style differences (he writes in the style of Dan Brown and David Baldacci, while mine is … well … not). 

Then I wilted a little. I didn’t know how to apply my self-education about strong plots as well as I thought I could. How did he plot those scenes so well? And so FAST?

I sent him back an email to say as much.

All he sent back was, “I think the answer to your question is ‘butt time’.” In other words, put your butt in the chair and get to work.

He’s always told me it’s really as easy as that … Butt in chair. GET TO WORK! He said I know everything I need to know. I’m just spending way too much time NOT writing. 

That was several days ago, and I still haven’t done anything yet with what he sent me.

The thing is … I ENJOY the writing process much better when I’m pantsing slowly, editing as I go. But it’s not efficient, and I always get stuck, and my ADHD brain jumps ship and starts on the next shiny, new idea.

LOOK! A shiny new idea! What great shine it has! I love the shinies! Oh how it sparkles in the sun. Shineeee….

I’ve been writing for years. My struggles have always been the same. For SO. MANY. YEARS. I have found NO solutions to the problems that seem to make a difference, because ALL of them are hard. I’m so sick of circling round and round the same issues.

At one point I had even decided I must not be a writer, because pantsing doesn’t work, and plotting doesn’t, either. I still run into the same issues with any method in-between.

But alas, my soul withered into an unrecognizable clump of self-pity because I need writing to survive.

Which is weird.

Maybe it’s one of those things where God gives you an ability, and if you don’t use it, you wither into a sad little clump.

I don’t know. I’ve prayed about this for years. God hasn’t sent me a magic letter in the mail like Harry Potters invitation to Hogwarts to explain exactly how I should do this.

Your guess is as good as mine!


He has me by the throat now.

I can feel his claws digging into my flesh and pulling me under the surface. I try to fill my lungs with air, but I’m drowning.

He drags me under the water. His strength is more than I can fight. It takes me by surprise. I try to resist him … but I’m helpless.

Viktor Jakovlev

The moment his fingers clamp around my throat, my voice is silenced. I can’t breathe, much less speak.

Then he pulls me under, deeper.

It’s so cold, it shocks me into motionlessness. His grip is so tight, I’m afraid he may tear my throat out completely, silencing me forever.

If I live through this at all.

And then I see her.

I don’t know how, but I can see her in the darkness of the waters. Is she glowing? I don’t think so. She isn’t light. She’s just … visible.

I feel immediate calm as I see her, even though every other part of me is already becoming numb.

She reaches toward my throat, toward the death grip, and she pries his fingers loose.

It doesn’t take an effort for her. In fact, she does it with a small, reassuring smile on her face. A smile that lets me know this is not the end.

He thrashes through the water as he fights back. He wants me. He needs me. Because he’s hungry, and he needs to feed.

In one sweeping motion, she twists his clawed hand and detaches it at the wrist. I watch it sink.

He roars with anger and defeat, but not pain. He doesn’t feel pain.

Because he is pain.

He swipes with the one hand he has left in one last attempt to capture me. I wondered for a moment if he were capable of sprouting tentacles and wrapping me up. I wouldn’t have been surprised. He uses every tactic possible to keep me within his grip.

I don’t have time to think about it. I’m already breaking the surface.

I gasp sweet oxygen into my lungs.

A moment later, I’m dragged onto the shore. I sputter and spit water.

Daniel Delle Donne

The sun dries my skin, and I’m warmed. The numbness of my limbs slowly drains away. I look up at her, and she’s still here, smiling down at me.

“Hope,” I say. “How did you find me?”

“I didn’t have to find you because you were never lost. I’ve been here the whole time. You just couldn’t see me. That’s okay. You don’t always see me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not here. I’ll always be here.”

And then I lived.

Insomnia – A Short Story

Here is Insomnia, a very short story, also posted on my new blog page titled Short Stories.


When Self-Hosted Dies

I used to blog regularly on

Then I got a self-hosted site for more flexibility and better SEO.

Then my posts changed to “valuable content” that looked more professional and polished. You know, checking all the boxes for The Perfect Blog Post.

I kept seeing and hearing that blogging was dead, and <trendiest, hottest social media at the moment> was way better. I wondered if blogging was a waste of time.

I mean, does anyone really read this stuff?

Years after trying all the tricks to get good SEO and traffic to my self-hosted site so that I could justify the cost, I lost my love for blogging.

It became something I needed to profit from. I kept trying to find ways to make it make money. None of them worked.

I recently got a notification that my self-hosted site is about to expire. My contract is up. What now?

So … I started praying about it.

I mean, God’s not going to drop a booming voice from Up Above and tell me step-by-step instructions about what I should do next. So, how do I really know what I should do next?

Do I renew the self-hosted site and continue with the infuriating frustrations of trying to manage it and somehow find a way to make it at least pay for itself?

Do I switch back to my free WordPress site and start blogging again straight from the heart, exactly the way the experts tell you NOT to do?

Free WordPress has ads (yuck), no plugins (boo), and is soooo limited.

I’ll jump at an opportunity to get rid of the stupid ads. I can live without the plugins. And … are the limitations really a bad thing?

I’m on a mission to simplify my life. A free WordPress site definitely simplifies things, and the limitations, in a way, force that simplicity to stay … well … simple.

I’m so tired of paying for a site that I don’t do anything with. I’m tired of feeling guilty about that.

I’m also tired of running in circles wondering what I should do with the short stories I’d like to write.

So, I think I’ll just post them on here.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to upgrade the site. That’s my hope.

For now, I’ll spill on the page here and allow my self-hosted site to expire. There’s one thing I know for sure … I don’t want to for it anymore.

So, I just wanted to say HI!

It feels good to be back after a long time away.


Keeping Your Kids’ Minds Active During Coronavirus Quarantine

All the events in our area have been closed due to coronavirus, along with the schools. Kids are at home, and working parents have made adjustments to ensure someone (or they) are at home with them.

Many parents are enjoying this break as basically an extended spring break. However, many schools have urged parents to educate their kids at home to keep their child’s minds active while they’re at home, ensuring that they don’t fall behind when they return back to school.

Whichever you choose, it’ll be fun! Because we’re a homeschool family, school closures haven’t affected our daily routine.

Here is a list of free, online educational resources (each hyperlinked) to keep kids’ minds active during coronavirus quarantine. I’ll be adding to it as other moms contribute! So check back for any updates.

For a Bible Podcast for Kids, subscribe to The Simple Word on your favorite podcast app, or click here to listen. If you like what you hear, it would mean the world to me if you left a 5-star review!

For younger ones, such as Pre-K or K:

Planes and Balloons

Scratch Garden YouTube Videos


Mama’s Learning Corner

Teachers Pay Teachers

K5 Learning

Spelling Words Well (there’s even a COVID-19 Crossword Puzzle!!)

Kindergarden Worksheets

For Kindergarden – Junior High:

Khan Academy – Common Core Math with videos. GREAT resource for continuing public school education!

Brain Pop – educational videos about history, holdays, and current events. Offering a free month for those impacted by coronavirus.

Teach Your Monster to Read – oh my goodness, both my boys love this. It’s a fun and effective way to reinforce/teach reading skills.

Cool Math 4 Kids

Scholastic Learn at Home

Primary Games

Spelling Words Well (there’s even a COVID-19 Crossword Puzzle!!)

Teachers Pay Teachers

ABC Mouse (we have a paid subscription, but a free trial is likely offered)


Cool Math Games

Math Playground

XtraMath (my 3rd grader HATES this one, but hey … it’s good practice)

Vooks (an online book reading website with a free month! Also, it’s currently offering a free 1-year subscription to home-educators and teachers using this link!)

For High School:

Teachers Pay Teachers

Learn 4 Good

For All Grades: – livecams of animals!

For PE:

Zumba with Dovydas (plenty for both kids and high schoolers. My kids love these!)

Fitness Blender – Free workouts for High Schoolers and adults

Bear Hunt Song (preschool and lower elementary)

For Science videos on YouTube, CLICK HERE for a massive list of channels!

For Sketch Art videos on YouTube, CLICK HERE! (my kids are obsessed with these!)

Let me know if there are any more you’d like me to add!