All I can say is I have been writing, reading, writing, and reading, in no particular order. I just have not updated my blog.
After years of pantsing things to roughly 20,000 words, I have decided to outline, research, and think about my projects. Honestly, the reason things tended to drift was I ran out of things to say. With just a little research, I could write easily another 50,000 words. My fiction would read like Wikipedia, but I could go on and on.
K.M. Weiland offers a wonderful set of educational books, if you lack motivation to plan and afraid of letting pantsing go. And if you think of each chapter as a scene, i.e. James Patterson, you might be able to get to the pinch and plot points without much effort. (These authors helped me focus on ideas and I am not selling their courses.)
No offense to pantsers, but at least with an outline I have a road map of where the story is going. I can still let a character run with it, but I also can reign them in and head back to the plot. It is a relief, actually.
Honestly, outlining takes quite a bit of pressure off. At least you know where a character is going when you decide to pants-it.
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